EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
EPA's Region 6 News and Events
EPA Announces Camp Minden Remedy Can Move Forward
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with provisions of the Camp Minden Administrative Order, has notified the Louisiana Military Department that the Agency will not exercise its right to disapprove any or all contractors and/or subcontractors outlined in the state’s April 14 recommendation for the alternative disposal of materials at Camp Minden. EPA continues to support an alternative technology for disposal and is quickly working to conclude efforts necessary in helping the state finalize its plans.
“This action is another important next step in fulfilling our promise to the community to clear the way for an alternative technology to dispose of the materials abandoned by Explo and left deteriorating at the site,” said Ron Curry, EPA regional administrator. “We are extremely pleased that the state carefully considered the Dialogue Committee’s input in their review of vendors and final recommendation.”
LMD recommended Explosive Service International and their Contained Burn method of disposal be utilized for the disposal of the approximately 15 million pounds of M6 Propellant and 320,000 pounds Clean Burning Igniter. The recommendation includes accepting the advanced air pollution control options to maximize safety and flexibility in handling the rapidly decomposing materials and deteriorating storage and packaging materials. The EPA completed an extensive review of the state’s recommendation with the safety of the public as our most important consideration. The next deadline requires LMD to submit detailed work plans for conducing the disposal 30 days after they issue a notice to proceed or contract award whichever is earlier.
EPA Administrator Visits Children’s Health Group in Dallas
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy recently visited health professionals working to address childhood asthma in the Dallas area. With 60,000 children in Dallas County diagnosed with asthma, the disease represents a significant public health issue for the area.
“Preventing childhood asthma attacks takes research, education, and outreach, with a strong network of partners to make it happen,” said Administrator McCarthy. “By working together we can reduce exposure to triggers and improve the health of children everywhere.”
The Health and Wellness Alliance for Children, at Children’s Health, has made asthma education and prevention a priority. The Alliance has convened a group of 25 local organizations from many sectors to improve the overall health and well-being of children in the Dallas area. EPA works with the group to raise awareness of the link between health and housing, using the agency’s Healthy Homes principles. EPA has also collaborated with the Alliance on housing-related training events for code inspectors, hospital staff, case workers and legal professionals.
Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects almost 25 million Americans, including about 7 million children. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, it can be controlled through medical treatment and managing environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans on how the environment can affect asthma patients and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.
Whitewright, Texas to Receive $200,000 from EPA to Revitalize Business District
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of the City of Whitewright, Texas to receive $200,000 to plan redevelopment and revitalization for the city’s business district. The city will partner with the Texoma Council of Governments to carry out the program as part of the Brownfields Area-wide Planning program.
“Sustainability and resiliency become increasingly important to cities as they grow and as they adapt to the impacts of climate change,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “The ability to leverage existing infrastructure is critical to improving access to affordable housing, more transportation options and lowering transportation cost while protecting the environment.”
The City and Texoma Council of Governments will work with the local community and stakeholders to develop an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for addressing numerous sites located within the city's industrial center.
Nationwide, 20 communities will receive EPA grants totaling $4 million in brownfield funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfields sites.
EPA Proposing Plan to Address Regional Haze for the State of Arkansas
This proposal establishes interim goals for the Clean Air Act to improve visibility. The goals are to improve existing conditions and to prevent future problems related to man-made air pollution in certain national parks and wilderness areas.
The Clean Air Act requires that states have adequate provisions to meet “good neighbor” requirements. These requirements ensure fairness and prohibit in-state emissions from interfering with visibility and health-based air quality standards in downwind states. This proposed Federal Implementation Plan and the portion of the Arkansas regional haze State Implementation Plan that we approved on March 12, 2012, together would ensure that progress is made toward natural visibility conditions at these Class I areas.
The proposal was signed on March 6 and will take 7-10 days to be published in the Federal Register. All public comments must be received on or before May 16, 2015.
On October 15, 2012, one of 97 storage bunkers at the Camp Minden site near Minden, Louisiana exploded prompting investigations by the EPA, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana State Police, and other responders. The explosion shattered windows in the City of Minden, Louisiana (approximately 4 miles to the northeast), and generated a 7,000-foot mushroom cloud. Explo Systems was under contract with the Department of Army to demilitarize surplus munitions. The State Police found 15 million pounds of unsecured M6 propellant improperly stored outside of the bunkers and 8 million pounds of a variety of other explosives improperly stored inside bunkers.
The State Police directed Explo Systems, Inc., to temporarily secure the M6 in available bunkers. This was completed in May 2013. In August 2013, Explo Systems Inc. declared bankruptcy and the Louisiana National Guard took ownership of the explosives at the site. EPA initiated negotiations with all potential responsible parties to eliminate the risks posed by the 15 million pounds of M6 and other explosives.
The Army Explosive Safety Board advised that the deterioration of the remaining 15 million pounds of M6 propellant and other materials could greatly increase the risk of explosion over time. EPA recognizes that the legal negotiations that led to the current remedy approach and to the Administrative Settlement Agreement between Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, EPA and the Department of Army did not provide the opportunity for public comment. It is very clear that elected officials and the public want to be involved in examining alternative remedies.
On January 28, EPA announced its willingness to address community ideas and suggestions on alternatives to address dangerous conditions at Camp Minden. A Dialogue Committee made up of citizens, community leaders, local representatives and state officials was established to review alternatives.
On March 24, EPA released the latest Department of Army technical assistance visit report to the public. The visit was requested by Louisiana Military Department after discovering condensation inside one of the magazines storing materials at Camp Minden. The assistance visit of the Clean Burning Igniters and M6 propellant was completed from March 9 to 11, 2015.
EPA Issues Albuquerque-Area Permit to Protect Rio Grande River
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the Middle Rio Grande Watershed Based Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit that establishes requirements to reduce pollution carried by stormwater run-off and restore portions of the Middle Rio Grande River that are too polluted.
“As a New Mexican, I understand water is a vital resource in our state,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “It is important that we take steps to improve water quality in the Rio Grande River and continue to replenish the groundwater that so many New Mexicans depend on for their drinking water.”
New Mexico is only one of four states where EPA is solely responsible for issuing permits under the federal Clean Water Act. New Mexico has approximately 135 wastewater and stormwater facilities that operate under individual permits issued by EPA. About 1300 dischargers operate under general permits issued by EPA.
EPA announces proposed action to reduce harmful emissions of sulfur dioxide and improve visibility in Texas and Oklahoma
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed action to reduce harmful emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) to improve visibility at some of Texas' and Oklahoma's most treasured parks and wilderness areas. After a thorough review, EPA has proposed to partially approve and partially disapprove the state of Texas’ regional haze plan intended to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements for improving visibility and reducing haze in the nation’s national parks and wilderness areas. After being published in the Federal Register, the proposed plan will be open to a 60-day public comment period. EPA will also hold a public hearing in Austin on January 13, 2015, and one in Oklahoma City on January 15, 2015.
Oklahoma will also benefit from this action to control pollution from Texas facilities and will achieve visibility improvements faster than the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) proposed in their rate of progress plan for visibility improvements for reducing regional haze impacts in the Wichita Mountains. There are no Oklahoma facilities affected by this action.
EPA approves GHG permitting program in Texas
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the State of Texas program to issue greenhouse gas (GHG) permits for new and modified facilities. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has worked closely with EPA and submitted a state implementation plan for GHG permits to replace the existing federal program. EPA announced both its approval of the state implementation plan (SIP) and the rescinding of the federal implementation plan (FIP) making the TCEQ the primary GHG permitting authority in Texas.
The TCEQ worked closely with EPA to write federal GHG permits over the past months through a work-share agreement. Today’s action eliminates the need for businesses to seek air permits from two separate regulatory agencies in Texas and moves the permitting program to TCEQ. EPA and TCEQ will continue to work closely with pending permit applicants during the transition period and ensure no unnecessary project delays result from this action. The authority for Texas to issue air permits for new or modified GHG pollution sources will become effective upon publication of the final SIP approval and the FIP withdrawal in the Federal Register. Publication in the Federal Register typically takes seven to 10 days following signature.
Since January 2, 2011, projects in Texas that increase GHG emissions substantially required an air permit from the EPA. In Texas alone, EPA has received 83 GHG permit applications from businesses since 2011. Texas is No. 1 in the country for receiving EPA-issued GHG permits – with over 50 permits being issued by EPA. Of the 189 GHG permits issued nationwide, EPA has completed 61 and the states have issued 128 permits.
EPA Finalizes 50th Greenhouse Gas Permit in Texas
Federal greenhouse gas permits issued for projects creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development in Texas
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the final approval of the 50th greenhouse gas permit in Texas. In Texas alone, EPA has received 83 greenhouse gas permit applications from businesses since 2011. Texas is No. 1 in the country for receiving EPA-issued greenhouse gas permits for projects totaling well over $24 billion and creating over 20,000 construction jobs in the state.
“A major milestone in the work EPA has done with businesses and the state of Texas to ensure our economy continues to thrive while promoting cleaner, more efficient energy production and use,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “We share our success with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality TCEQ and the joint permitting program our agencies started last year to process business’ applications for permits.”
Of the 189 greenhouse gas permits issued nationwide, EPA has issued 61 and the states have issued 128. EPA has finalized 50 greenhouse gas permits in Texas, proposed an additional four permits, and currently has 11 additional greenhouse gas permit applications under development in Texas.
What you can do about Climate Change
Driving a car, using electricity to light and heat your home, and throwing away garbage all lead to greenhouse gas emissions. You can reduce emissions through simple actions like changing a light bulb, powering down electronics, using less water, and recycling. There are more than 25 easy steps you can take at Home, School, the Office, and On the Road to protect the climate, reduce air pollution, and save money. Take action today! Small steps add up, if we all do our part.