Envirobytes - Archive
EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending April 17, 2009
FORT MEADE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CENTER CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE (1999-2009)
An April 14 ceremony led by former EPA Administrator Jackson celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Fort Meade Environmental Science Center and the contributions it has made to the well being of the nation and region. Since 1999, the center and its chemistry, biology and microbiology laboratories have assisted in various national emergencies: the Capitol Hill anthrax removal action, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the 9/11 Pentagon response, and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster. For EPA, the center has analyzed air, water and soil samples in support of Superfund and drinking water programs and provided scientific evidence against polluters. For more information about the center, go to http://www.epa.gov/region03/esc/index.htm
EPA CELEBRATES SCIENCE'S ROLE AS GUIDE TO ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
EPA joined with COPUS (a grassroots network to engage the public in science) to celebrate The Year of Science 2009. To EPA, science is important and the public should know how science works in regards to environmental protection. President Obama stated that science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions on public health, environmental protection, the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and national security. To former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, scientific decisions should reflect the agency's scientists and independent advisers' expert judgment. Region 3 is working with headquarters to promote sound science and scientific integrity as the basis for EPA's work. To learn more about COPUS, Year of Science activities and EPA's public events during the Year of Science, go to http://www.epa.gov/yearofscience/ and the Year of Science 2009 web site.
STIMULUS FUNDS ADVANCE CLEANUP OF NATION'S MOST POLLUTED SITES; FOUR LOCAL SITES TO BENEFIT
EPA announced $600 million in Recovery Act funds to accelerate the cleanup and revitalization of the nation's 50 most toxic Superfund/hazardous waste sites. Four mid-Atlantic region sites will receive up to $5 million each for actions to rehabilitate the sites, to protect human health and to create jobs. The funds will help the Havertown PCP Superfund site – Havertown, Pa. address groundwater contamination from wood treatment wastes (PCPs) to protect Naylor Run stream; the Atlantic Wood Industries Superfund site – Portsmouth, Va. will address ground water, and the Elizabeth River bottom contamination with the wood preservative (creosote); Standard Chlorine – New Castle, Del. will address ground water chlorobenzene contamination from massive chemical spills; and the Crossley Farm – Huff's Church, Pa. site will address groundwater contamination from TCE-laden industrial wastes.
For details on all 50 Superfund sites, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/sites.html
For Superfund program information, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/
EPA TESTS PESTICIDES SUSPECTED OF HARMING HEALTH THROUGH ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION
EPA issued a list of pesticides to be screened for their tendencies to disrupt endocrine system hormones that regulate human growth, metabolism and reproduction. The pesticide chemicals to be tested were selected for their high potential to human exposure through food and water, agricultural pesticide application or other activities. "Endocrine disruptors can cause lifelong health problems -- especially for children," said former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Gathering this information will help us work with communities and industry to protect Americans from harmful exposure." This summer, EPA will issue test orders to 67 manufacturers of pesticide chemicals to determine if their chemicals disrupt the endocrine systems, and will eventually cover all pesticide chemicals. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/scipoly/oscpendo
DAILY OZONE REPORTS HELP NOTIFY THE PUBLIC ON AIR QUALITY
Air monitors nationwide have begun recording and reporting on ground-level ozone levels to make the public (especially asthmatics and other vulnerable populations) aware of unhealthy air quality. The AQI tells you how clean the air is, how existing air quality may affect human health and when to prepare for days with poor air quality through a color code. The 'green' color forecast signals a good day to engage in outdoor activities, whereas a 'red' ozone action day signals caution if outdoors. ‘Ozone action days' signal that the AQI is getting into the unhealthy ranges. Purple and maroon levels are rare. To subscribe to daily forecasts, and to access daily forecasts for more than 300 cities, go to http://www.airnow.gov/.
REGION 3-BASED FACILITIES TO BENEFIT FROM INVISTA SELF AUDIT SETTLEMENT
EPA announced that Invista (a multi-national manufacturer of a wide range of polymer-based fibers, including Lycra, Stainmaster, and Coolmax) will pay a $1.7 million civil penalty settlement under EPA's audit policy. Invista will spend an estimated $500 million to correct self-reported environmental violations discovered at facilities in seven states (including Seaford, Del. and Waynesboro, Va. in Region 3). The audit policy encourages companies to voluntarily discover, disclose, and correct environmental violations and prevent future violations. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
For settlement information, go to http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/mm/invista.html.
For more information on EPA's Audit Policy: Tailored Incentives for New Owners, go to http://www.epa.gov/compliance/incentives/auditing/newowners-incentives.html
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