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The news releases, reports, and other documents listed below have been selected by the Ag Center because they are of direct importance to the environmental compliance efforts of the agricultural community. The items are in chronological order, with the most recent listed first.

January 27, 2015
TODAY: EPA Administrator to Keynote National Council for Science and the Environment Conference
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will give a keynote address today at the 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment hosted by the National Council for Science and the Environment. Administrator McCarthy will discuss the cost of climate inaction and will address how climate actions, such as the Clean Power Plan, will drive innovation, spur opportunity, and create a clean energy economy.

January 21, 2015
EPA Registers New Insecticide Alternative to Neonicotinoids, Safer for Bees
The EPA is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, that is safer for bees. It is expected to be an alternative to more toxic products including certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and avermectin insecticides. As an insecticide, flupyradifurone is unusual in that laboratory-based studies indicate that the compound is practically non-toxic to adult honeybees. Studies show no adverse effect on overall bee colony performance or overwintering ability when compared to untreated colonies. EPA’s decision meets the rigorous Food Quality Protection Act standard of "reasonable certainty of no harm" to human health. On the basis of protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments for the uses of the pesticide, EPA confirmed the safety of the use for the public, agricultural workers and wildlife. EPA coordinated its evaluation with our counterparts in Canada and Australia.

January 20, 2015
Pesticide News Story: NMFS Issues Final Biological Opinion for Three Pesticides
On January 20, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its final Biological Opinion concerning the potential effects of the pesticides diflubenzuron, fenbutatin oxide and propargite on federally listed threatened and endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead and their designated critical habitat.

EPA Administrator at X Games to Focus on Economic and Environmental Need to Act on Climate
On Thursday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will join the X Games in Aspen, Colo., to bring attention to the extreme weather impacts of climate change. A strong economy and a strong environment go hand in hand, which makes acting on climate necessary to protect tourism, recreation and the outdoor industry. Administrator McCarthy will hold a press conference with CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, Mike Kaplan and Winter Olympians, Gretchen Bleiler and Alex Deibold to talk about how climate risks are economic risks. She will focus on the need to act now to spur clean energy and reduce carbon pollution to protect communities and the outdoor industry from economic and environmental impacts.

EPA, Southern Co. and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Recognize Five Star and Urban Waters Projects in the Southeast
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company met with 2013 Five Star and Urban Waters Program awardees to recognize and highlight their work to restore streams and watersheds.

January 15, 2015
EPA’s Actions to Restrict PFOA and Similar Chemicals Yield Significant Human Health and Environmental Benefits
To further agency and industry achievements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed measures to ensure that perfluorinated chemicals that have been phased out do not re-enter the marketplace without review.
”Through our environmental stewardship program, eight companies have helped us make real progress to reduce these chemicals as evidenced in the CDC findings” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We will continue that progress now that all importers and other domestic manufacturers will be required to give EPA an opportunity to review and restrict uses of these perfluorinated chemicals.”

January 14, 2015
EPA Releases 2013 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation's industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.

January 9, 2015
New EPA Guidance Would Reduce Use of Lab Animals and Increase Relevant Acute Toxicity Data on Pesticides
In an effort to help expand the acceptance of alternative methods for acute toxicity testing, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has released a new draft guidance document. The agency is accepting comments on the draft guidance for 60 days, until March 10, 2015. With the rapid advances in science and continual development of new technologies, the EPA recognizes there is an increasing potential for the use of alternative methods in regulatory risk assessments.
The agency’s goals for alternative testing approaches include:

January 7, 2015
Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC); Notice of Meeting
The Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee will convene on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will reconvene Thursday, January 22, 2015, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). One public comment period relevant to specific issues being considered by the FRRCC is scheduled for Thursday, January 22, 2015, from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Members of the public who wish to participate during the public comment period are encouraged to pre-register by noon, (Eastern Standard Time), on Monday, January 12, 2015.

January 5, 2015
MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA Administrator to Visit Fresno, Phoenix for high-speed rail groundbreaking, American Meteorological Society annual meeting
On Wednesday, Administrator McCarthy will travel to Phoenix, Ariz. for a Presidential Town Hall at the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) 95th annual meeting. The growing body of science on climate change and extreme weather underpins President Obama's Climate Action Plan to build more resilient communities and curb the carbon pollution fueling climate change. With a science-driven mission to protect public health and the environment, EPA is taking first-ever action to cut carbon pollution from our largest source, power plants. Following her opening remarks, Administrator McCarthy will engage in a moderated discussion with AMS President Bill Gail.

EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers
Today, EPA is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts, chlorpyrifos has the potential to pose risks in limited geographic areas when drinking water from small watersheds. There were no additional risks from pesticide exposures in food or exposures to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos. The latest USDA pesticide residue data show no concerns for chlorpyrifos in food, with the pesticide detected in less than 1% of samples.

EPA Awards PREP Grant to Washington State University
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, in partnership with the Office of Compliance, has awarded Washington State University in Pullman, WA the Pesticide Regulatory Education Program (PREP) grant. Through the grant, EPA expects to provide up to $535,000 annually for up to five years (fiscal years 2015 through 2019), subject to funding availability, satisfactory performance and other applicable considerations. The goal of the PREP program is to provide educational training to develop or enhance the abilities of states, tribes and territories to implement pesticide regulatory and enforcement programs or undertake new initiatives. The training includes pesticide program issues (e.g., water quality, pesticide product registration, applicator certification and training, worker safety), compliance and enforcement, and other support topics (e.g., risk communication, managerial and leadership training). The PREP training is intended for senior-level management with pesticide regulatory programs in states, tribes and U.S. territories working under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Cooperative Agreement with EPA. PREP builds networks and collaborative working relationships among states, tribes, territories and EPA and other federal agencies to more effectively utilize limited resources.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

December, 2014
December Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Newsletter
The December webcast is on engaging youth in manure management. The last newsletter of 2014changes the format by having an "around the horns" section where stories are sorted by topic. Check it out and let us know if you like it! We include manure to energy, soils, biosecurity & PEDv, nutrient management, climate change, winter manure spreading and much more...

December 23, 2014
Nominations for EPA New England’s Annual Environmental Merit Awards-Deadline is January 30, 2015
EPA is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Environmental Merit Awards, which will recognize environmental achievements during the past year. Award categories are available for individuals, businesses, governmental entities, and other organizations. Awards are also given under a lifetime achievement category. These regional awards have been given out annually since EPA was created in 1970. Past recipients have included scientists, community activists, business representatives, public officials and other individuals committed to preserving the environment. An independent EPA panel will select the winners based on the following criteria: long-term effects on the environment; ability to address an environmental problem or need; collaboration with others; ability of the program or accomplishments to be widely shared; clarity and effectiveness of the presentation; and promotion of innovative ideas or techniques. Awards are traditionally given in four categories: individual; business, industry, trade, and professional organization; local, state or federal government; and environmental, community or non-profit organization.

EPA Announces Availability of $2.7 Million in Environmental Education Local Grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of $2,730,000 of funding for Environmental Education Local Grants. The maximum allowed grant under the program is $91,000. The purpose of the Environmental Education Local Grants Program is to support locally-focused environmental education projects that increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues. The grants program also provides participants with the opportunity to develop skills needed in order to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment.

December 19, 2014
EPA Finalizes Revisions to Export Labeling Regulations
EPA is finalizing its regulations on pesticide export labeling. Today’s rule corrects the inadvertent removal of a provision that occurred in the January 2013 revisions to these regulations. EPA is restoring the provision that allows information required under the regulations to be placed on collateral labeling (such as bulletins, leaflets, circulars, brochures, data sheets, or flyers) attached to a shipping container of pesticide products rather than on the immediate package of each individual product in the shipment.

December 18, 2014
EPA Announces 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its annual enforcement and compliance results reflecting a focus on large cases driving industry compliance and that have a high impact on protecting public health and the environment. “By taking on large, high impact enforcement cases, EPA is helping to level the playing field for companies that play by the rules, while maximizing our ability to protect the communities we serve across the country,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Despite challenges posed by budget cuts and a government shutdown, we secured major settlements in key industry sectors and brought criminal violators to justice. This work resulted in critical investments in advanced technologies and innovative approaches to reduce pollution and improve compliance.”

December 17, 2014
EPA Prevents Harmful Chemicals from Entering the Marketplace
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to protect the public from certain chemicals that have the potential to cause a range of health effects from cancer to reproductive and developmental harm to people and aquatic organisms. “We are committed to protecting all Americans from exposure to harmful chemicals used in domestic and imported products,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. “There must be a level playing field for U.S. businesses – which is why we’re targeting harmful chemicals no longer used in the U.S. that find their way into commerce, sometimes through imported products. This final action will give EPA the opportunity to restrict or limit any new uses of these chemicals, including imported goods with these chemicals.”

December 16, 2014
TODAY: EPA, USDA and White House to Highlight New Market-Based Water Quality Trading Program in Virginia
On Tuesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will hold a press conference with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack, Mike Boots of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Commonwealth of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a private investor and an Appomattox, VA farmer to recognize an innovative, market-based nutrient trading program that Virginia has embraced to encourage economic investments and reduce phosphorus pollution to local waterways in order to meet water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay.

Pesticide News Story: Upgrades to Endangered Species Web Tool: Bulletins Live! Two
EPA is releasing Bulletins Live! Two, an upgraded version of Bulletins Live!, a web-based map application used to access geographically-specific threatened and endangered species protection Bulletins. This system is an important tool for pesticide users since it makes it easier to find pesticide use limitations for specific areas. Go to www.epa.gov/oppfead1/endanger/bulletins.htm to view the new application. Please note, if you are using Internet Explorer and have accessed Bulletins Live! in the past, you will need to clear your history or set your browser to check for newer versions of stored pages. Bulletins generated by the application contain enforceable, geographically-specific pesticide use limitations that are necessary to ensure using a pesticide will not harm a threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat designated under the Endangered Species Act. A reference to Bulletins on a pesticide label ensures that the Bulletin’s pesticide use limitations are enforceable under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

December 15, 2014
Status Report to Congress on Endangered Species Act Implementation in Pesticide Regulation
The EPA and its federal partners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), have written a report to Congress on the status of Endangered Species Act implementation in pesticide regulation. The EPA and its federal partners are committed to refining their approach to pesticide consultations to protect endangered and threatened species.
This report was required by the 2014 Farm Bill and summarizes actions carried out by the agencies since receiving the April 2013, National Academy of Sciences’ report, entitled “Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.”

December 9, 2014
Guidance for Disinfectant Product Advertising and other Non-label Communication Referring to Enterovirus D68
EPA has established guidance for companies that manufacture or sell disinfectant products that can be used against Enterovirus D68 regarding what can be said in non-label communication for the disinfectants. This guidance is based on criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the use of antimicrobial products for disinfection of Enterovirus D68 on environmental surfaces. The full guidance is available online: http://epa.gov/oppad001/enterovirus-d68-guidance.html.

December 10, 2014
Request for Nominations of Candidates to the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) Agricultural Science Committee
EPA invites nominations for the SAB Ag Science Committee (link to the FR Notice) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites public nominations of scientific experts to be considered for appointment to the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) Agricultural Science Committee to provide advice to the chartered SAB regarding matters referred to the SAB that will have a significant direct impact on farming and agriculture-related industries. Nominations should be submitted in time to arrive no later than January 30, 2015.

December 8, 2014
TOMORROW: EPA Administrator to Deliver Remarks at Two Events at the National Press Club
Tomorrow, December 9, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will participate in two events at the National Press Club. At 12:30 p.m. she will deliver remarks at Green 2.0 and New America Media’s public briefing, “Breaking the Green Ceiling”, followed by a speech at 1p.m. at the Safe Drinking Water Act 40th Anniversary Forum. Both events are open to members of the media, and press should follow directions below to RSVP.

December 5, 2014
Pesticide News Story: Announcing the SmartLabel Pilot Program
In an effort to make pesticide label information easier to find and the approval of pesticide labels more efficient, EPA is working with pesticide registrants to pilot an electronic label system. As part of the SmartLabel pilot, nine pesticide registrants will be developing and submitting pesticide labels to EPA through a fully electronic system instead of as paper or PDF files. One of the goals of the SmartLabel system is to make label information more quickly available to the public in an easily searchable format. As a fully electronic system, SmartLabel will make the label approval process more efficient by creating standardized label sections for all pesticide labels. The system will also make it easier to compare previous label versions without losing the necessary flexibility to make a label appropriate for each product.

December 3, 2014
Obama Administration Selects 26 Communities to Develop Local Food Projects, Encourage Economic Expansion/ Local Foods, Local Places Initiative encourages creative economic development in 26 communities in 19 states
Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing technical support, to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health and regional economic experts will work directly with the communities to develop specifically identified local food projects. Project proposals include repurposing vacant land into local food production, developing year-round retail markets for local food products, and establishing food hubs to increase local food supply chains.
USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Affairs Doug O’Brien and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl made the announcement in Wheeling, W.Va. Wheeling will receive Local Foods, Local Places support to transition the historic and underused Vineyard Hill, into a productive regional hub for diversified local food production and value added products. The officials will also visit Youngstown, OH, which will receive Local Foods, Local Places support to reclaim vacant property for local food production.

December 2, 2014
Pesticide News Story: EPA Workshop on Inert Ingredient PRIA Applications
On December 16, 2014, EPA will host a half-day workshop on the application process for the use of inert ingredients in pesticide products. The workshop will take place in Arlington, Virginia. The goal of the workshop is to clarify the necessary elements of an application for approval to use an inert ingredient in a pesticide product. Complete application packages save applicants time and money, and reduce the number of application rejections

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November, 2014
November Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Newsletter
Manure application in winter brings increased risk of runoff reaching surface or groundwater resources. Practical and science-based options exist for managing and reducing the risk for livestock producers who have little or no manure storage, or for situations where a late fall or early freeze limit manure application options. More....

November 21, 2014
MEDIA ADVISORY: EPA and City of San José tour composting and biogas facility turning food waste into renewable energy
On Tuesday, November 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator and City of San José officials will tour the city’s Zero Waste Energy Development anaerobic digestion facility where food scraps are turned into renewable energy and compost for local farms. The facility’s state-of-the-art dry anaerobic digesters use bacteria to break down food waste in an oxygen-free environment, converting it into methane biogas to generate electricity. The facility can digest and compost 90,000 tons of food waste and produce 1.6 megawatts per year. San José aims to achieve zero waste by 2022 and diverts 74 percent of materials from landfills through reuse, recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion.

November 20, 2014
EPA, federal and state agencies, rice growers, industry act to protect endangered salmon and steelhead trout in California
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, in cooperation with state agencies, rice growers and industry, announced an agreement to create federally enforceable restrictions of the pesticide thiobencarb, an herbicide used on rice crops, to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead trout in California. “Working closely with our state and federal partners, our joint efforts will protect salmon and steelhead trout while maintaining rice production in California,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This action also supports EPA’s commitment to minimize pesticide pollution in the San Francisco Bay Delta.”

November 17, 2014
Pesticide News Story: Expanding Opportunities for Minor Crops - Proposed Rule to Revise Crop Grouping
EPA is making available for public comment a proposed rule to revise the pesticide crop grouping regulations that allow the establishment of tolerances (maximum residue levels) for groups of related crops. The proposed revisions will expand the number of crops that can have tolerances established and thus will allow minor-use growers a wider choice of pest control tools, including lower-risk pesticides, to be used on minor crops, both domestically and in countries that export food to the United States. Crop groupings allow petitioners to request tolerances for multiple related commodities based on research data on a representative crop. This is the fourth in a series of revisions to the crop groupings. The proposed revisions, published in a November 14, 2014, Federal Register Notice, would revise the existing leafy vegetable and brassica vegetable crop groups, as well as establish new crop groups, including: stalk, stem and leaf petioles; tropical fruit, inedible peel; and tropical fruit, edible peel.

EPA Signs Memorandums of Understanding with Georgia College and State University, HHS and USDA Rural Development
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a new phase of collegial and federal agency cooperation with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the agency and Georgia College & State University (GC). EPA also signed a MOU with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 4 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and state directors from the U.S. Department of Agricultural, Rural Development (USDA RD) representing Alabama, Georgia South Carolina and Tennessee.

November 7, 2014
EPA Region 7 to Participate at National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk Event Nov. 13 in Kansas City, Mo. EPA officials will be available for interviews at the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Trade Talk event at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Nov. 13. Interview topics include the Waters of the U.S. proposal; outreach to the agricultural community; nutrient management; and regulatory updates related to chemical safety, pesticides and grain storage.

November 6, 2014
Three Subsidiaries of the World’s Largest Fertilizer Producer to Reduce Harmful Air Emissions at Eight Production Plants
In a settlement with the United States, three subsidiaries of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS), the world’s largest fertilizer producer, will take steps to reduce harmful air emissions at eight U.S. production plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice announced today. The settlement resolves claims that these PCS subsidiaries violated the Clean Air Act when they modified facilities in ways that released excess sulfur dioxide into surrounding communities.

EPA Responds to NRDC’s 2nd Petition to Cancel Pet Uses of Two Pesticides
In 2009, EPA considered two petitions from the Natural Resources Defense Council to cancel the use of propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) in pet products. In response, EPA developed new human health risk assessments for the pet uses of both pesticides. In 2013, EPA found unacceptable risks to children from exposure to propoxur pet collars. EPA and the manufacturers reached an agreement to cancel propoxur pet collar products. This decision was reached as a result of discussions about how to reduce children’s exposure to propoxur in pet collars. Read more about the March 2014 propoxur decision.

November 5, 2014
EPA and USDA to Hold Public Listening Sessions on Pollinator Strategy/Sessions to be held November 12 and 17 in the D.C. metro area
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host two public listening sessions to solicit stakeholder input to assist the Pollinator Health Task Force in development of a federal strategy to protect honey bees and other pollinators. The Task Force is asking for input on the types of activities that could be part of the strategy, including public private partnerships, research, educational opportunities, pollinator habitat improvements and pesticide risk mitigation.

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