Jump to main content.

Rad NESHAPS
Air and Water:  

Public Participation by E-Mail

Rad NESHAPs

EPA welcomes public participation in the review of Subpart W. We are interested in hearing about issues that you think EPA should address in the rule, as well as any thoughts you may have on the review process. Please submit your thoughts to SubpartW@epa.gov. The body of your messages will be posted to the website periodically during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Please note that EPA will not be able to reply to all messages submitted here.

Messages should pertain to the specifics of Subpart W, and meet the expectations of polite public discourse. We reserve the discretion not to post comments that:

By posting your comments or other work, you grant EPA and anyone viewing the EPA Web site irrevocable permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives, display or perform the commenter’s work publicly and free-of-charge. Do not submit copyrighted or other proprietary material in any form unless you clearly indicate that you have permission to do so.

All messages will become part of the Public Docket if EPA proceeds with a rulemaking to revise Subpart W.

To protect your privacy, please do not include information (e.g., an e-mail address or phone number) in the text of your comment that identifies you. You can find additional guidance as to how EPA regards privacy issues within the privacy policy provided on EPA’s main website.

Comments from Email

Subject: EPA Review of Standards for Uranium and Thorium Milling Facilites @40 CFR Parts 61 and 192

11/08/2010

Comments by Steven H Brown, SENES Consultants Limited (PDF) (12 pp, 1.81MB) About PDF

Top of page

Subject: EPA Public Information Meetings-Review of Standard Uranium and Thorium Milling Facilities, held on 11-4-10, Corpus Christi, Texas

11/30/2010

Comments by Raymond V. Carter, Jr., South Texans for Clean Energy (PDF) (2 pp, 14.58KB) About PDF

Top of page

Subject: Radon Emissions from Pinon Ridge

4/05/2011

Prevailing winds from the Pinon Ridge area and Eastern Utah blow towards Grand Junction Delta and Montrose. I live in Grand Junction and know that Radon is linked to Lung Cancer and I have enough problems with Asthma. I also used to be a Respiratory Therapist who saw patients from the RESEP (aka Radiation Exposure) program here. Please try Solar Power first before building the proposed mine at Pinon Ridge.

 

Thanks for your consideration.

Walter Speirs MPAS, PA-C

Top of page

Subject: Heap Leach

4/20/2011

Umetco Maybell Title II site is a uranium heap leach.  No conventional mill tailings are disposed of at the Title II site.
 
Thanks
John S. Hamrick
VP, Mill Operations
Cotter Corporation (N.S.L.)

Top of page

Subject: Comments on Subpart W Rule Review

07/22/2011

Energy Fuels Resources Corporation (Energy Fuels) appreciates the opportunity to comment on your agency's Subpart W rule review.  We believe we can provide you with valuable input, as we are in the process of permitting the Piñon Ridge Uranium and Vanadium Mill (Piñon Ridge) in Montrose County, Colorado.  As a part of our permitting and licensing for Piñon Ridge with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and other federal, state and local agencies, we have prepared volumes of reports, studies, and other documentation covering most aspects of uranium production using conventional milling methods.  We believe these experiences give our views unique perspective and reliability.

 

As background, we submitted an Application for Approval of Construction of Tailings Facility to EPA Region 8 on August 27, 2010 in accordance with 40 CFR Part 61.252(b)(1). The application (which is still under review by the EPA) proposes the phased construction of tailings cells for a conventional uranium mill. We originally delayed submitting our comments on the Subpart W rule review in anticipation of completing the permitting process first, so that we might provide technical comments on both the rule and how the rule is being interpreted by the EPA. Given that the EPA is moving forward at this time with an internal review of rule alternatives, we have decided to put forth the following general comments at this time for your consideration.

1. The EPA recently re-interpreted its Subpart W rules to state that evaporation ponds are tailings impoundments, because a very small quantity of byproduct material (as defined by 42 USC 2014(e)(2)) remains in the evaporation ponds as residue. Based on our reading of the Federal Register, the Rule, and other factors, this was never the intent of the original rulemaking. As we demonstrated in our construction application and accompanying materials, the radioactivity levels of the tailings are about two orders of magnitude higher than the levels in the evaporation ponds. Because the radioactivity associated with the evaporation ponds is low – similar to what is observed in background soils - we believe that these ponds should be classified separately from tailings impoundments.  In our opinion, the EPA should seriously consider whether evaporation ponds should even be regulated for radon emissions.

2. By classifying evaporation ponds in the same category as a tailings cell, the EPA removes the possibility of utilizing a phased approach to tailings management with a transition period between tailings cells as discussed further in Point #4 below.

3. If the EPA decides to stay with a work practice regulation for conventional milling, we recommend keeping the two existing work practices and adding a third that would allow for disposal of tailings using another method, provided the applicant can demonstrate that it provides equal or better control of radon emissions. For example, it might be reasonable in some cases to mix tailings with concrete and place the mixture back into an underground mine for ground support.  In addition, there might be other methods developed in the future that could provide control of radon emissions as well as, or better than, the current work practices.

4. The current phased disposal work practice with two tailings cells is a reasonable approach, as it allows an operator to gradually transition from a cell that is nearing capacity to a new one that is just starting. From a practical point of view, it is unreasonable to expect an operator to close one cell and start another cell on the same day. In a reasonable transition, an operator most likely would run both cells for a year or so until the first cell reaches its final capacity. 

5. A limit of 40 acres on tailings cells is reasonable, as this area provides adequate capacity at a 3H/1V internal slope, so that a uranium recovery operation does not have to build new cells every other year. In addition, as tailings areas decrease in area, their capacity decreases exponentially, because their depth also decreases.  Therefore, to minimize surface disturbance, we recommend against reducing the maximum size of tailings cells to less than 40 acres.

6. In the 1989 rulemaking, the EPA stated that dewatered tailings appeared to be a better option from an operating cost perspective than conventional tailings disposal, but with the added caveat that this was not currently a proven technology. In almost all cases, the dewatered or paste tailings option has proven to be a more expensive disposal option, primarily due to transportation and handling issues. Energy Fuels is also not convinced that this method would result in less radiation emissions, because exposed dewatered tailings do not have a water cover in place to limit radon and dust emissions.

7. Cumulative evaporation pond capacity at most conventional mills will need to be greater than 40 acres. Our Piñon Ridge Mill can operate with a 40 acre evaporation cell, because we are initially permitting for a 500 ton per day mill. Larger milling operations such as White Mesa and Sweetwater will likely need much larger pond areas.  

8. If the EPA decides that ISRs and heap leach facilities should be regulated under Subpart W, separate work practices need to be established for each type of facility.  Conventional mills and tailings facilities are considerably different than these facilities on a whole range of issues.  For instance, while ISRs and heap leach facilities may have evaporation ponds, they do not have tailings impoundments, which is the primary focus of the current Subpart W regulations.  The other alternative is to establish common numeric standards for public receptors based on modeling and monitoring, similar to what is currently being done under other federal and state radiation regulations.

9. Should a numeric standard be contemplated, we recommend that modeling be based on realistic scenarios. Most of the mill sites in the western United Statesare remotely located and are surrounded by public land upon which it is illegal to build a residence. To assume that a fence post along the property line is a full-time 24/7 resident is an unrealistic and unnecessary assumption.

10. We recommend that permitting and compliance authority for any revised regulations be clearly delineated. EPA Region 8 is currently reviewing our tailings cell liners, based on a reference in Subpart W to 40 CFR Part 192.30. Our review of these same regulations indicates that this review should be done, not by the EPA, but by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or (if applicable) the AgreementState. We outlined our interpretation of the rules to the Region 8 EPA, but we have elected to forgo a formal objection at this time. Colorado is an Agreement State, meaning the NRC has delegated the permitting of uranium mills to the state, because it has state laws and regulations are as strict (or stricter) than the laws and regulations that govern the NRC.  In this case, a previous technical review of our liner systems was performed by the radiation program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment during their review (and issuance) of our Radioactive Materials License. We are now going through a similar review process with the EPA. Unnecessary duplication of review and enforcement responsibilities does not benefit government agencies, the mining industry, or the general public. We believe that any revisions to Subpart W should be simple, straightforward, and focus on radon air emissions. References to other non-air-quality regulations should be minimized to the greatest extent possible.  And, where these other regulations are referenced, the Subpart W rules should be very clear as to which agencies are responsible for the technical review.  

11. We recommend that important terms such as "tailings impoundments," "evaporation ponds," and "regulatory agency" be clearly defined to avoid the current situation where multiple interpretations of the same regulations exist.

12. We also would like to see any existing ambiguities in the regulations clarified and regulatory authority better defined to avoid unnecessary duplication of regulatory reviews and approvals.  Uncertainty in the rules – and varied interpretations of those rules by different agencies and individuals – causes industry considerable time, money and effort in attempting to comply with the rules.

We understand that EPA's first and primary objective in reviewing the existing regulations is to determine the level of health risk associated with radon emissions from our byproduct disposal operations. However, once risk levels have been determined, we do not believe that public health, safety, the environment, or public policy is served by the EPA attempting to over-regulate our facilities under the maxim that "more is better." We are already a very highly regulated industry with health, safety, and environmental standards that far exceed those required in most other countries.  

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

 

Sincerely,

Frank Filas, P.E.

Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs

Top of page

Subject: Method 115 Test (Radon Flux) Data - Sweetwater Uranium Project

1/13/2012

Method 115 Test (radon flux) data for the Sweetwater Uranium Project from 1990 to 2010 may be found on page 6 of the following document stored in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) ADAMS public document system:
 

If you go to the ADAMS page (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html ) click Begin Web-based ADAMS Search, click on the Content Search tab and type in ML11157A017 you should be able to retrieve the document.

Oscar  Paulson
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

Top of page

Subject: EPA and State Enforcement of Subpart W Standard

3/15/2012

Utah is the only state that has primacy for the EPA radionuclide NESHAPS, including Subpart W. In 1995 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the State Of Utah authority to administer and enforce radionuclide National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) in the State of Utah.1 These NESHAPS included 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W—National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions From Operating Mill Tailings—and the Subpart A General Provisions. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Air Quality (DAQ), administers the NESHAP program.

The Subpart W standard, at 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W, § 61.252 states, in pertinent part:

Sec. 61.252 Standard.
(a) Radon-222 emissions to the ambient air from an existing uranium mill tailings pile shall not exceed 20 pCi/(m\2\-sec) (1.9 pCi/(ft\2\- sec)) of radon-222.
(b) After December 15, 1989, no new tailings impoundment can be built unless it is designed, constructed and operated to meet one of the
two following work practices:

(1) Phased disposal in lined tailings impoundments that are no more
than 40 acres in area and meet the requirements of 40 CFR 192.32(a) as
determined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The owner or
operator shall have no more than two impoundments, including
existing impoundments, in operation at any one time. [Emphasis
added.]

However, the White Mesa Mill in San Juan County, Utah, has from 4 operational tailings in operation at this time:

Cells 2, 3, and 4A, and an approved Cell 4B.

This has been brought to the attention of Region 8 EPA office.

In amending any of the Subpart W regulations, the EPA must also consider that the current standard, with respect the number of operating tailings impoundments, is not even being met.

Sarah M. Fields
Uranium Watch

Top of page

Subject: Follow-up on EPA April 5 Subpart W Conference Call

4/6/2012

Dear Mr. Rosnick,

Another issue that I failed to mention yesterday with respect the Subpart W rulemaking is the gapping regulatory hole when it comes to uranium mill tailings impoundments after they cease to be operational and, according to current EPA regulation, are no longer subject to the Subpart W flux standard. (For now, we'll just ignore the issues regarding exactly when that point in the life of a tailings impoundment occurs.)

 

My understanding is that one operation ceases and the closure period commences there is no radon flux standard. My understanding is that
at the time the closure period commences there must be a closure plan and reclamation milestones that have been approved by the State or
NRC. The problem is, as stated in the 1989 Subpart W final rule:

"EPA recognizes that the risks from mill tailings piles can increase dramatically if they are dry and uncovered can be seen in the proposed rule, 54 FR 9645. That analysis assumed that the piles were dry and uncovered and the risks were as high as 3 x 10 (to the -3) with 1.6 fatal cancers per year." The EPA than assumes that the piles will be wet or covered, then be "disposed of."

The problem is that during the "closure" or "disposal" period tailings impoundments dry out more and, in fact, interim soil covers interfere with the drying and settling processes. Apparently, this is happening at the White Mesa Mill. Even now, I believe that the estimate of time for the drying/settling process for Cells 2 and 3 at White Mesa is 10 years. That may be a minimal estimate. So whether an older cell with a radon flux standard or a newer 40-acre cell, there can be a period of time when radon emissions and potential for dispersal of radioactive particulates increases. Yet, there is no flux standard during this period, unless the period goes beyond the established reclamation milestone for the final radon barrier.

 

This is something the EPA Subpart W changes must address.

Also, there are proposals for open pit uranium mines near uranium recovery operations. With the EPA failure to establish a radon standard for surface uranium mines, you would have a regulated NESHAP facility next to one where the EPA has fallen short of its regulatory responsibility.

 

Sarah M. Fields
Uranium Watch

Top of page

Subject: Subpart W Review and Rulemaking

9/17/2012

 

Dear Reid,

I wish to bring to you attention an in situ uranium recovery technology that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must address in its Subpart W review
and rulemaking. The process of underground borehole mining (UBHM) has been proposed in Colorado.

For your information, I am sending you a copy of a recent letter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to the Tallehassee Area Community regarding whether Colorado, as an NRC Agreement State, has regulatory jurisdiction for this kind of uranium recovery technology. The NRC letter states that uranium recovery operations using this technology would be regulated by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. Therefore, The EPA must address the aspects of this process that would be subject to 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart W. For the surface facilities associated with this technology that fall under Atomic Energy
Act and NRC/Agreement State authority, the EPA must determine how the radionuclide emissions would be regulated under Subpart W.

 

I am also enclosing the Tallehassee letter to the NRC.

 

TAC letter to NRC - UBHM & Ablation July 2012 (PDF) (1 pg, 59K) About PDF

NRC Response 8-8-12 to UBHM.Ablation (PDF) (4 pp, 288K) About PDF

 

Sarah M. Fields
Uranium Watch

Top of page

Subject: Archived Emails

2/4/2009

Subject:                 Re: Method 115 

Hi Sharyn,

I enjoyed speaking with you and Jeremy this morning. Please let me know  if you have any other questions I can answer. In the meantime, attached  is the copy of Method 115 I promised. This is the required test method  for radon flux from Subpart W units.

Reid

 

Method 115 (PDF) (3 pp, 443K), December 1989 About PDF

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

2/4/2009

Reid,

We also appreciated the opportunity to speak with all of you this morning. Thanks for the document on Method 115.  I'm encouraged that we've begun
opening channels of communication on this important issue.  I look forward to speaking with you in the future.

Sharyn Cunningham, Co-Chair
Colorado Citizens Against ToxicWaste, Inc.
 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/5/2009

Subject: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting

Hi Sharyn,

I either misplaced your phone number, or I might not have gotten it  when we last spoke in February. If you would kindly send it to me, I'll  give you a call and we can discuss some of the logistics (time/place) for  the Subpart W meeting on June 30. We can also discuss the format of the meeting, and get a sense of what you would like me to talk about, and any issues you would like me to address. Thanks

Reid
Radiation Protection Division (6608J)
 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/8/2009

Hello Reid,              

Thanks for your message.  Our group has already begun looking at  potential sites for the June 30th meeting in Canon City.  We'll take steps to help confirm a location after we've had a chance to discuss the best time for the meeting, if you would like.  We would be happy to discuss the format
 and info desired, as well.  Let me know when you would like to speak by  telephone.

 Sharyn Cunningham
 CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/9/2009

Hi Sharyn,

Thanks for your response. I have a couple of ideas I'd like to share for  our meeting on the 30th. If it's OK with you, I could give a presentation on the basics of Subpart W, an update of what the workgroup has been doing, and an update of our status of other items that are part of the settlement agreement. After that, perhaps we could open it up for a question and answer period, where I can get a sense of issues that are of concern to you. My hope is that we can keep this meeting as informal as possible, I think that way we can have an open dialogue, with sharing of ideas that will be beneficial to both of us. Do you have an estimate of how many people would attend the meeting, and how much time would be needed? I'm just trying to get a feel on how to tailor my presentation.


Regarding when we can speak by phone, I'll leave that to you as your schedule dictates. Just let me know when you are available, and I'll be happy to ontact you.

 

I look forward to meeting you in a couple of weeks.

 Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/11/2009

Dear Reid,                  

Sorry for the delay in responding as we had to put our heads together regarding what we believe we will need for this meeting.  I've added to the cc's on this message, Jeremy Nichols from Rocky Mt Clean Air Action, and CCAT's other Co-Chair, Carol Dunn, as they are involved in the Settlement, and in coordination of this meeting.  Your suggestions for the presentation, the basics of Subpart W, an explanation of the workgroup and update on its progress, and the status of items that are part of the settlement, would be very helpful.  Q&A works best, in our opinion, if it follows each presentation.  At the same time, keeping the meeting informal and open for dialogue is very desirable.

It's been difficult in deciding when to hold the meeting.  A number of key people, like yourselves, will be traveling here, and a number of key  people in the community work during the day.  Therefore, we're suggesting that the meeting be held in the evening from around 6-9pm, with a break planned mid-way through the evening.  Here are some suggestions of items or actions we would like to see:

  1. We would like for and hour and a half to be made available for a few citizen presentations on specific concerns surrounding this issue.  I'm not certain we would need the whole 1.5 hrs, but would like for it to be available, to best convey information to EPA.
  2. Please let us know who will be attending from the EPA and their area and level of expertise on this issue.  We would also appreciate, if  possible, an electronic copy emailed with any presentation materials that will be used by you or EPA staff (e.g. PPT slides, informational documents, etc.).  It would also be helpful if printouts of these materials were available as handouts to the audience or participants.
  3. We would appreciate receiving copies of the presentation EPA used for the NMA on this topic last year, as well as any other documents or
     correspondence shared with the NMA on this topic.
  4. Is EPA planning any sort of announcement or advertising for this meeting?  If so, please let us know, so that we don't duplicate our
     efforts.

We are uncertain as to the size of the audience.  We just had a Superfund meeting on Monday with about 165 people in attendence.  However, we  don't anticipate that size of a crowd.  Our best guess is that we will have anywhere from 30-40 in attendance, and believe that people north of our area, and other interested parties may travel here for the meeting. We have at least two possible locations, and would be happy to secure
something appropriate.  One location, if it's available, has the capability of expanding the room if needed.

Our group looks forward to hearing from you.
 Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/9/2009

Subject: Re: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting       

Hi Sharyn,
Thanks for your response. I have a couple of ideas I'd like to share for our meeting on the 30th. If it's OK with you, I could give a presentation on the basics of Subpart W, an update of what the workgroup has been doing, and an update of our status of other items that are part of the settlement agreement. After that, perhaps we could open it up for a question and answer period, where I can get a sense of issues that are of concern to you. My hope is that we can keep this meeting as informal as possible, I think that way we can have an open dialogue, with sharing of ideas that will be beneficial to both of us. Do you have an estimate of how many people would attend the meeting, and how much time would be needed? I'm just trying to get a feel on how to tailor my presentation.

Regarding when we can speak by phone, I'll leave that to you as your schedule dictates. Just let me know when you are available, and I'll be happy to contact you.

I look forward to meeting you in a couple of weeks.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/12/2009

Subject:                 RE: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting

Hi all,

I have booked the Quality Inn here in Canon City, Hwy. 50 and Dozier, 719-275-8676.  They have a meeting room for 30-50 people.  We will have it
from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on June 30.  I will check with the Events Coordinator the week before to make sure they have the set up for PowerPoint, etc.  By
that time I will have input on how many people are coming and be able to decide what sort of seating/table arrangement will best suit.  If any
presenter has has any special needs along those lines let me know as soon as possible.  Look forward to seeing you in Canon City.

Carol Dunn
CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/12/2009

Hi Sharyn,                   

The meeting time you chose is fine with me. I know people work during the day, and it's difficult to schedule meetings during the week. I would ask that we go no later than 9 PM, as I have to drive back to Denver that night. I think the meeting format is good, and I want to allow as much time as possible for questions. If there are only 30-40 people in the room, perhaps we can make it more of a roundtable, and questions can be asked anywhere throughout my presentation.

I'm going to address each of your numbered items in order, so I don't forget anything.

 1. I welcome the period for citizen presentations. If you know of specific citizen issues or concerns, please let me know beforehand, so I can attempt to address them in my presentation. Please remember that the focus of my work is limited to the radon emission standards of Subpart W, and the associated review and possible revision of those standards.  If you have information or studies related to the protectiveness of the radon standard of 20 pCi/m2, I would be very interested in obtaining them.

While I am generally aware of issues with Cotter in other topic areas like ground water and drinking water, and though you may wish to discuss
those types of issues, they are beyond the scope of my work, and I am not the technical person who could answer questions of this nature.  I
raise this point so that you know what you can expect me to address at the meeting.  For questions outside of the scope of my Subpart W focus I
will try to relay the questions to Region 8 staff.

 2. As I write this, assume there will be two EPA folks attending the meeting, myself and Dr. Angelique Diaz from our Regional office in Denver. As I get more information on any other participants, I'll let you know immediately. I'm still in the process of putting my PPT presentation together, and I hope to e-mail it to you by no later than next Friday, June 19.

 3. On June 19 I'll also e-mail you a copy of the presentation my colleague Loren Setlow and I made to NMA last year. Based on what I'm currently putting together, you'll find that a lot of the information is redundant. There are no other documents or correspondence that has been shared with NMA to my knowledge. Also, if you would kindly give me an address, I can ship out at least 50 copies of my presentation at the same time so that you have them prior to the meeting, and I'm not carrying a big box through airport security.

 4.  I am not aware of any other announcements or advertisements that EPA is planning for this meeting. I am turning to you to announce the meeting to the interested individuals.  I assure you that once our web site is up and running we will announce future meetings.  I also appreciate your securing a meeting room. I would appreciate it if the room had a projection system and screen. That way I can bring a flash drive with the presentation on it, and we can project it for all to see.

I believe I touched all the bases from your note. Thanks for your cooperation, Sharyn, and please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me if you have other questions or issues. Thanks,have a great weekend.

 Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/12/2009

Subject:                 Re: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting                             

 

Dear Reid,

We understand that the meeting will need to end at 9pm, and we greatly appreciate having this opportunity to participate in the Subpart W review
and potential rulemaking.  In response to your comments (using the same numbering system):

1.)  In regard to citizen presentations at the meeting, I assumed that "this issue" would be understood as referring to the review of Subpart W, not
water or any other concerns at this site.  We will make every effort to provide information to you on citizen issues/questions prior to the meeting,
or at least within one week of the meeting.  We agree, it will be advantageous for all if you can think about these points before hand.

2. & 3.)  We look forward to seeing Dr. Diaz again, and will appreciate receiving the PPT and NMA materials by email.  You can mail your handouts
for the meeting to:  Sharyn Cunningham, 1614 Grand Ave, Canon City, CO 81212.

4.)  We will make sure that a screen and projection system will be available for computers.  Carol Dunn sent an email earlier today with the location
name and address:  Quality Inn and Suites, Hwy 50 & Dozier Ave, Canon City, CO (719-275-8676).

Can EPA place an ad for the meeting in our local newspaper, The Canon City Daily Record?  Aside from that, we would appreciate it if EPA would put an
announcement for this meeting, with links to Subpart W and a brief explanation of the purpose of the meeting, on these websites:

We'll look forward to an answer regarding an ad and announcements on the websites.  If there's anything else we can do to make this a productive and
educational meeting, please email or call.  We look forward to hearing from you again, and seeing you and Dr. Diaz on June 30th.

Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/16/2009

Subject: Re: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting 

Hi Sharyn,

Thanks to you and Carol Dunn for making all the arrangements and  logistics for the meeting location. I will Fed-Ex the box of presentations to you on Friday. Additionally, I'll send you an electronic version and a copy of the presentation I made to NMA last year.

Regarding advertising for the meeting, I am in the process of placing a  notice of a public meeting on EPA's Subpart W web page. It may take a day or two to get through our Product Review section.   Angelique Diaz will make a request of the Regional Superfund group on whether they will update their web site. She will also see if CDPHE will allow for placement of an announcement on their web sites. For the Canon City Daily Record she will speak with the public affairs people to see if any funding is available for the advertisement. I'll update you as I hear about the success of the requests.

Thanks again, and as always, don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/17/2009

Subject: Web Posting                    

Hi Sharyn,

I have managed to get an announcement about the June 30 meeting on our Subpart W web page. The link is:


http://www.epa.gov/radiation/neshaps/subpartw/index.html

The Region is still looking into the possibility of getting an announcement on the Lincoln Park Superfund site, the CDPHE websites, and the Canon City Daily Record. I'll keep you posted.

 Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/17/2009
Subject:                 Re: Logistics for June 30 Subpart W Meeting  

 

Dear Reid,

Thank you for putting a notice of the June 30th meeting on the Subpart W website at the EPA.  Only those informed on this particular issue will know
to check that site.  An effort to notify the public of this meeting and it's purpose really should be included at the Lincoln Park Superfund website on
EPA, the Cotter Uranium Mill & Superfund site on the CDPHE website, and the CDPHE Powertech website where ISL uranium mining is being proposed.
Hopefully that will happen, as those are sites that the general public access periodically, people who may not be aware of the review of Subpart W.
An ad in our local newspaper seems only appropriate for this meeting on a historical effort by EPA that will have a direct impact on our community.
We will appreciate your continued effort, and efforts by others at EPA and CDPHE, to see that proper notification is offered to the public.

I'll be looking for your package of materials, the electronic versions of presentations on the subject to NMA and for this meeting by email, and will
hopefully be getting back to you soon about our issues of concern.

Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/17/2009

Subject:                 Re: Web Posting          

 

Reid,

Thanks and I saw that the announcement was up last night after receiving your last message.  Only those informed on this particular issue will know
to check that site.  An effort to notify the public of this meeting and it's purpose really should be included at the Lincoln Park Superfund website on
EPA, and at the Cotter Mill & Superfund site website on the CDPHE website. Hopefully that will happen, as those are sites that the general public
accesses periodically, people who may not be aware of the review of Subpart W.  We will appreciate your continued effort to see that happens.

I'll be looking for your package of materials, the PPTs by email, and will hopefully be getting back to you soon about our issues of concern.

Thanks again,
Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/18/2009

Subject: Re: Web Posting           

Hi Sharyn,

I trust that the language I used in the announcement is acceptable. I  know that Jeremy Nichols is no longer representing Rocky Mountain Clean
Air Action, but I felt obliged to mention them, since they are co-plaintiffs with your organization. The Region is continuing to work on determining placement of the announcements, and I reckon that we will have a resolution soon.

I will be sending 50 copies of the presentation tomorrow.  That number is based on the 30-40 number of attendees you had estimated, plus 10
more for good measure. You should probably receive it on Monday or Tuesday.  I'll also be sending the electronic versions of the presentation and the 2008 NMA presentation tomorrow afternoon.  I'll also bring a CD with my presentation to use at the meeting, and you are welcome to keep that if you wish.

Thanks again for all your help.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/18/2009

Subject:                 Re: Web Posting                 

 

Reid,

Thanks very much, and yes the announcement language was very good.

Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

7/29/2009

Subject: A Request For Documentation

Reid,

At the June 30 meeting in Canon City I believe you told us that you would make available to us the following documents: 1989 Risk Assessment, EPA's Detailed Workplan, Communications Plan, and Analytic Blueprint.

I am aware that these documents will all appear at some future date on the website that EPA will be creating once the lawsuit is settled and all parties have signed the requisite documents.  However,as slowly as the lawsuit is moving toward final signatures this is taking longer than I wish to wait.

So I am asking you to please send me the documents I've requested above.

Thank you.

Paul Carestia

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

8/6/2009

Subject:                 Re: A Request For Documentation                 

 

Paul,

 

Sorry for the delay, I have been out of the office for two weeks.


I can send you the 1989 Risk Assessment documents, however, the file is too large to send electronically. If you would send me your address, I can send a CD of this information.


Regarding the Analytic Blueprint and Communication Plan, these documents are internal Agency documents, containing sensitive information that cannot be shared. I mentioned them in my presentation to give you a feel for the process we use, and the fact that we are indeed on a path forward, not waiting for any resolution to the lawsuit.  I apologize for any misunderstanding.


Please let me know if sending you the CD of the risk assessment is acceptable. Thanks

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

8/6/2009

Reid,                                  

Thanks for the e-mail.  Please send me the CD to the following address.

I guess I am a little confused now by just what exactly your agency is going to be willing to share with the public regarding this matter and just what exactly you are going to be putting up on the website EPA will be creating.

I am also familiar with the Freedom of Information Act and have used it upon occasion with other federal government agencies.  I have difficulty with any government agency when I am told information pertaining to my and the public's welfare is "sensitive and cannot be shared".  Makes one feel one's government is withholding something it doesn't want me to see.

Any thoughts on this?

Thank you.

Paul Carestia

 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/14/2009

Subject:                 Documentation You Requested From Sharyn Cunningham on Effective Effluent Limit  

 

Reid,

Sharyn Cunningham asked me to send to you the document produced by MFG Inc, a firm hired by Cotter Corporation, which proposed the use of an Effective Effluent Limit (EEL) to gauge whether radon concentrations at the Cotter Mill perimeter were "safely within limits".


It is my understanding that you asked to see this document as a result of some discussion at the Rapid City WMAN Conference in October.
Attached is that document in .pdf form.  Unfortunately it was scanned upside down, so you will have to use "View" on Adobe Reader's toolbar to rotate the document so it can be read on your computer screen. I have read this document numerous times and as an engineer with a master's degree in electrical engineering and as an MBA with a fair number of statistics courses behind me, I have a number of issues with the approach proposed and accepted by the Colorado Department of Health in this matter with Cotter.  I have raised these issues with the Department of Health and the EPA in Region 8 to no avail.  I am hoping that someone with the right expertise on your staff in Washington, D. C. will take a detailed, critical look at what is written here and will truly evaluate the science as appropriate and adequate.  Region 8 of the EPA never responded to my documented concerns and Colorado Department of Health responses were obfuscating at best.  I'll be happy to make their responses available to you as well if you wish.  I have basically given up on getting anything reasonable from those folks, who are obviously stakeholders in this approach having given approval for its use.
The issues I have with the approach are as follows.


1. The sample sizes being used to calculate reliable, realistic means and standard deviations for background radon concentrations and perimeter radon concentrations are simply too small.  Statistical theory shows that in order to have reliability in the calculation of the mean and standard deviation of a sample distribution, one needs a sample size somewhere between 30 and 50 samples.  Four samples are used for perimeter radon concentrations (1 per quarter) and 4 samples are used from each of three background radon locations (1 per quarter), for a total of 12 background radon samples.   These sample sizes are simply insufficient, especially when the resulting mean and standard deviation for background are used to predominantly set the upper limit for radon concentrations at the mill perimeter.  I view this as highly unreliable for such an important metric of concern to public health and welfare.
2. The average background radon measurement and resulting background standard deviation are then used in the Effective Effluent Limit equation:   EEL Alternative Effluent Limit + Average Background + 2 times the standard deviation of Average Background Alternate Effluent Limit is defined in he MFG document and is basically a constant number dependent upon distance of perimeter station from the tailings impoundment. This EEL sets the upper limit against which mill perimeter average radon concentrations are compared.  It is my contention that using such an approach will make it highly unlikely, if not impossible for the EEL to ever be exceeded.  I think this approach is highly suspect, meaningless, and biased to give a result that will always say radon concentrations at the perimeter are "safely within limits". 
You may recall in my presentation to you at the June 30 EPA meeting in Canon City I pointed out that while radon flux from the Cotter Primary Impoundment increased by 230% over a 3 year period, radon concentrations at the mill perimeter decreased by 30% over the same 3 year period.  This makes absolutely no sense to me.  Colorado Department of Health showed no interest in this concern, and for that matter neither did EPA in Region 8.  Colorado Department of Health simply indicated that radon concentrations at the mill perimeter were "within EEL limits", so radon flux readings weren't really of relevance to them.  They said they look at and count on radon concentrations at the perimeter.  EEL as it is used in this case is being given an extremely high credence.  I strongly question this.
3. All measurements in this approach, background as well as perimeter, are made using the same measurement technology, Laundauer's DRNF.  I would assume then that all measurements are subject to the same random and real variation, not just background.  The MFG document calls specific attention to this variation as it relates to background radon measurements and applies the 2 sigma 95% confidence interval for background to account for it.  Yet the MFG document does nothing to take this variation into consideration for any of the perimeter measurements.  I would argue that the appropriate 2 sigma for perimeter average measurements be added to those measurements to insure a 95% confidence in them as well.  The approach as currently implemented is not an apples to apples approach. 

I would appreciate very much having an EPA expert in Washington, D. C. study this document and the resulting approach.  I respectfully request that this be undertaken and that the expert who does the review get back with me on their finding.  I need corroboration from an expert, or I need to be shown where I am mistaken.  Either outcome will suffice. Thanks for your willingness to look into this matter.  I appreciate it.
 
Paul Carestia


MFG Document (PDF) 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/14/2009

Subject:   Re: Documentation You Requested From Sharyn Cunningham on Effective Effluent Limit 

 

Reid,
 
I'm sending additional information to include with Paul Carestia's email sent earlier today.  Attached is a series of letters exchanged between Cotter and the CDPHE in 2004 concerning radon.  The MFG, Inc. paper was part of this process.  These letters may shed additional light on the matter.  Paul had not seen them, and he is reviewing them now and will send you his notes and thoughts on them later.
 
Though there may be other reasons that radon came up in 2004, one may be that leadership staff at the CDPHE radiation division changed in 2003 bringing a new approach to Cotter.  Also, radon flux in 2002 was18.7 pCi/m2-sec, probably due to the Primary Impoundment drying out during a period of extended drought.  A third contributing event, as seen in the February 12th Memorandum from Jan Johnson to Steven Landau, was soil sampling done in 2003 where high levels of stable lead were found in a private residence attic and barn, and some other locations near Cotter.  It appears that CDPHE was questioning whether radon from Cotter's impoundment and facility was contributing to this contamination.  I've also attached a CDPHE letter from 6-16-2003 regarding the 2002 radon flux that was sent to CDPHE Air Pollution Division. 
 
Thank you, and we'll look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sharyn Cunningham
Cotter CDPHE Radon Correspondence 2004.pdf  2003-6-16 CDPHE Review Radon Flux 2002.pdf 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/22/2009

Subject:                 Re: Documentation You Requested From Sharyn Cunningham on Effective Effluent Limit 

 

Paul,

Thanks for all of the information. As I wrote to Sharyn,  I was out of the office all last week on work unrelated to Subpart W, so this is the first chance I have had to respond. I probably won't get a chance to review the information until some time this weekend, but I'll respond when I have something to report. Thanks again.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/30/2009

Subject:                 Response to your e-mail of 10/14/09     

 

Paul,

I have reviewed the document you provided to me in your e-mail of 14 October 2009. The document was produced for Cotter by MFG, Inc, dated 20 May 2004 with the subject heading of Proposed Sampler Specific Radon Concentrations.  You asked me to review the proposed approach and comment on three issues that you raised in your e-mail.

1.   Sample sizes being used to calculate means and standard deviations.
2.   Creation of a background radon measurement by taking the mean and adding 2 standard deviations to create average background
3.   Not applying the same statistical approach to the downgradient radon samples.

Before I answer your questions, I am including a couple of caveats. In reviewing this information it is clear to me that it is not part of any sampling program for NESHAP Subpart W. I can only assume therefore that this is a program that has been proposed in conjunction with the facility’s operating license. This program is administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) unless that program is run by an Agreement State. The State of Colorado is an Agreement State, and I am unclear on exactly why this sampling program was proposed. Also, since the memo was produced in May 2004, it is unclear to me whether this proposed method was actually reviewed and/or approved for use. I would need to examine considerably more documentation before I could determine the usefulness of this proposed sampling program, and frankly, since it is not related to Subpart W, I do not have the time to explore it for further follow-up. I suggest that you continue to raise this issue with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  I will, however, answer your questions in a general sense, as it relates to Subpart W.

Regarding sample size as it relates to calculation of means/standard deviations, NESHAP Subpart W requires in Method 115 a specific number of flux measurements for a tailings facility:

      Water saturated beaches – 100 flux measurements
      Loose and dry top surfaces – 100 flux measurements
      Sides – 100 flux measurements, unless soil is used in dam construction
      Water covered areas – no flux measurements

Although no background measurements are specified in this test, it is generally assumed that flux measurements will be on the order of 100 in order to be consistent with the downgradient measurements. One hundred samples produce a more normal distribution, and allows for greater confidence in the data. As you know, in general sample sizes of less than 30 do not usually produce results accurate to a specified confidence and margin of error unless the population is normally distributed. Further, the locations for determining background are assumed to be free of tailings, and are truly representative of existing natural background for radon.

In Subpart W, after the samples are collected, the mean radon flux from the pile shall be the arithmetic mean of the mean radon flux for each sector of the tailings pile. Addition of any number of standard deviations is not permitted. The number of samples required more than compensates for using problematical statistical methods. Further, the weather conditions, moisture content of the tailings, and the area of the pile covered by water must be delineated in the analysis, and must be chosen at the time of measurement to provide representative long-term radon flux.

Lastly for Subpart W, the mean of the radon flux samples is compared to the mean of the background samples. There are no methods used to compensate for lack of data, such as employing the standard deviation to background, and comparing it to just the mean of the downgradient data. If the resultant flux rate is greater than 20 pCi/m2/sec, the pile is in violation.  I should mention that while we will possibly consider various alternatives to the sampling method utilized in Method 115, we will not be considering the use of alternate, unsupported or untenable statistical methods that gives the appearance of data treatment.

I hope this helps, as I stated earlier, I have responsibilities with Subpart W that are mandated by law, and I must concentrate my efforts to meet those deadlines. Thanks for the opportunity to have a look at the proposal.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/27/2009

Subject: Dates for first conference call       

Hi Sharyn,

I hope things are good. In anticipation of the settlement agreement being approved some time soon (November?) I thought we might discuss some dates for when we hold the first conference call. I don't really have any preferences, other than the call being held anytime after November 13. If you would like to stick to the schedule in the Agreement, it would be on a Tuesday, so that leaves November 17 and 24, and December 1 and 8. Again, I don't have any real preference at this time. Regarding time of day for the call, my preference would be sometime during the hours of 9 AM - 1 PM MST. My assumption is that the call would last about an hour. The call-in number will be posted on the web site no later than 5 days before the call, and I'll also e-mail the number to you per the Agreement. The way I'm working on this is that the number will remain the same throughout the time that we conduct the calls. Does any of this work for you?

The web site is coming together, and will be up within the 30 day period after the agreement becomes final. The site will be a work in progress, as I try to add more material and information to it during the life of  the site.

 I think that's it for now, I look forward to hearing from you.

 Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/04/2009

Hello Reid,            

Things here are pretty good.  We've had early snow and record breaking low temperatures, but have bounced back to warmer weather for the present.
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I had to check with CCAT and others. The consensus is to start the teleconferences on Dec 8th, preferably 1 PM
MST.  That would allow for everyone to participate from all regions of the US.  Keeping the same number and posting info about the teleconferences on
the current or new website will be very helpful.

Many are looking forward to info and documents being posted on a website, especially where we could access documents while on a teleconference, if
wanted.  So, please do let me know when this becomes available.

Thanks very much, and I'll wait for your confirmation of Dec. 8th, 1 PM MST, and then we will notify our lists.

Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/4/2009

Hi Again,                                             
 
Would it be possible for you to send me a copy of the sign-in sheet of people that attended your presentation in Rapid City?
 
Thanks, Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/9/2009

Hi Sharyn,                   

Sorry for the delay in responding, I was in Gallup, New Mexico last week  for a Navajo uranium stakeholders conference.

Thanks for scheduling the time for the conference call. December 8 at 1 PM MST is fine with me except for just one issue. The settlement agreement became effective on November 3, and one of the issues we agreed to was that the conference calls would begin within 30 days of the agreement becoming final. The conference call date is 5 days beyond the 30 day stipulation.  If you are OK with that, then so am I, but I need to make sure that we don't violate any terms of the agreement, which would force the call to happen on or before December 3. Please let me know if you're still willing to go with December 8.  Thanks

I've also attached the sign-in sheet you requested for the meeting we had in Rapid City. Have a good day.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/9/2009

Hi Reid,              

I've spoken with Travis Stills and he sees no problem with going a few days past the 30-day deadline under the circumstances.  Travis suggested that you
might contact Susan Stahle for any input on your end:
Stahle.Susan@epamail.epa.gov

Thanks for the attendee list, and we're looking forward to the first teleconference.  Any update on the development of the website?

Thanks, Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/10/2009

Hi Sharyn,             

I took your advice and spoke with Susan Stahle of our Office of General Council. She was more nervous than Travis with respect to missing the 30 day deadline for the conference calls. She explained to me that the 30 days is a hard and fast requirement, and we can't miss it.  So, I apologize for the mix-up, but we need to think of another day that will work between now and up to December 3. I know that we had originally talked about Tuesdays, but really for me Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday will work. If you could give me some dates that would work for you, I would greatly appreciate it. Again, sorry.

Regarding the web site, I hope to have it go live by next Thursday.  We're putting the finishing touches on it, and it has a lot of  information on it. Since its a work in progress, we hope to continue to add to it from any other sources we find here, as well as any information from the stakeholders. I'll let you know as soon as it is up and running.

 Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/10/2009

Reid,        

We are disappointed, but after conferring with Jeremy Nichols of RMCAA/Wild Earth Guardians, and Atty Travis Stills, we have chosen Dec. 3rd, Thursday,
1 pm, MST.  I have some questions:

1.  How soon can you give us call-in instructions in order for us to make our announcements to interested participants.
2.  Will EPA provide an adequate number of lines for interested participants?
3.  Will EPA announce the teleconferences, and how?
4.  Who will be on the teleconference from EPA?

Thanks for your efforts on the website, as we would really appreciate being able to look at related documents prior to the call.  Please do email me
when it is up and available for access.

Again, thank you for all your help, and we're looking forward to these conferences.

Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/23/2009

Subject: EPA to Cotter 2-24-09                       

 

Hi Reid,
 
I see that the website is up and we are really appreciative of your efforts.  Just looking at correspondence between EPA & Cotter and see that the Feb 24, 2009, letter has even numbered pages of the document missing.

1.  Could you please get the pages added and the letter reposted?

Also, there are no further letters after May 2009, either from Cotter or any EPA responses.  If any further communication has gone on between EPA and Cotter since May 2009.
 
2.  Would you please post correspondence since May 2009, as well?

One other thing - the aerial photos provided by Cotter in the information sent in May 2009 seem to be rather old.  Attached are Nov 1, 2009, photos where it is very evident that tailings are now exposed in the Secondary Impoundment.  In case you're unaware, Cotter made an inventory of Impoundment contents for EPA in 2003 (see attached) with details for the Primary.  Other sources indicate that the Secondary does contain waste from the Manhattan project.  We're really concerned about how radon is being controlled as Cotter is dewatering the Secondary Impoundment.  This may be out of your jurisdiction, but I'm not as up on this, so am at least making you aware of the situation.  We recently sent an email to Ms. Diaz about this, but thought you might like to see the photos in light of Cotter's response to request for information.
 
Thanks very much,
 
Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair

  Cotter Secondary Impoundment Photos 11-1-09 (PDF)

  Cotter Inventory Impmt Ponds 3-3-03 (PDF) 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/25/2009

Dear Mr. Rosnick,                                             

Attached is a memo regarding the Subpart W review.  I have not had a chance to review the documents you have posted on the Subpart W rulemaking website.  

Also, yesterday I mailed the memos and exhibits re Title V and Part 70 permits.  I had e-mailed the memos, but not the exhibits to the second memo. Will you receive the mail in a timely manner, or should I fax the exhibits (re Utah State Program) to you?

I will also submit comments regarding the EPA state program for radionuclide NESHAPS.

Sarah Fields
Uranium Watch

Memo SubpartW Review 91125 (PDF)

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

2/4/2010

Hi Sharyn,             

I hope you are well. I wanted to touch base with you regarding the possible time and location for the Utah public meeting. I have been corresponding with Sarah Fields, who gave me some good information on where we could locate the meeting. She has given me two locations:  The first one is the White Mesa Ute community, about 5 miles south of Blanding, which is the community closest to the White Mesa Mill.  They have a gym where the DOE held scoping and draft EIS hearings related to the disposition of the Moab Mill Tailings. The second location is the Blanding Arts and Events Center at the College of Eastern Utah. They apparently have a large meeting room. Either one of these locations would be fine with me, although I am leaning toward the White Mesa Ute facility, since it is closest to the mill. I welcome any input you have on the issue.

The second issue is the date of the meeting. I am currently looking at Monday, May 24th, at approximately 6 PM. I believe that Dr. Diaz will be accompanying me on the trip.

Please let me know if this works for you, so I can go ahead with the reservations for the room, etc. Thanks a lot.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

2/5/2010

Hello Reid, 

                 
Thanks for your message.  After consulting with our group, we would choose the White Mesa Ute community meeting place, as it may be more accessible to people closest to the Mill, and Blanding residents could get there easily. A few people from Canon City will be making the trip, so a few miles one way
or the other won't make a difference to us.  May 24th seems quite a ways off, and we think would happen after our next scheduled conference call,
which is unfortunate.   The consensus here is that a date sooner than May 24th should be scheduled. Other than that, thanks for your efforts and
asking for our opinion.

Sharyn

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/24/2009

Subject:                 Re: EPA to Cotter 2-24-09                                

 

Hi Sharyn,

I'm glad that you saw the website. Our IT folks put it up because I needed to see it on my home computer to make sure that it "looked" the same as on the computers here at EPA. At the same time, I was making sure that all of the links work, and to make sure that everything was complete. In addition to the Cotter letter, I also found two broken links. Those will be repaired this morning, and I will be sending an e-mail today to everyone who wanted to be notified that the web site is officially launched.  Please note that some of the documents are very large, up to 25 MB, and they take some time to download.

As for correspondence with Cotter, I am not aware of any further communication since May. I'll check with Angelique Diaz in Denver to see if she has anything.

Thanks for the photos, you are correct that Dr. Diaz is the person to talk with, and I'm sure that she is communicating with CDPHE as well.

For the conference call on 12/3, do you have any agenda items that you would care to see?

I'll be out of the office for the rest of the week, so have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I'll talk to you next week.

Reid

 

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

11/30/2009

Dear Reid,

Thanks for the effort put forth on the website and the upcoming teleconference.  Everyone is looking forward to this update.  After conferring with interested parties, our group and others, here are some agenda items we'd like to see covered on Dec. 3rd:

1.  EPA Activity since previous meeting
       a.      Website
       b.      Accumulation of data from previous rulemaking
       c.      EPA response to request for additional meeting near
Gallup/Grants in conjunction with White Mesa meeting in Blanding
       d.      Any further correspondence between EPA and industry regarding information requests?

2.   Technical Issues
       a.       Describe EPA review teams by subject matter
       b.       Review issues raised by public or industry to date
       c.       1989 Risk Assessment - status of current historical research?
       d.       Existing Technologies - status of current survey?
       e.       Method 115 - status of current research?
       f.          Status of Part 192 review as it applies to Subpart W regulations

3.    EPA Activity before next call.
       a.    Interim reports?
       b.    Bids for contractors?

4.    Define agenda items for next quarterly call, scheduled for January 5, 2010.

Sincerely,

Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

12/01/2009

Subject:                 Re: EPA to Cotter 2-24-09                                

 

Hello Sharyn,

Thanks for the agenda items. I will incorporate them into an agenda, and I hope to have it posted on the web site later today. I have taken all of your suggestions, and I hope to give a brief update on all of the activities you requested. I want to make sure, however, that there is also sufficient time for questions from anyone on the call.  My thinking at this point is that whatever I don't cover on this call can be picked up on the call in January.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

12/21/2009

Subject:                 Need Help                           

 

Reid,

I appreciate your time in reviewing this documentation that I sent you some time ago.  I understand your position on these issues and realized up front that this was not a Subpart W issue.  So thank you for the time you took to read over the MFG Inc. document that I sent you and for your advice on how I should move forward.

Colorado is an agreement state.  The Colorado Department of Health and Environment have done little to assist me here and in fact have been reluctant and defensive, arguing with me about my understanding of the issue.

Today I made two attempts to contact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asking for the names of experts in the NRC who understand the science of radon emissions from mill tailings.  The contacts were via e-mail to their Human Resources Office and their Office of Public Affairs.  I don't feel really confident that either will be able to provide what I am looking for.

I am asking for your help here because you are inside the government and have some understanding of what it is that I need.  Can you help me find an NRC expert who could possibly provide the knowledgeable, hopefully unbiased review of this approach to monitoring and safeguarding the public health and welfare?  Or can you by way of introduction put me in contact with someone who can and will help me find the expertise I am looking for?

As a formally trained engineer with a Masters Degree who spent 32 years working for America's premiere research company, Bell Laboratories, I cannot accept without scientifically justified explanation the fact that radon flux from Cotter's Primary Impoundment increased 230% over a three year period while the radon concentration measurements at the perimeter of the mill property decreased by 30% over the same three year period.  This is illogical, counter intuitive, and highly suspect.  That additional radon went somewhere and to my way of thinking should have been evident in increased radon concentrations at the mill perimeter as a minimum.

We the people of Lincoln Park and greater Canon City cannot control the air we breathe and to a lesser degree, the ground water we drink or irrigate with.  I need resolution to my concern and I need expert help to do that.  Colorado Department of Health and Environment is not that resource.  They are too close, too vested, too seemingly uninterested or unwilling to partnering with me to address this concern.

I believe you to be a reasonable, honest, concerned individual.

Please help me resolve this radon concern by directing me to someone in my government who can help me.

Thank you.

Happy Holidays!

Paul Carestia

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

12/22/2009

Hi Paul,                                   

I have sent your request for someone knowledgeable in radon emissions from mill tailings to one of my contacts at NRC. I'll let you know when I hear something. This is a difficult time of year, because people are in and out of their offices. In fact, after today I'll be out of the office until January 4, 2010.

Happy Holidays to you, Paul.
Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

12/22/2009

Reid,                                                   

Thank you very much.  I truly appreciate your help here more than you will ever realize.

Paul

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/4/2010

Subject: NRC Contact                              

Good Morning Paul,

Here is a contact at NRC for questions related to radon.

Ronald A. Burrows CHP, RRPT
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/4/2010

Reid,                                      
Thank you for the fast response.

Will Mr. Burrows be aware that I am contacting him based upon your referral?  Will he know who I am when he sees an e-mail from me?  I just want to make sure my contact with him is not ignored.

If I understood correctly, you know Mr. Burrows.  Just trying to grease the skids a little.

I hope you and your family had a nice Holiday.

Paul Carestia

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/4/2010

Subject: Re: NRC Contact                

Hi Paul,


Yes, I spoke with Ron and his supervisor to make sure that he is the right person. I copied him on my original note to you, so he is expecting to hear from you.  If he cannot address your radon questions, he promised that he would find someone who could.

Reid
Radiation Protection Division (6608J)


_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/27/2010

Subject:                 Fwd: Status of Request for NRC Help and Guidance                 

Reid,

Need you to see this one too..................I need to know just what is the "nature of my request"? 

You need to know something..............I am the first son of a coal miner who had no more than a 6th grade education before my father made him quit school and go to work in the coal mines.  I am the first grandchild in my family to get a college education.  I have degrees from Colorado State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago.  I got there through hard work, scholastic achievement, determination, and never giving up.............and I will not be giving up on the issues I've brought to you as part of the Subpart W/Method 115 review.............or the issues I've asked and you have kindly agreed to help get resolved with the NRC.........and I am asking you and the NRC, not the state of Colorado, to address my concerns.

Both my mother and my father were diagnosed with cancer.........my mother died at the young age of 58 from brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforma, a word that has never left my mind since first hearing it.  I got to watch her die a very slow, debilitating death.) and my father had prostate cancer, had surgery, was later again diagnosed with it returning as inoperable and terminal.  Had he not tragically died in a car accident, cancer would have taken his life as well.  I try not to think of what's in store for me, having lived all of my childhood life within 1 mile of the Cotter uranium mill during its operating heyday............breathing in the stench from that mill on hot summer nights with my bedroom windows open.............and having no idea what I was exposed to during my waking hours.  There was no history of cancer in my family on my father or mother's sides.  What would you think Reid if this were your situation?  How would you feel?   This mill or any uranium mill should not be in close proximity to people and communities in which they live and breathe!  And I find the methodology used to monitor the radon emanating from this mill to be highly irregular, suspect, and without merit.  And so do radiation scientists with a lot more knowledge and expertise than me.

This is visceral to me............visceral!.......please appreciate that.  If I have to go to senators in Colorado and Washington D.C., I will..........right now I am pissed off...............very upset, very disappointed............and 1000% more determined to get action from those who are accountable to me as a tax payer in the country.

Senator Mark Udall will be visiting the Canon City and the Cotter Mill site in the not too distant future.  I intend to be there when he does and I intend that he become involved in all of this............and I won't give up until he does.

I respectfully ask that my issues get addressed and answered.  I think you'd all would rather be doing this at my request rather than his.

Thank you.

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/27/2010
Subject: Status of Request for NRC Help and Guidance             

Good afternoon, Paul.
We have had a chance to review the details of your request.  As you may know, Colorado is an Agreement State.  As such, due to the nature of your request I have forwarded it to the State of Colorado Radiation Program Manager.  His contact details are as follows:
Steve Tarlton, Manager
Radiation Program
CO Department of Public Health & Environment

Regards,
Ronald A. Burrows

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/27/2010

Paul Carestia


Subject: Re: Status of Request for NRC Help and Guidance               

Ron,

I'd appreciate you expounding on the "nature of my request".  Just what in your eyes IS the nature of my request?

Thanks.

Paul Carestia

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

9/21/2010

Reid Rosnick:                           
 
Thank you for your reply. Kennecott Uranium Company believes that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) draft Public Health Assessment applies directly to Subpart W regulation for the following reasons:

·  40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W regulates radon emissions from tailings impoundments via either the twenty (20) picocurie per meter squared second standard for existing impoundments or the work practices for new impoundments constructed after December 15, 1989.  The goal of this regulation is to reduce exposures and doses to the general public from radon and its decay products from uranium mill tailings impoundments.
·  The draft Public Health Assessment specifically addresses public dose from and exposure to radon and its decay products from a uranium mill tailings impoundment namely Cotter Corporation’s Canon City Mill impoundment.
·  The draft Public Health Assessment states: 
On the other hand, the dose from radon decay products (e.g., lead-210) attached to respirable dust held constant year over year and accounted for an annual inhalation dose of four to seven millirem annually. Radon decay product concentration off-site did not appear to be related to releases from the site. Radon and its decay products appear to be from natural background and do not represent any health threat at the reported concentrations.
· This conclusion has direct bearing on the current effectiveness of 40 CFR part 61 Subpart W, specifically that as it now stands the doses from radon and its decay products from a tailings impoundment (Cotter Corporation’s Canon City impoundment) regulated under 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W do not represent a health threat.
·  This conclusion goes directly to statements made in the lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste, Inc. and Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action specifically the request to “Declare that NESHAP Subpart W allows unsafe and unhealthy levels of radon to be released into the air…”

The above reasons are why Kennecott Uranium Company is requesting that this draft Public Health Assessment be on the agenda for discussion on the Wednesday, October 6, 2010 conference call.
 
Oscar Paulson
 
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

2/16/2011

Dear Mr. Marschke:                              
 
The required environmental data to perform a radon risk assessment for the Sweetwater Uranium Project is either already in the possession of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or publically available.  The following applies to the required data:
 

 
I am traveling this week and will return to the site on Tuesday, February 21, 2011.  I would like to work with you upon my return to ensure that the risk assessment completed for the Sweetwater Uranium Project is based upon actual site conditions and measurements.  Should you have any questions please call me at that time.
 
Oscar Paulson
 
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

9/13/2010

Reid Rosnick:                                     
 
The following:
 

 
Oscar Paulson
 
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

6/3/2010

Reid:                           
 
The following pertains to the S. Cohen and Associates report entitled:
 
Final Report Review of Existing and Proposed Tailings Impoundment Technologies
 
It lists only three (3) extant convention uranium mills in the United States (Sweetwater, Canon City and White Mesa).  It fails to list the Tickaboo Mill and tailings impoundment owned by Uranium One. It incorrectly lists the owner of the White Mesa mill as UMETCO when in fact the owner is Denison Mines.

Table I from the report is below:

Table 3 from the report is shown below:

 

Activity

Percentage

Slimes:

353 picoCuries/gram

29%

Sand:

207 picoCuries/gram

71%

Weighted Average:

249 picoCuries/gram

100%

 
The above information pertains specifically to the three (3) items that were raised following your presentation.  In addition, other discrepancies were noted in the report.  The following are two (2) such items:
 
The document discusses Radon-222 source terms for in-situ uranium recovery.  It discusses Radon-222 releases from mud pits and uses the variable   [Ra] which is defined as Ra-226 concentration in the ore zone (pCi/g).  The mud pit contains cuttings from the entire bore hole not just from the ore zone.  The actual thickness of the ore zone is a fraction of the depth of the entire hole, thus the cuttings from the ore zone would be diluted with cuttings with substantially lower radium-226 activity from above the ore zone.  In a typical 500 foot deep bore hole only ten (10) feet of it would be in an actual ore zone.  Cuttings from the ore zone would only represent 2% of the total cuttings mass.  Use of the Radium-226 activity of the ore zone to describe the activity of the entire drill cuttings mass is incorrect.
 
Table 4 lists the following operating in-situ uranium recovery operations:  
 
It lists Hydro Resources, Inc. Crownpoint and Churchrock facilities as operating, which they are not. In addition, I believe that Uranium Resources, Inc’s Kingsville Dome and Vasquez Projects are currently not operating.
 
If you have any questions or require additional data please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
Oscar Paulson
 
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

10/1/2010

Mr. Rosnick                           
 
The Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) is very concerned about claims that uranium mining and processing may contribute to health impairment from the release of radon from uranium processing facilities.  WMA would like to draw your attention to the attached report entitled Public Health Assessment for  LINCOLN PARK/COTTER URANIUM MILLCAÑON CITY, FREMONT COUNTY, COLORADO EPA FACILITY ID: COD042167585 SEPTEMBER 9, 2010.   In summary the study  concludes that ambient air emissions of particle bound radionuclides have not resulted in exposures to the public at levels that could cause adverse health outcomes.   The ATSDR looked at all of the air data collected from 1979 to present related to Cotter Corporation’s Canon City Mill and concluded that outdoor concentration of radon contributed zero dust to the public, because it is a noble gas and does not stay in the lungs long enough to radioactively decay. 
I understand that there will be a conference call on October 6 to discuss 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W which deals with this issue.  WMA requests that this study be on the agenda for discussion during that conference call.
 
Thank you.
 
Marion Loomis

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/6/2011

Dear Mr. Rosnick,      

I note that the Subpart W review documents on the Subpart W Rulemaking Activity Website in the Historical Rulemakings section includes the Draft EIS for the Proposed Radionuclides rulemaking, dated February 1989.  However, this is only Volume 1 of a 3-volume draft EIS.

I request that the all 3 volumes of the Final EIS, September 1989, be placed with the Historical Rulemakings documents.

Sarah Fields
Uranium Watch

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/6/2011

Hello Reid,                             

During this morning's conference call re the Subpart W review, Cotter stated that they had not received any request for information from the EPA.

Cotter was sent a letter in 2009 asking them for information; at least a letter that is addressed to them  is on the Subpart W Review website:


Uranium Cotter Test (PDF)

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________


Sarah Fields
Uranium Watch

On Jan 7, 2011, at 6:28 AM, Rosnick.Reid@epamail.epa.gov wrote:

Hello Sarah,

You are correct that Cotter was sent a letter in 2009. That letter was an information request from our enforcement office, and asked for a number of items that are related to our discussion from Wednesday. However, the debate on Wednesday was focused on whether our contractor, in preparing the risk assessment draft document within the last 2 months, contacted Cotter for real-time radon flux data, as well as meteorological data specific to the Canon City area. As we discussed on Wednesday, most of that data is available on-line at NRC's ADAMS website. I am waiting for confirmation from the contractor on exactly how they obtained the Cotter data.

Separately, I saw that there was a BLM/USFS public meeting last night regarding the plan of operations amendment for the expansion of the LaSal mine. I would be interested in your take on the meeting. Thank you.

Reid

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

1/8/2011

Reid,                     

The BLM/USFS Meeting on the expansion of the La Sal Mine is on January 13.  I will not be there.  I had already made plans to go to Denver for the NRC uranium recovery workshop long before the BLM announced the scoping meeting in La Sal.

There are a number of outstanding issues related to the La Sal Mines, including Subpart B compliance.

Sarah

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

7/7/2011

Reid,                               
 
During our conference in April, heap leach was brought up.  I thought you might be interested in knowing that Cotter sent a letter on June 17th to CDPHE announcing that they will be constructing a heap leach operation on top of their Secondary Impoundment.  The letter is available here:
 
http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/cotter/letterfromcotter/110617strategy.pdf (link no longer works)
 
Sharyn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sharyn Cunningham
CCAT Co-Chair
RMC Sierra Club Uranium Milling-Mining Specialist

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

4/6/2012

Dear Mr. Rosnick,      

Another issue that I failed to mention yesterday with respect the Subpart W rulemaking is the gapping regulatory hole when it comes to uranium mill
tailings impoundments after they cease to be operational and, according to current EPA regulation, are no longer subject to the Subpart W flux
standard.  (For now, we'll just ignore the issues regarding exactly when that point in the life of a tailings impoundment occurs.)

My understanding is that one operation ceases and the closure period commences there is no radon flux standard.  My understanding is that
at the time the closure period commences  there must be a closure plan and reclamation milestones that have been approved by the State or
NRC.

The problem is, as stated in the 1989 Subpart W final rule:

"EPA recognizes that the risks from mill tailings piles can increase dramatically if they are dry and uncovered can be seen in the proposed rule, 54 FR  
9645. That analysis assumed that the piles were dry and uncovered and the risks were as high as 3 x 10 (to the -3) with 1.6 fatal cancers per year."  The  
EPA than assumes that the piles will be wet or covered, then be "disposed of."

The problem is that during the "closure" or "disposal" period tailings impoundments dry out more and, in fact, interim soil covers interfere with the  
drying and settling processes.  Apparently, this is happening at the White Mesa Mill. Even now, I believe that the estimate of time for the drying/settling  
process for Cells 2 and 3 at White Mesa is 10 years.  That may be a minimal estimate. So whether an older cell with a radon flux standard or a newer 40-acre cell, there can be a period of time when radon emissions and potential for dispersal of radioactive particulates increases.  Yet, there is no
flux standard during this period, unless the period goes beyond the established reclamation milestone for the final radon barrier.

This is something the EPA Subpart W changes must address.

Also, there are proposals for open pit uranium mines near uranium recovery operations.  With the EPA failure to establish a radon standard for
surface uranium mines, you would have a regulated NESHAP facility next to one where the EPA has fallen short of its regulatory responsibility.

Also, remember the FOIA response where you asked for me to agree to an extension of time for EPA response.?

Do you think that I ever got a response to that FOIA after the EPA sent me the letter of October 12, 2011?  Did you ever check on that?

Well, I never did get the FOIA response.  This does not surprise me.

I have good reason to be frustrated at the EPA, and the State of Utah's radioactive NESHAP program.

Sarah Fields
Program Director
Uranium Watch
PO Box 344
Moab, Utah 84532
435-259-9450

_____________________________________________End of Email_________________________________________________________________________

4/11/2012

Dear Ms. Fields,                          

Thank you for your comments. I will have them posted in the email section of the Subpart W website.

Regarding your comments on the FOIA, on October 18, 2011 you sent an email to me stating that you would like to proceed with the FOIA, but you were going to update the request to cover documents after the FOIA was submitted. We never received your request for the update. If you sent something to our FOIA office please forward it to me so we can track the breakdown in communications. Thank you.

Reid

Subject: Non-regulation of Open Pit Uranium Mines Under the NESHAPs

04/04/2013

 

Reid Rosnick:

 

As a follow-up to the conference call, please see the excerpt below from the Friday, December 15, 1989 – Final Rule 40 CFR Part 61 – National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants; Radionuclides; Final Rule and Notice of Reconsideration (Federal Register Volume 54, Number 240 Friday, December 15, 1989 Page 51678):

3. Application of Decision Methodology to Surface Uranium Mine Source Category
The decision that results from the application of the multifactor approach to the surface uranium mine source category is described below.
Decision on Acceptable Risk.  As stated earlier the maximum individual risk to any individual is  5x10-5 which is lower than the benchmark of approximately 1x10-4.  The estimated annual incidence within 80 km is 0.026 fatal cancers per year.  In addition, only 24,000 people out of 30 million (<0.1 percent) are exposed to risks greater than 1x10-6.  Based on these factors EPA concludes that the baseline risk is acceptable.

The agency concluded in 1989 that the baseline risk from open pit uranium mines is acceptable.

Oscar  Paulson
Facility Supervisor
Kennecott Uranium Company
Sweetwater Uranium Project

 

Subject: Hazardous Materials and Waste Management - 2013 Cotter Corporation Lincoln Park Superfund Site Documents

04/04/2013

Abnormal and increasing radon at Cotter.

March 1          2nd Half 2012 Semiannual Effluent Report 

2nd Half 2012 Semiannual Performance Criteria Report     

1st Half 2012 Semiannual Effluent Report Supplement 

 

http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=CDPHE-HM%2FCBONLayout&cid=1251638999402&pagename=CBONWrapper

Travis E. Stills

Energy & Conservation Law 
Subject: White Mesa Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundment Compliance

08/22/2013

Dear Ms. Fields,

An exemption to the NESHAP Subpart W has not been granted by the EPA for the White Mesa Mill.  As discussed, Appendix B to Part 61, Method 115 - Monitoring for Radon-222 Emissions, specifies that for water covered areas, no radon flux measurements are required since radon flux is assumed to be zero from the ponds. Since there would be no calculated health impacts from the additional impoundments being used as holding ponds, the EPA-Region 8 does not plan to pursue enforcement at this time.

The proposed subpart W rulemaking process will address the definition of when final closure has commenced for an impoundment, as the current rule is silent on this definition.  The proposed rule is due out by the end of this year (2013).

Feel free to contact me with any further questions or comments.

Thanks,

 

Scott Patefield, Environmental Scientist Air and Toxics Technical Enforcement Program


Subject: Re: White Mesa Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundment Compliance

Dear Mr. Patefield,

One thing you did not mention was the use of Roberts Pond for processing waste.  I do not see that the mill licensee requested a permit to construct Roberts Pond, pursuant to 40 CFR §61.07, or (if the pond was constructed prior to 1990) provided the EPA with information required for existing sources, pursuant to § 61.10.

According to the information you provided, the EPA, apparently, feels that compliance with the Subpart W NESHAP standard is not really required for the operation of a uranium mill.

According to your message below, the EPA agrees that the White Mesa Mill is currently out
of compliance with the limitations on the number of impoundments.  
However, the EPA does not
intend to enforce this Subpart W standard at this time.  Therefore, the EPA has granted the White Mesa Mill an exemption from the Subpart W standard.

Please provide me with a citation for the EPA statute or regulation that provides for exemptions from EPA NESHAP standards.

Also, please provide me with information regarding the regulation or policy that describes the process for obtaining an exemption from a NESHAP standard on the part of the permittee and the describes the EPA decision making process for granting such exemptions.  How, exactly, are exemptions from the Clean Air Act granted?

Also, attached is a report on the regulatory confusion associated with the EPA and Utah Div. of Air Quality implementation and enforcement of Subpart W.

Sincerely,

Sarah Fields
Director
Uranium Watch

Subject: re: Follow Up of Today's Subpart W Conference Call

October 17, 2013

Hi Sarah –

I cited Clean Air Act (CAA) section 307 not as support for why EPA is not required to comply with NEPA when taking action under the CAA; instead, I cited CAA section 307 as applicable to the public notice and comment process we were discussing on the call today.

Section 7(c) of the Energy Supply and Environmental Coordination Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C. 793(c)(1)) exempts actions under the Clean Air Act from the requirements of NEPA.  Section 793(c)(1) states: “No action taken under the Clean Air Act shall be deemed a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (83 Stat. 856) [42 USCS §§ 4321 et seq.].”  This is why EPA is not required to conduct a NEPA analysis for this Subpart W rulemaking.

I see that EPA issued a DEIS for the 1989 radionuclide rules, but I do not see a final EIS for those rules. I don’t know whether that document was prepared for NEPA purposes, or whether it was prepared for other analytical purposes.  The document itself does not indicate that it was for NEPA compliance purposes.  It may be that EPA prepared that document for other analytical purposes, I just don’t know.  Regardless of the reasons for that document back in 1989, EPA does not have a legal obligation to prepare those documents for NEPA compliance purposes for this Subpart W rulemaking.  However, please note that EPA is preparing the requisite background documents for this rulemaking and those will be available for public review and comment when we publish the proposal for public notice and comment.

The analyses required under CAA section 312 is a “comprehensive analysis” of all EPA rules issued under the CAA prior to November 15, 1990.  According to section 312(d), that report was due to Congress back in 1991.  Thus, I do not believe section 312 is applicable to this rulemaking.  However, please understand that EPA is preparing the appropriate cost and benefit analyses for this rulemaking as required by other statutes and Executive Orders, and those analyses will be available for your review once we publish the proposal.

The opportunity you note for oral presentations in CAA section 307(d)(5) will be addressed in the proposed rule.  In the proposal, we will specifically offer the public the opportunity to request a public hearing on the proposed rule.  If we receive such a request, we will hold a public hearing, and the public will have the opportunity to make oral presentations at that public hearing.  More details on this process will be contained in the proposal.

I hope this answers your questions.

Susan Stahle
EPA/OGC/ARLO

Subject: Follow Up of Today's Subpart W Conference Call

Dear Ms. Stahle,

As a follow up of this mornings Subpart W Review conference call, I
would like some additional information.

In response to my question regarding the NEPA review for the proposed
rule, you stated that the EPA Clean Air Act rulemakings are exempted from 
NEPA. citing Section 307.  I looked at Section 307 of the Clean Air
Act and could not find any indication of such an exemption.  

However, Section 312, appears to require an analysis on the impacts
to public health, economy, and the environment for a Subpart W
rulemaking.

Considering the fact that the EPA produced an Environmental Impact
Statement for the promulgation of the Radionuclide NESHAPS in 
1989, I assumed that the EPA would supplement that EIS for 
this proposed amendment to Radionuclide NESHAPS regulations.
I must have missed something.

Please point me to the exact section and subsection that exempts
this Subpart W rulemaking from any NEPA analysis.  Please explain
why there was an EIS in 1989, but the EPA is not supplementing
that EIS for this rulemaking.

I did see in Section 307 that the EPA is required to make the
documents related to the OMB and inter-agency consultation available
on the docket prior to the release of the Proposed Rule.  
Section 307(d)(4)(B)(ii).  The availability of these documents was
discussed in today's call.

Also, I see that the EPA "shall give interested persons an opportunity
for the oral presentation of data, views, or arguments, in addition to
an opportunity to make written submissions."  Section 307(d)(5). 
That opportunity has not been mentioned in the conference calls.  I would be
helpful to know how the EPA will be providing opportunities for oral
presentations in this Subpart W rulemaking.

Thank you,

Sarah Fields
Program Director
Uranium Watch


Top of page

 


Local Navigation

Radiation Home

Jump to main content.