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News Archive: July 2010

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This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable, in these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

July 30
EPA Proposes One Year Compliance Date Extension on Spill Prevention Rule for Certain Facilities
EPA is proposing to extend the compliance date by one year for certain facilities subject to recent amendments to the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The agency is also announcing that certain facilities will not be eligible for the one year extension and will have to comply by the current date of November 10, 2010. In summary, the proposed rule would:

The proposed amendments do not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of facilities in operation before August 16, 2002 (other than facilities with milk containers described above), to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. EPA is seeking comment on whether a shorter extension period (6 to 9 months) is warranted for facilities rather than the proposed one year extension. In considering a shorter compliance extension period, we request comments on the criteria to consider, such as discharge history, size and type of facility, potential risk posed, and ability to come into compliance. The public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule during a 15-day period following its publication in the Federal Register. Comments on this proposed rule must be received by August 18, 2010.

Order Issued To Stop Sale and Distribution of Tainted Warthog 2 EC Herbicide
EPA Region 7 has issued an order to HPI Products, Inc., of St. Joseph, Mo., directing the company to immediately halt the sale or distribution of its supplies of Warthog 2 EC, following reports that a tainted batch of the herbicide distributed by the company damaged 8,000 acres of soybeans near Beattie, Kan. During the week of July 12, the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) responded to multiple complaints from farmers near Beattie, Kan. The farmers indicated their soybean crops sustained damage from the recent use of Warthog 2 EC. On July 20, the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) conducted an inspection of HPI Products to collect sales records and samples of Warthog 2 EC. Further investigation showed that samples of Warthog 2 EC taken from stocks at HPI Products appeared to be tainted with another herbicide, Dicamba. Warthog 2 EC is commonly used to control annual and perennial grasses among a wide range of field crops, including soybeans, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Dicamba is used to control broadleaf weeds in a variety of settings, and can be harmful to soybeans and other legumes.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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July 26
Comments Requested on Supplemental Determination for Renewable Fuels Produced Under the Final RFS2 Program From Canola Oil
On March 26, 2010, EPA published changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. EISA increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Furthermore, the Act established new eligibility requirements for four types of renewable fuel, each with their own annual volume mandates. The eligibility requirements include minimum lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction thresholds for each type of renewable fuel. EPA conducted lifecycle GHG analyses for a number of biofuel feedstocks and production pathways as part of its March 26, 2010 final rule but, as indicated in the final rule, we did not have time to complete all the planned lifecycle GHG assessments for several specific renewable fuel pathways. Since the final rule, we have completed an assessment for an additional renewable fuel pathway, canola oil biodiesel. This Notice of Data Availability provides interested parties with information and an opportunity to comment on our proposed lifecycle analysis of canola oil biodiesel. Comments must be received on or before August 25, 2010.

July 21
EPA Notifies Farmers of the Need To Comply with Rules Protecting Pennsylvania Waters
EPA is calling on Pennsylvania farmers to comply with federal and state regulations designed to protect water quality. EPA is joining the Lancaster County Conservation District in urging farmers in the Muddy Run Watershed and throughout the County to take steps to reduce groundwater contamination and the discharge of manure to streams. The Agency recently notified farmers of the applicability of the requirements, both by mail and at a public meeting convened by the Conservation District July 8. Baseline compliance with Pennsylvania regulations requires farmers to implement a plan for controlling erosion and sedimentation, and a plan for managing manure. Farms in the Muddy Run watershed that do not have these plans in place by Dec 3, 2010 will be given high priority for inspections by EPA and may be designated as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), subjecting them to much more stringent permitting requirements. In the meantime EPA will continue its compliance assurance activities, including inspections and enforcement, throughout the State and County. Farmers can receive assistance from the Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and private consultants to develop the required plans and implement the best management practices needed to meet water quality protection goals. These practices may include cover crops, proper manure storage, stream fencing, riparian forested buffers, gutters, and restricting winter application of manure.

July 19
EPA Executes Warrant in Hughes County, Oklahoma
EPA, accompanied by inspectors from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF), U.S. Marshals, and officials from the Hughes County Sheriff’s Department, executed a warrant at a Hughes County, Oklahoma farm. Once the warrant was served on Tuesday, July 6, EPA and ODAFF conducted a joint annual inspection of two permitted facilities. The facilities are located on 700 acres near Wetumka, Oklahoma, and at one time raised as many as 2,400 swine at each permitted facility, although no animals have been on site since Fall 2009. Oklahoma rules require that a closure plan be submitted and approved by ODAFF and that manure retention lagoons be closed within one year of cessation of operations. Representatives from ODAFF were denied access to the farms on March 9 and April 22, 2010. ODAFF inspectors, accompanied by inspectors from EPA, were again denied access on May 27, 2010. The warrant, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma in Muskogee, allowed inspectors from EPA and ODAFF to gain access to the facility to complete the annual inspections, verify the status of the retention lagoons, and determine if discharges of animal wastes were occurring.

EPA and Other Federal Agencies Collaborate To Improve Chemical Screening
EPA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the National Institute of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) welcome the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Tox21 collaboration. The Tox21 collaboration merges federal agency resources (research, funding and testing tools) to develop ways to more effectively predict how chemicals will affect human health and the environment. The collaboration was established in 2008 to develop models that will be able to better predict how chemicals will affect humans. FDA will provide additional expertise and chemical safety information to improve current chemical testing methods.

July 15
EPA Soliciting Information on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated With Bioenergy and Other Biogenic Sources
EPA is publishing this Call for Information to solicit information and viewpoints from interested parties on approaches to accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources. The purpose of this Call is to request comment on developing an approach for such emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Programs as well as to receive data submissions about these sources and their emissions, general technical comments on accounting for these emissions, and comments on the underlying science that should inform possible accounting approaches. Information and comments must be received on or before September 13, 2010.

Request for Methyl Bromide Critical Use Exemption Applications for 2013
EPA is soliciting applications for the critical use exemption from the phaseout of methyl bromide for 2013. Critical use exemptions last only one year. All entities interested in obtaining a critical use exemption for 2013 must provide EPA with technical and economic information to support a "critical use" claim and must do so by the deadline specified in this notice even if they have applied for an exemption in a previous year. Today's notice also invites interested parties to provide EPA with new data on the technical and economic feasibility of methyl bromide alternatives. Applications for the 2013 critical use exemption must be postmarked on or before September 13, 2010.

July 13
Mississippi Company To Pay $4,082 Civil Penalty for Aerial Pesticide Application Drift to Public Trail in Decorah, Iowa
A Mississippi company has agreed to pay a $4,082 civil penalty to the United States for an August 2009 incident in which a liquid pesticide that it sprayed over an Iowa corn field drifted to an adjacent public use trail, causing several trail users, including members of a high school cross country running team, to complain of skin and eye irritation. Several people who were on the trail on the day of the field application, including at least five members of the Decorah High School cross country team, later told a state investigator that they had been sprayed multiple times by a helicopter flying overhead near the field. The students reported various symptoms, including burning or stinging eyes, worsened allergies, and a bad taste in the mouth. None of the runners sought medical attention. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) prohibits the aerial application of registered pesticides in ways that will result in human contact, either directly or through drifting.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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July 13
EPA Provides Guidance on Reporting Options and Interpretations for EPCRA Sections 311 and 312
EPA is providing guidance on various reporting options that States and local agencies may choose in implementing sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA). In addition, the Agency is also providing some new interpretations and revising some existing ones to help facilities comply with certain of the requirements under EPCRA.

July 12
EPA Proposes 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards
EPA today proposed the 2011 percentage standards for the four fuels categories under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program, known as RFS2. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, reaching an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner, importer and non-oxygenate blender of gasoline determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

EPA is also proposing changes to the RFS2 regulations that would potentially apply to renewable fuel producers who use canola oil, grain sorghum, pulpwood, or palm oil as a feedstock. This program rule would allow the fuel produced by those feedstocks dating back to July 1, 2010 be used for compliance should EPA determine in a future rulemaking that such fuels meet certain greenhouse gas reduction thresholds. The second change would set criteria for foreign feedstocks to be treated like domestic feedstocks in terms of the documentation needed to prove that they can be used to make qualifying renewable fuel under the RFS2 program. EPA is seeking public comment on the renewable fuel standards and the proposed changes to the RFS2 regulations, which are due 30 days following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

July 9
EPA Orders Illinois Livestock Operation To Pay $40,000 Penalty For Unauthorized Waste Discharges
EPA Region 5 has ordered a livestock operation to pay a $40,000 fine for failing to comply with the Clean Water Act. EPA previously ordered the facility to stop all unauthorized discharges and apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to discharge wastewater. The facility is a large concentrated animal feeding operation in the Kaskaskia River watershed in central Illinois with more than 1,000 cattle. An EPA inspection found that the facility was not using best management practices to prevent the discharge of manure and other animal production waste. EPA also discovered that the facility did not have a Clean Water Act permit to discharge.

July 8
EPA Fines Monsanto for Distributing Misbranded Genetically Engineered Pesticide
EPA announced that Monsanto Company Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty to resolve misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered pesticides. This is the largest civil administrative penalty settlement ever received under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

July 7
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center July Newsletter and Webcast Exit EPA
The July edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is now available. Topics include: Looking Forward to the August Webcast - Finding Ways to Reduce Air Emissions Using NAQSAT; Archived Webcasts, New Video, Widgets; Ten Tips for Inspections; “So You Want to Farm?” Fact Sheet; Upper Mississippi Conservation Works; Manure “Stacks Up”; Beef Barn Air Emissions; Calculating Methane From Lagoons; and more. The next webcast is scheduled for August 20, 2010 and is entitled "NAQSAT, a Tool for Determining Opportunities to Reduce Air Emissions from Beef and Dairy Farms". The tool addresses eight concerns that relate to air emissions: animals and housing, feed and water, collection and transfer of manure, manure storage, land application, mortalities, on-farm records and public perception. NAQSAT can be used for swine, dairy, beef, broilers chickens, laying hens and turkeys operations. It is an on-line tool, developed for voluntary and educational use, available to the public at: http://naqsat.tamu.edu/ Exit EPA. This is the first of a two part series of webcasts. During the first webcast Natalie Rector (MSU) will provide a tool overview; Crystal Powers (University of Nebraska – Lincoln) will discuss case studies on beef farms; and Dr. Tamilee Nennich (Purdue) will talk about the application of the tool on dairy farms.

Exposure Modeling Public Meeting Scheduled
On a biannual interval, an Exposure Modeling Public Meeting is held for presentation and discussion of current issues in modeling pesticide fate, transport, and exposure of risk assessment in a regulatory context. An Exposure Modeling Public Meeting (EMPM) will be held for 1 day on July 27, 2010, in Arlington, VA. Topics for the meeting will include presentations related to ground water modeling and pesticide modeling refinements in agricultural and urban environs.

July 1
EPA Schedules Public Meeting with Interested Stakeholders To Discuss NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule
EPA gives notice of a meeting to discuss the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule. With this rulemaking, EPA is utilizing 21st Century modern technologies to improve management and performance of the NPDES program by requiring electronic reporting of NPDES information from regulated facilities. This will reduce the burden for facilities to report to regulatory agencies and for states to report to EPA. Expected benefits include lower processing costs for facilities and states, improved data quality and accuracy, greater data accessibility and transparency for the public, and an increased ability to target and address noncompliance that will improve and protect water quality. This meeting will be a session in which EPA will discuss electronic reporting alternatives for submission of NPDES information directly to states and/or EPA from permittees. Topics include the feasibility of requiring electronic reporting in areas such as electronic discharge monitoring reports (eDMRs), electronic notice of intent (eNOI), and electronic program reports. The purpose of this meeting is to give interested parties the opportunity to discuss the proposed rule and to provide EPA feedback on the presented options. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 from 1 p.m. till 3 p.m. in Washington, DC.

EPA Announces Next Step Toward Establishing Rigorous Pollution Diet for Chesapeake Bay
EPA today announced draft allocations for nitrogen and phosphorus as part of a rigorous pollution diet for meeting water quality standards in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, and restoring local rivers and streams throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed. EPA proposed watershed-wide limits of 187.4 million pounds of nitrogen and 12.5 million pounds of phosphorus annually, and divided those allocations among the six watershed states and the District of Columbia, as well as the major river basins (see link below). These loadings were determined using the best peer-reviewed science and through extensive collaboration with the states and the District of Columbia. EPA will assign draft allocations for sediment August 15. The jurisdictions are expected to use the allocations as the basis for completing Watershed Implementation Plans, detailing how they will further divide these allocations among pollution sources, and achieve the required reductions. The first drafts of those plans are due to EPA by September 1. The jurisdictions are expected to have all practices in place to meet the established limits by 2025, with 60 percent of the effort completed by 2017.

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