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News Archive: May 2009

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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 Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.

May 29
EPA Proposes Technical Amendment to Pesticide Tolerance Nomenclature
EPA is proposing minor revisions to the terminology of certain commodity terms listed under 40 CFR part 180, subpart C. EPA is proposing this action to establish a uniform listing of commodity terms. Comments must be received on or before July 28, 2009.

May 28
EPA Advises Facility Operators To Minimize Releases during Hazardous Weather Events
As hurricane season approaches, EPA is issuing a Hazardous Weather Release Prevention and Reporting alert to remind facility operators of certain regulations that require minimization of chemical releases during process shutdown operations. This alert is designed to increase awareness among facility operators about their obligation to operate facilities safely and report chemical releases in a timely manner. The alert specifies operational release minimization requirements and clarifies reporting requirements, including exemptions. Unlike some natural disasters, the onset of a hurricane is predictable and allows for early preparations to lessen its effect on a facility. Before hurricane force winds and associated storm surge flooding damage industrial processes, the alert recommends that operators take preventive action by safely shutting down processes, or otherwise operate safely under emergency procedures.

Scientists Convene To Discuss New Method To Study How Toxic Chemicals Impact Human Health 
More than 200 scientists, regulators, and policy makers from around the world convened recently at EPA’s first ToxCast Data Analysis Summit to discuss results of the first phase of ToxCast. ToxCast is an innovative approach for profiling how chemicals in our environment impact important biological pathways that are critical for the function of the body’s systems such as the heart, lungs, brain or reproductive organs. EPA launched the ToxCast research program in 2007 to develop a cost-effective approach for prioritizing the toxicity testing of large numbers of chemicals in a short period of time. This new approach to determining how toxic chemicals could impact human health uses cutting-edge biological tests to determine how chemicals affect cellular functions. ToxCast will help EPA determine under what conditions environmental exposures pose risks to human health.

EPA Green Lights First Antimicrobial Pesticide Against Anthrax
EPA has approved the first registration of an antimicrobial pesticide product to deactivate anthrax spores on hard surfaces. “Peridox with the Electrostatic Decontamination System” can decontaminate buildings, structures, vehicles, ships, aircraft, personal protective equipment, and other items infected with anthrax spores. Its use is limited to dry, precleaned, hard, nonporous surfaces. Peridox is the first pesticide registered to deactivate anthrax spores. EPA previously issued crisis exemptions allowing use of unregistered antimicrobial chemicals to clean buildings and any contents contaminated with anthrax spores.

SAB Announces Public Teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC)
EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office announces a public teleconference of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to review and approve the draft report of the CASAC Carbon Monoxide Review Panel regarding EPA's Integrated Science Assessment for Carbon Monoxide: First External Review Draft (March 2009). The public teleconference will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (Eastern Time).

May 27
EPA Strengthens Safety Measures for Soil Fumigant Pesticides
EPA is strengthening safety measures for soil fumigant pesticides. The safety measures will reduce fumigant exposures to bystanders—people who live, work, attend school, or spend time near agricultural fields that are fumigated—and increase overall safety of fumigant use by requiring greater planning and compliance. Soil fumigants are pesticides that, when injected or incorporated into soil, form a gas that permeates the soil and kills a wide array of soil-borne pests. The gas can migrate from the soil into the air. Off-site workers or bystanders exposed to these pesticides may experience eye, nose, throat, or respiratory irritation, or more severe poisonings, depending on the fumigant and level of exposure. Some of the new safety measures include creating buffer zones, enforcing posting requirements, adding measures to protect agricultural workers and strengthening training programs, among other practices. Fumigants are used on a wide range of crops, primarily potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, and peppers. The soil fumigants methyl bromide, chloropicrin, dazomet, metam sodium, metam potassium, and iodomethane are all subject to the new requirements.

Growers Reminded to Apply Pesticides Properly
EPA is reminding growers and pesticide applicators to pay attention to label requirements when applying pesticides to crops near harvest time. "All pesticide label instructions need to be followed and it’s especially important that pesticides are applied the proper number of days before harvest," said Jamie Green, Chief of EPA’s Region 7 Toxics and Pesticides Branch in Kansas City. "EPA and our state regulatory partners want to avoid a repeat of the situation faced by a number of Kansas and Nebraska wheat growers in 2008. A late season fungicide application contributed to delayed harvests by some growers in order to ensure compliance with federal regulations." EPA and our state partners are responsible for ensuring compliance with pesticide label directions. Failure to follow label instructions is a violation of federal and state pesticide laws.

May 26
EPA Proposes Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program
EPA is proposing a regulation to implement changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard program as mandated by the Clean Air Act. The revised statutory requirements specify the volumes of cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that must be used in transportation fuel each year, with the volumes increasing over time. The rule proposes regulations designed to ensure that refiners, blenders, and importers of gasoline and diesel would use enough renewable fuel each year so that the four volume requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act would be met with renewable fuels that also meet the required lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions performance standards. A public hearing will be held on June 9, 2009 at the Dupont Hotel in Washington, DC. EPA will hold a workshop on June 10-11, 2009 at the Dupont Hotel in Washington, DC to present details of our lifecycle GHG analysis. During this workshop, EPA intends to go through the lifecycle GHG analysis included in this proposal. Comments must be received on or before July 27, 2009.

SFIREG Full Committee Meeting Scheduled
The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO)/State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) will hold a 2-day meeting, beginning on June 22, 2009 and ending June 23, 2009, in Arlington, Virginia. Tentative agenda topics are listed in the Federal Register notice, linked above.

May 21
EPA Administrator Restores NAAQS Policy Document
Stressing the importance of scientific integrity and transparency, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today called for key changes to the process for reviewing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect human health and the environment. EPA sets NAAQS for six key pollutants known as "criteria pollutants" that are commonly found across the United States. They are ozone, particle pollution (particulate matter), lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. EPA is reinstating the role of a key policy document created by agency scientists that contains staff analyses of options for the administrator to consider when setting air quality standards. This document, known as a "staff paper," will be made available to the agency’s science advisors and the public prior to the initiation of formal rulemaking. In addition to restoring the policy document, Administrator Jackson is retaining previous changes that improved the review process. Those include a public workshop early in the NAAQS review, and the restructuring of key science and risks documents so they are more concise and focused on key scientific and policy issues. Jackson also asked staff to consult with scientific experts in other federal agencies that have responsibility for public health and environmental protection early in the review of each air quality standard.

EPA Announces New IRIS Assessment Development Process
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced reforms to the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) that will revitalize the program and ensure its scientific quality, integrity, transparency and timeliness. The IRIS database provides crucial information on ways human health is impacted by exposure to chemical substances in air, water, and land both from contaminated sites and from products. Combined with specific exposure information, government and private entities use IRIS to help characterize public health risks of chemical substances in a site-specific situation and thereby support risk management decisions designed to protect public health. Highlights of the new IRIS development process include a streamlined review schedule, ensuring that the majority of assessments are posted on IRIS within two years of the start date. This will result in more human health assessments being available to EPA’s programs and regions and to other users of the IRIS database. The new process will no longer provide other federal agencies the opportunity to request suspension of an assessment process to conduct research on “mission critical” chemicals.

May 20
Request for Methyl Bromide Critical Use Exemption Applications for 2012
EPA is soliciting applications for the critical use exemption from the phaseout of methyl bromide for 2012 and beyond. This exemption is an annual exemption and all entities interested in obtaining a critical use exemption 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 previously applied for an exemption. 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 critical use exemption must be postmarked on or before July 20, 2009.

EPA Requests Proposals for Region 8’s Fiscal Year 2009 Sustainable Practices and Regional Priorities Grant Program
EPA announces the availability of funding from four Region 8 grant programs for projects that are to be conducted within the boundaries of Region 8.
The four programs are:

All projects under this area must be performed on tribal lands in Region 8. Link to full announcement (PDF) (33pp, 223K)

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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May 19
Ohio Fresh Eggs Pleads Guilty to Environmental Violations
EPA announced today that on May 18, 2009, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC (OFE) pled guilty in United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, to illegally discharging egg wash water into Kreisel Ditch, a tributary of Tymochtee Creek. In addition to OFE's guilty plea, a plea agreement was filed with the Court, recommending that OFE serve a three-year term of probation. During the term of probation, the parties recommended to the Court that OFE will pay a fine of $150,000 and pay a total of $150,000 to three charitable environmental organizations, as part of community service. Also, during the term of probation, OFE has agreed to make a number of improvements to its facility, including the addition of another field to which the egg wash water will be applied. OFE, a concentrated animal feeding operation, is the largest egg producer in the State of Ohio with 12 production facilities located in Northwest and Central Ohio. In Northwest Ohio, OFE operates a commercial egg farm located in Marseilles. Approximately three million egg laying chickens are housed at this facility. Kreisel Ditch is located near the facility.

May 15
San Francisco EPA Employee Nominated For Prestigious National Award Following Efforts To Turn Bay Area Food Waste into Energy
EPA employee and Bay Area resident Cara Peck has been nominated for the celebrated 2009 Service to America Medal by the Partnership for Public Service. Peck is a life scientist in EPA’s San Francisco office – she is one of three EPA employees who have been nominated for the prestigious award. Peck was recognized for helping urban areas improve food waste processing, promote new efficiencies and use refuse as a source of renewable energy. Peck worked in partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) to spearhead an effort to reuse food waste that would normally end up in landfills. The initiative was the first high-volume post-consumer food waste anaerobic digestion project in the United States. The project captures the energy potential of food waste, and the remaining solids can be further processed into compost, which can be put back into the soil to replenish and grow crops. The project generates renewable energy, a valuable compost material, and economic savings. With about 30 million tons of food waste discarded into landfills each year, this is an innovative and broadly applicable approach that can be carried out at most wastewater treatment facilities in the country.

EPA Extends the Public Comment Period on E15 Application
EPA is extending the comment period by 60 days on a waiver application requesting an increase in the amount of ethanol blended into a gallon of gasoline to up to 15 volume percent (E15). The original public comment period was to end on May 21, 2009, and will now end on July 20, 2009.

May 13
Notice of Pesticide Reregistration Performance Measures and Goals
EPA has announced its progress in meeting performance measures and goals for pesticide reregistration during fiscal year 2008. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires EPA to publish information about EPA's annual achievements in this area. The notice gives total numbers of chemicals and products reregistered, Data Call-Ins issued, and products registered under the "fast-track" provisions of FIFRA. This notice is not subject to a formal comment period. Nevertheless, EPA welcomes input from stakeholders and the general public. Written comments, identified by the docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0897, should be received on or before July 13, 2009.

May 11
EPA Revokes All Tolerances for Carbofuran

EPA has revoked regulations that permitted small residues of the pesticide carbofuran in food. Carbofuran is a toxic insecticide that does not meet current U.S. food safety standards. EPA’s action will eliminate residues of carbofuran in food, including all imports, in a move to protect people, especially children, from dietary risk. Ultimately, EPA will remove this pesticide from the market. The final carbofuran tolerance rule becomes effective in December. EPA is encouraging growers to switch to safer pesticides or other environmentally preferable pest control strategies.

Helena Chemical Company Fined $41,600 for Misbranded Pesticide
Helena Chemical Company will pay a $41,600 federal fine for the alleged distribution and sale of pesticides lacking up-to-date safety labels, according to an agreement with EPA. At least ten times in 2007, Tennessee-based Helena Chemical Company sold and distributed an improperly labeled herbicide, Barrage HF, through its LaCrosse, Washington distributor Dusty Farms Cooperative. This herbicide is approved for use on food crops. The labels on the product lacked important updates to the First Aid Statement, which is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The First Aid Statement provides initial first steps to take when accidental exposure occurs and may inform physicians and emergency responders of appropriate medical procedures for victims of poisoning.

May 7
EPA's FY 2010 Budget Aims To Create Jobs, Protect Human Health and the Environment
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson released EPA’s fiscal year 2010 budget blueprint, which takes significant strides to ensure that our air, land, and water are safe and clean. Expanding on the investments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this $10.5 billion budget allows EPA to provide real solutions to our economic crisis. It significantly improves accountability and transparency, ensuring fiscal responsibility at a time when every dollar counts. Increased funding will be targeted at vital areas including investing in water infrastructure, protecting our freshwater resources, creating a foundation to address climate change and identifying research gaps as well as chemical management.

Draft Toxicological Review of 1,4-Dioxane Released for Public Comment
EPA is announcing a public comment period for the external review draft document titled, "Toxicological Review of 1,4-Dioxane: In Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)." The public comment period and the external peer-review workshop, which will be scheduled at a later date and announced in the Federal Register, are separate processes that provide opportunities for all interested parties to comment on the document. EPA intends to forward the public comments that are submitted in accordance with this notice to the external peer-review panel prior to the meeting for their consideration. When finalizing the draft document, EPA intends to consider any public comments that EPA receives in accordance with this notice. Technical comments should be in writing and must be received by EPA by July 6, 2009.

Draft Toxicological Review of Pentachlorophenol Released for Public Comment
EPA is announcing a public comment period for the external review draft document titled, "Toxicological Review of Pentachlorophenol: In Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)." IRIS is a database that contains potential adverse human health effects information that may result from chronic (or lifetime) exposure to specific chemical substances found in the environment. The database contains qualitative and quantitative health effects information for more than 540 chemical substances that may be used to support the first two steps (hazard identification and dose-response evaluation) of a risk assessment process. Technical comments should be in writing and must be received by EPA by July 6, 2009.

May 6
Organic Arsenicals Amended RED Available
EPA has revised certain provisions of the 2006 Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for the organic arsenical pesticides MSMA, DSMA, CAMA, and cacodylic acid. In the 2006 RED, EPA concluded that all uses of the inorganic arsenicals were ineligible for reregistration primarily because of risks to drinking water resources. Additional data received since 2006 supported a decision to allow reregistration of MSMA for use on cotton only, contingent on the development of confirmatory data. In February 2009 EPA reached an agreement in principle with the technical registrants and to address comments received during a public comment period. That voluntary agreement steadily removes from the market all organic arsenical pesticide uses, except the use of MSMA on cotton, for which confirmatory data must be received by August 2010. The agreement also implements new restrictions to protect drinking water resources. Phasing out these uses is expected to accelerate the transition to new, lower risk herbicides. For additional information, please see the Organic Arsenicals Web page and Federal Register notice.

EPA Requests Comment on Endosulfan Impact Assessments
EPA has recently completed impact assessments on endosulfan for the following eight crops: Apple, cotton, cucumber, melon, potato, pumpkin, squash, and tomato. The impact assessments evaluate the impacts on growers that could result from various risk management options, such as cancellation of uses and longer Restricted Entry Intervals (REIs). All stakeholders are encouraged to comment on these assessments, submit additional information for the Agency to consider, and provide data with which the Agency can better define the likely impacts. Comments must be received on or before July 6, 2009.

EPA Proposes New Regulations for the National Renewable Fuel Standard Program for 2010 and Beyond
EPA is proposing revisions to the National Renewable Fuel Standard program (commonly known as the RFS program). Today’s proposed rule intends to address changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard program as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The revised statutory requirements establish new specific volume standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that must be used in transportation fuel each year. The revised statutory requirements also include new definitions and criteria for both renewable fuels and the feedstocks used to produce them, including new greenhouse gas emission (GHG) thresholds for renewable fuels. The regulatory requirements for RFS will apply to domestic and foreign producers and importers of renewable fuel. The 60-day comment period on this proposal will begin upon publication in the Federal Register. During the comment period EPA will hold a public workshop on lifecycle analysis to assure full understanding of the analyses conducted, the issues addressed and the options that are discussed. For more information, see EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard Program Web site.

Pesticide Registration Requests, Actions, and Tolerance Updates

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May 6
National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center May Newsletter and Webcast
The May edition of the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) newsletter is available. Topics include: June Webcast: Mortality Management Options for Small Farms; Mortality Management Resources; Report Examines Changes in Hog Manure Management; and Organic Dairy Manure May Offer Fertilizer Advantage. The next webcast, scheduled for May 15, 2009, is entitled, "Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations." Speakers include Melissa Weitz, US EPA; Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis; and Rich Grant, Purdue University.

May 4
EPA Acts To Protect Endangered Karner Blue Butterfly
EPA, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is imposing limitations on the use of methoxyfenozide on cranberries in Wisconsin because of its potential effect on the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The limitations are contained in a series of county-specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins that are available on EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Program Web site.

May 1
EPA Provides List of Antimicrobial Products Registered for Use Against the H1N1 Flu
In response to the emerging threat posed by the spread of the 2009 H1N1 Flu, disinfecting hard surfaces is one way to help stop the spread of this virus. Currently, over 500 disinfectant products are registered for use on hard, non-porous surfaces against influenza A viruses. EPA believes, based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009 H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains on hard, non-porous surfaces. For safe and effective use of these products, always follow label instructions for these products, paying special attention to the product’s dilution rate (if applicable) and contact time.

Public Comment Period Extended for the Draft NPDES General Permit for Discharges From Oklahoma CAFOs
On March 25, 2009, EPA Region 6 proposed to issue a general permit to cover CAFOs in Oklahoma in the Federal Register at 74 FR 12849. In response to requests from the public, EPA is extending the end of the public comment period to May 26, 2009.

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