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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

EPA's Region 6 News and Events

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Earth Day Nature Selfies Photo Project: Go outside and take a #natureselfie!

EPA and The Nature Conservancy are partnering on a photo project during April. We encourage everyone to show their love of nature by taking their very own #natureselfie photo!

It’s easy to do:

  • Go out to a nearby park or garden and take a picture of your favorite tree, flower, or other blooming plant.
  • Contribute to our collaborative photo album by uploading your picture to the “Earth Day NatureSelfies” Group on FlickrLink to EPA's External Link Disclaimer
  • Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #natureselfie. If you can include the location in your photo caption or tweet, that would be great.
  • Make your #natureselfie your profile picture for the week to share your support for protecting the planet.

Be part of this fun activity and encourage your friends and family to participate. We will be sharing our favorite pictures on Facebook and Twitter.

The goal of this project is to get people outside on Earth Day to connect with nature and share your love for our beautiful planet. Our plan is to have this project continue in future years where participants can return to the same tree, flower or blooming plant a year later and take another photo of it. Changes in blooming patterns could be examined and may have a connection to climate change.

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EPA and Texas work together on first joint Greenhouse Gas Permit in Texas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final greenhouse gas permit (GHG) to Equistar Chemicals, Corpus Christi, Texas. The permit is the first to be drafted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and issued by EPA under a program to help to improve permitting efficiency and productivity for applicants in the State of Texas.

“The joint permitting program we have developed with TCEQ is helping Texas business and keeps a keen eye on protecting the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “This permit will help build the next generation of olefins plants with better controls of greenhouse gas emissions as well as help grow a more sustainable clean energy economy. We are very pleased with our shared success.”

Dallas and Houston Top Cities to Cut Energy with Efficient Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its sixth annual list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY Star certified buildings. Dallas placed seventh and Houston placed tenth. Both cities have achieved economic and environmental benefits by facility owners and managers applying energy efficiency to their buildings.

Energy Star labeled buildings in Texas achieved significant reductions in their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. These buildings represent more than 166 million square feet and save more than $133 million annually in energy costs while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions of 125,415 homes a year.

EPA Honors Fourteen Region 6 Organizations and Companies as ENERGY Star Partners of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy are honoring 14 organizations and companies in Region 6 for their commitment to protecting the environment through greater energy efficiency.

“EPA applauds this year’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award winners, who have demonstrated innovative strategies to help their customers, partners and stakeholders save energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Their commitment to saving energy helps fight climate change while also helping their bottom line.”

The winners were selected from 16,000 ENERGY Star partners, including manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, and home builders, for their dedication to protecting the environment through greater energy efficiency.

Press Releases:

EPA Regional Administrator, Ron Curry speaks at Waters of the U.S. event on Trinity River

EPA Announces Proposal to Bring Clearer Protection for Clean Water

EPA Regional Administrator, Ron Curry, joined Environment Texas and members of the environmental and business community to talk about protections for the Trinity River watershed. The Trinity is just one of the important watersheds used for drinking water and recreation that can be positively impacted by EPA’s proposal to clarify Waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act.

“Science shows us that interconnecting wetlands and streams are vital to well-being downstream,” said Regional Administrator Curry. “Our proposal will smooth out wrinkles in the existing law; it does not add to or expand the scope of waters historically protected under the Clean Water Act. In the end—this will save us time, keep money in our pockets, cut red tape, give certainty to business, and help fulfill the Clean Water Act’s original promise: to make America’s waters “fishable and swimmable” for everyone.”

EPA Issues Order to Army to Address Abandoned Explosives

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to the U.S. Department of the Army to address 15 million pounds of abandoned explosives and propellant stored on the grounds of Camp Minden in Minden, LA.

The site, in Northwestern Louisiana, has been owned and operated by the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Military Department since 2005. A private company under contract with the U.S. Army had been using the site to improperly store unused explosives and propellant. As the material ages, it becomes more unstable, increasing the chances of an uncontrolled explosion.

EPA’s order finds the Army to have contributed to the illegal storage and handling of the waste explosives, thereby creating an imminent and substantial endangerment of public health and the environment. After receiving the order, the Army must submit a plan for disposing of the material to EPA. The plan must include extensive safety measures for disposal workers and the surrounding area. The order also requires the Army to plan for the health and safety of the local community during and after the cleanup.

EPA Improves U.S. — Mexico Border with Environmental Projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $720,000 in grants to fund 16 environmental projects along the Texas and New Mexico U.S.-Mexico border. The projects include improving air monitoring, expanding waste collection and recycling, and improving environmental awareness and education among area residents.

“At EPA, we are always looking for ways to help communities identify and solve problems. It’s one of the most important parts of our job,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Funding these 16 projects will help kick-start work to protect places along the border where people live, work, and play.”

The funds were awarded in partnership with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, under the bi-national U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program, Border 2020. The projects selected address the public health and environmental protection goals of the Border 2020 Program and are part of the overall environmental funding available for the border region.

EPA Withdraws Federal Plan and Approves Oklahoma’s Air Plan for Public Service Company of Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the approval of Oklahoma’s state clean-air plan to control regional haze from the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). The state’s plan is a result of the April 2012 agreement between EPA, Oklahoma and PSO to both reduce pollution and protect Oklahoma consumers and ratepayers. The approval and the withdrawal of the Federal Implimentation Plan will be published in the Federal Register in 7 to 10 days. Both final rules will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

EPA serves on NCAA Final Four Sustainability Committee

On April 5-7, 2014, the NCAA Final Four will be hosted in Arlington, Texas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 6 Office and representatives from the NCAA, Big 12 Conference, Coca-Cola, AT&T Stadium, Dallas Convention Center, City of Dallas, and City of Arlington has been asked to serve on the local organizing committee’s Sustainability Team. EPA is tasked with organizing Educational Outreach and Food Recovery for the event. During the event EPA will work with the non-profit Rock and Wrap It Up! to facilitate food recovery at AT&T Stadium and the Dallas Convention Center during the events.

Recycling food scraps is good for the environment and great for business! Reducing, recovering, and recycling food waste at sporting events decreases its environmental impacts by producing less waste; consuming less energy; and reducing emissions. As part of the Green Sports initiative, EPA works regularly with sports venues, organizations and teams to address environmental challenges.

EPA Adds Three Region 6 Locations to the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added three locations to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. The three sites are the Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine in Laguna Pueblo in Cibola County, NM; the Wilcox Oil Company site in Creek County, Oklahoma and the MacMillan Ring-Free Oil site in Union County, Arkansas.

The National Priorities List of Superfund sites is a list of sites that pose risks to people’s health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. Since 1983, EPA has listed 1,694 sites on the National Priorities List.

More information about the National Priorities List.

News releases:

EPA Finalizes Approval of Public Participation Rules in Texas’ Clean-Air Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved Texas’ clean-air plan that covers public notification requirements for facilities applying for air permits. The revised plan gives citizens additional opportunities to comment on applications for air permits for new facilities and modifications to existing facilities.

Citizens will be notified when a facility applies for a permit and after Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) proposes a draft permit. Facilities will also have to provide expanded technical documents to ensure citizens and interested groups have as much information as possible on proposed permits.

In seven to ten days, this action will be published in the Federal Register. The rule will become effective 30 days following that publication date. A PDF of the signed notice is available below.

City of Shreveport Agrees to $342 Million Sewer System Upgrade to Comply with Clean Water Act

The city of Shreveport, La., has agreed to make significant upgrades to reduce overflows from its sanitary sewer system and pay a $650,000 civil penalty to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) violations stemming from illegal discharges of raw sewage, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The state of Louisiana, a co-plaintiff in this case, will receive half of the civil penalty.

When wastewater systems overflow, they can release raw sewage and other pollutants, threatening water quality and potentially contributing to disease outbreaks. To come into compliance with the CWA, the city estimates it will spend approximately $342 million over the next 12 years in order to improve the sewer system’s condition. While the city upgrades the system, it will also implement a program for capacity management, operation, and maintenance to help reduce sanitary sewer overflows.

Shreveport Plant Installs Fence-line Monitors to Safeguard Workers and Local Community

Calumet Shreveport Lubricant and Waxes, L.L.C., plant will expand a fence-line monitoring system to increase awareness of toxic air releases. The crude refinery and petroleum products facility will also pay a civil penalty of $326,000 to settle nine violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program uncovered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Under the settlement, Calumet has agreed to install a fence-line monitoring system, Supplemental Environmental Project, with a value of at least $248,000. The system will include 32 additional sensors covering all sides of the perimeter of the facility and monitor for hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and flammable gas lower explosive limit.

EPA Recognize WaterSense® Irrigation Partner of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized John Taylor, the president of Taylor Irrigation Service, Inc., in Houston, Texas for his outstanding contributions to water-efficiency. Mr. Taylor overhauled his company’s business model to focus on promoting water-smart landscaping and efficient irrigation practices, including WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers.

The winners were formally recognized at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, during its annual WaterSense awards banquet, co-hosted by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and Southern Nevada Water Authority.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products.

To date, WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 487 billion gallons of water and over $8.9 billion in water and energy bills. By the end of 2012, reductions of 64.7 billion kWh of electricity and 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were achieved through the use of WaterSense labeled products.

EPA Awards Over $847,000 to Oklahoma Tribes to Protect Air Quality

Four Oklahoma Tribes will have greater protection from toxic air pollution thanks to $847,097, assistance grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These funds will help provide assistance to monitor air quality on Tribal lands. The tribes receiving the grants include:

  • Cherokee Nation -- $437,785
  • Delaware Nation -- $68,794
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma -- $70,284
  • Quapaw Tribe -- $270,234

One key partnership with tribes involves work planning and support through cooperative agreements. EPA’s commitment to supporting our state and tribal partners, the primary implementers of environmental programs, remains a priority. Forging strong partnerships is an important aspect of EPA's programs. States and tribes play a crucial role in the implementation of environmental laws and regulations. Strengthening these relationships through improved coordination, joint work planning and specialized assistance promotes greater compliance.

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.

EPA Awards $350,000 to New Mexico to Clean-Up and Revitalize Contaminated Brownfields Sites

Regional Administrator, Ron Curry, announces the award at the Santa Fe Railyard, an area transformed through Brownfields funding.

Regional Administrator, Ron Curry, announced a $350,000 award to the New Mexico Environment Department for supplemental brownfields funding at the Santa Fe Railyard, an area transformed through brownfields fuinding. The money goes to a revolving loan fund to help the state fund shovel-ready projects to redevelop contaminated sites.

The Santa Fe Railyard is a 50-acre property located near Cerrillos Road and Saint Francis Drive in Santa Fe. In 1995, the City of Santa Fe purchased the mostly vacant property with the intent of redeveloping it. However, development was delayed due to concerns about environmental contamination due to past operations. NMED provided environmental site assessment assistance to the City of Santa Fe from 1999 through 2000. In 2003 the City enrolled the property into New Mexico’s Voluntary Remediation Program to enlist state oversight during the remediation process. After completing the Voluntary Remediation Program in 2006, the City could confidently open the property to new development. The grand opening for the Santa Fe Railyard featured a Farmers Market, museums, and a mix of art spaces, shops and art galleries. The Railyard Park now serves as a community meeting place and center of activities for residents and tourists alike. Additionally, the New Mexico Railrunner commuter train connects the historic Santa Fe Depot to Albuquerque and the communities along the I-25 corridor.

San Antonio Agrees to $1.1 Billion Upgrade Sewer Systems to Comply With Clean Water Act

EPA and the Department of Justice announced the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has agreed to make significant upgrades to reduce overflows from its sewer system and pay a $2.6 million civil penalty to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) violations stemming from illegal discharges of raw sewage. The state of Texas is a co-plaintiff in this case and will receive half of the civil penalty.

When wastewater systems overflow, they can release raw sewage and other pollutants into local waterways, threatening water quality and contributing to beach closures and disease outbreaks. To come into compliance with the CWA, including remedial measures taken during the parties’ negotiations and the comprehensive measures required under the settlement, SAWS is expected to spend $1.1 billion to achieve compliance.

As part of the settlement, SAWS will conduct system-wide assessments, identify and implement remedial measures to address problems that cause or contribute to illegal discharges found during those assessments, and initiate a capacity management, operation and maintenance program to proactively reduce sanitary sewer overflows. The plan must be fully implemented by calendar year 2025. In the early years of the CD, SAWS will take actions that will result in reduction of sanitary sewer overflows. In addition, SAWS will conduct water quality monitoring to identify potential additional sources of bacterial contamination that could be contributing to impairment of the Upper San Antonio River.

EPA Announces Border Environmental Funding

EPA announces $884,000 in grants available for the US-Mexico border region in Texas and New Mexico. The funds will be awarded under the Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program, in coordination with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission. All proposals must be submitted by August 29, 2013.

EPA will award grants to projects that reflect the goals of the Border 2020 program, especially those supporting work in the Texas/New Mexico border region. Project types include improving air quality monitoring networks; developing applications for reusing water; developing bilingual outreach campaigns to stop illegal dumping; updating sister city-plans; improving understanding of each country’s compliance and enforcement roles; and other projects that help fulfill the goals and objectives of Border 2020. Greater consideration will be given to proposals that leverage other resources and demonstrate measurable results.

Eligibility is open to U.S. and Mexican non-governmental organizations; local and state government agencies; industry associations; universities; U.S. tribes and Mexican indigenous communities. Proposal applications can be downloaded from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission website or the EPA Border 2020 website.

Mayflower Oil Spill Data and Report

EPA continues to support the response to the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline oil spill that occurred on March 29, 2013, in Mayflower, Arkansas. The spill forced the evacuation of homes and impacted tributaries of Lake Conway.

Soon after the spill occurred, EPA sent samples of the spilled oil to the US Coast Guard and a private lab for chemical analysis. Those results were used to ensure effective cleanup techniques were used and that EPA’s air monitoring and sampling program was appropriate. The results also supported information regarding the oil that ExxonMobil supplied to responders during the first stages of the emergency response.

Since the pipeline carries oil from Canada, EPA also asked Environment Canada to analyze the samples. Their tests conclude that the spilled oil was Wabasca heavy bitumen with the addition of light diluents or refined petroleum product, which form diluted bitumen (dilbit) oil.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company Spill, Mayflower, Arkansas

The EPA is providing a Federal On-Scene Coordinator and has been working closely with state and local officials since Friday, as well as the Responsible Party, as they respond to this incident. EPA is supported by the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Response updates from Unified Command

EPA Approves Arkansas Greenhouse Gas Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the State of Arkansas’ program for permitting new and modified facilities that emit significant amounts of greenhouse gas pollution into the air. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality worked closely with EPA to develop a state program to replace the existing federal program and submitted it for EPA review in November.

Arkansas’ authority to issue air permits for new or modified greenhouse gas pollution sources will become effective in April, just four months after the EPA’s proposed approval of the program. Arkansas is the first state in the Region to replace a federal implementation plan with their own State program, which will eliminate the need for businesses to seek air permits from two separate regulatory agencies. This action will increase efficiency and allow for industry to continue to grow in Arkansas.

EPA takes final action to approve the Texas New Source Review Clean-Air Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took final action to approve the Texas New Source Review Clean-Air Plan. This action follows the EPA’s proposed approval in June 2012, and final adoption by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on August 29, 2012. The State submitted revisions to its plan, and the EPA worked with the State of Texas to expedite the process to approve these changes. The EPA is approving the revisions in the State’s plan to enhance flexibility in permits in a way that meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

The revised plan provides operating flexibility by establishing site-wide emission caps known as "Plant-wide Applicability Limits" for existing sources. These Plant-wide Applicability Limits require continuous monitoring for each of the units included in the cap. Plant-wide Applicability Limits are a useful and much sought-after tool for industry because they provide flexibility in a facilitie's daily operations. The changes are intended to provide greater regulatory certainty and streamline permitting, while ensuring public health and the environment are protected.

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