EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
EPA's Region 6 News and Events
Beyond the Classroom Students recognized by EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the regional 2013 President’s Environmental Youth Award to twenty-one students from St. Mary Episcopal School’s Beyond the Classroom group in north Edmond, Okla. and their sponsor Donna Mackiewicz for their, “Where Have All the Flowers and Birds Gone,” project.
“These students are truly making a difference and we thank them for their part in making the world more sustainable,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “It is amazing to see such young pioneers take action in improving the world around them.”
The students’ project focused on revitalizing three acres of barren property leveled by the local school district. The students started their project by counter-acting local Okla. red dust from blowing everywhere by planting seeds. They conducted fund raisers to buy then plant spearmint, kale, romaine, lettuce, spinach and a number of other seeds to bring life back to the barren property. They eventually started their own leaning garden enhancing their knowledge of natural resources and promoting environmental action. The students built bird boxes that offered nesting habitats for migratory birds.
The group consists of 75 youth, however, 21 of their most dedicated members were recognized for creating the nature preserve. The students are: Aidan Aliabadi, Adalyn Brown, Avery Brown, Braeden Asbury, Megan Channel, Reagan Creamer, Chloe Condeluci, Emilisa Dockter, Melissa Gathings, Marley Hall, Scarlett McCumpsey, Madison Mooney, Jacob Padgham, Meghan Reeves, Charlie Schultheis, Sawyer Schultheis, Caden Trammell, Olivia Waters, McKenzie Waters, Kyra Sawheny, Owen Mitchell and the group’s sponsor, Donna Mackiewicz.
The President's Environmental Youth Awards program is an annual contest sponsored by EPA to honor creative environmental projects developed and implemented by K-12 students. The winning project was chosen from entries submitted by students in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.
EPA Environmental Justice Workshop in Houston
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), Texas Southern University (TSU), Environmental Justice Health Alliance, other distinguished environmental organizations and guests recently celebrated 20 years of Environmental Justice in Houston, Texas.
More than 250 people attended a conference designed to foster tangible solutions to address environmental, social and health impacts associated with environmental pollution in poor and minority areas. The event also provided a variety of networking opportunities with environmental justice leaders and organizations. The conference started with a tour around Houston’s petrochemical plants, oil refineries, animal feed facilities and waste processing complexes to see and understand inequities associated with the area.
The principles of environmental justice uphold the idea that all communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low income and indigenous communities – deserve the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, equal access to the decision-making process and a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work.
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.
Explo Systems, Incorporated Site, Camp Minden, Louisiana
On March 18, 2014, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to the United States Department of the Army under the authority of Section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Order requires the Army to eliminate the imminent and substantial endangerment posed by the 15 million pounds of M6 propellant stored at the former Explo Systems, Inc. site at Camp Minden, Louisiana. On April 15, 2014, the Army requested an opportunity to confer with the EPA Assistant Administrator regarding the Army’s objections to EPA’s Order. The meeting with the EPA Assistant Administrator was held on May 19, 2014. EPA, in a written determination on July 16, has finalized the Order, which became effective on July 22. Pursuant to the Order, the Army must notify EPA in writing of its intent to comply by Monday, July 28. Copies of EPA’s correspondence with the Army are publicly available.
The Army, in a letter to the EPA on Monday, July 28, did not agree to comply with the Agency’s Unilateral Administrative Order, effective on July 22, to address 15 million pounds of abandoned propellant stored at Camp Minden near Doyline, LA. As outlined in this Order, EPA has determined that addressing the risk posed by the hazardous materials at this site is the Army’s responsibility. The Army’s noncompliance with the Order puts at risk the health and safety conditions at the site. EPA is considering all options necessary to protect public health and the environment.
- July 28, 2014, U.S. Army response to EPA’s RCRA Section 7003 Unilateral Administrative Order, U.S. EPA Docket No. RCRA-06-2014-0902 (1p, 46 KB, About PDF)
- EPA response to issues raised by the U.S. Army re: Opportunity to confer RCRA Section 7003 Unilateral Administrative Order, U.S. EPA Docket No. RCRA-06-2014-0902 (1p, 165 KB, About PDF)
- July 22, 2014, Effective Date for RCRA Section 7003 Unilateral Administrative Order, U.S. EPA Docket Number RCRA-06-2014-0902, Explo Systems, Inc. Site, Camp Minden, Louisiana (2pp, 56 KB, About PDF)
EPA Awards Oklahoma $1.3 million to Reduce Water Contamination Risk in Underground Tanks
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Oklahoma Corporation Commission $1,302,000, to prevent and respond to petroleum and other products stored in underground storage tanks. The commission received $837,000 to respond to underground storage leaks and $465,000 to prevent and enforce federally-regulated underground storage systems.
Leaks from underground storage tanks allow toxic fumes and vapors to escape and collect in areas such as parking garages or basements where they can cause explosions or respiratory illness. Toxic contaminants can also leak into groundwater sources that people depend on for drinking water. Regularly monitoring tanks and pipes minimizes contamination risks.
EPA regularly works with state, local and tribal governments to ensure that underground storage tanks systems are installed, operated, maintained and closed safely. underground storage tanks compliance prevents harm to others and the environment. EPA underground storage tanks grants help provide technical assistance, outreach, training, inspections and enforcement.
EPA Awards over $900,000 to TU to Research Impacts of Climate Change in Tribal Areas
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Tulsa are seeking new ways to protect tribal communities. EPA awarded $919,988 to the University of Tulsa to study methods to improve indoor air quality and reduce asthma triggers in schools.
“EPA is pleased to be working with University of Tulsa to help find new and innovative ways to improve air quality on tribal communities,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “This effort gives us an opportunity to improve indoor air quality by increasing awareness of environmental health risks.”
Air quality information from the Cherokee Nation of northeast Oklahoma, the Nez Perce Tribe Reservation and surrounding area of west central Idaho, and the Navajo Nation in the Shiprock, New Mexico region will be used to study the health impacts of climate change and indoor air pollution on tribal communities. Tribal nations rely on many natural resources to maintain traditional diets, customs, and languages. The research will identify the impacts of pollution and climate change, and influence decisions to reduce health risks.
EPA Awards over $11 Million to State of Oklahoma to Improve Water Quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded over $11 million to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The grant is part of EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that provides low-interest, flexible loans to communities to help them improve water quality and infrastructure.
“These revolving loan funds are some of the most effective tools we have for helping communities of all sizes achieve their clean-water goals,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “The money will go toward a variety of projects to help ensure all Oklahomans receive the clean, reliable water they deserve.”
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board will distribute the $11.33 million as low-interest loans to a variety of recipients, including municipalities and rural water districts. These groups will use the loans for projects such as replacing sewer lines, improving wastewater treatment facilities, and upgrading collection systems.
EPA Awarded $517,500 to Revitalize Urban Waters in New Orleans and New Mexico
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to help protect and-restore waters around Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans and New Mexico’s Rio Grande. EPA awarded $517,500 to nine organizations to benefit urban waters and the surrounding land. The projects will improve water quality, support community revitalization and other local priorities.
“Restoration of Urban Waters will improve public health, provide additional recreational opportunities and boost the local economy,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Work by grant awardees and partner state agencies makes certain the river continues to benefit our communities for many years to come.”
EPA is awarding $2.08 million to 36 organizations in 17 states and Puerto Rico, ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. The projects are in areas that align with the 18 designated Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a partnership of 14 federal agencies working to reconnect urban communities with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts.
Unified Command established to oversee the shipment of chemicals from Syria
Unified Command has been established to oversee the shipment of precursor chemicals associated with the Syrian Chemical Weapons Elimination Program. The Unified Command consists of federal, state and local agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, Port Arthur Port Authority, Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Emergency Management, City of Port Arthur, Veolia, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Jefferson County Office of Emergency and EPA. Veolia Environment North America has been selected by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to treat and dispose of hazardous materials. The shipment does not contain chemical weapons. The shipment is standard commercial chemicals that were stored in bulk and never used.
As a participating agency within Unified Command, EPA is providing technical and scientific assistance to state and local agencies. Both Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA have been tasked to conduct air monitoring along the transportation route. The real-time air monitoring information will provide transportation and response officials with information to support decision-making during the operation.
EPA Awards over $144,000 to New Mexico to Reduce Water Pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $144,554 to the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to operate and implement its Underground Injection Control (UIC) program. The UIC program helps protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination by regulating the construction and operation of injection wells.
The grant funds will also be used to review regulations, develop program plans, inventory injection well facilities, identify aquifers and conduct enforcement activities, surveillance and investigations. One of EPA’s missions is to protect public health, including safe sources of drinking water in coordination with state and tribal governments.
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 Approves Texas State Implementation Plan for Flexible Permits
EPA issued conditional approval of the Texas Flexible Permit program. This submittal is a result of EPA and Texas collaborating to identify what additional elements were needed for an updated rule to meet all Clean Air Act requirements. The final rule establishes an air permitting program where emissions caps for air pollutants can be utilized to help minimize emissions while protecting human health and the environment. The rules also are enforceable and compliance must be demonstrated. The action will be published in the Federal Register in 7 to 10 days. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication. A pre-publication version of the Federal Register Notice is available. (30 pp, 73 KB, About PDF)
EPA and Partners Celebrate Nation’s Largest Federally Owned Wind Farm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and partner organizations celebrated the dedication of the Pantex Renewable Energy Project near Amarillo, TX. The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration led the development of the project, which includes the nation’s largest federally owned wind farm.
“The National Nuclear Security Administration and Pantex have shown outstanding leadership not only cleaning up this site, but also turning it into a source of clean, renewable energy,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Their innovation will serve as an example of the natural connection between environmental sustainability and economic benefit.”
The wind farm will generate nearly 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. This will provide about 60 percent of the energy for the nearby Pantex Plant, the nation’s primary facility for the assembly, disassembly, and maintenance of nuclear weapons.
EPA Recognizes Federal Facilities for Achieving Cost Savings and Environmental Benefits
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized federal facilities for their efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of facilities across the country. As part of the Federal Green Challenge, six federal facilities in Region 6 were recognized for leading by example by taking steps to reduce the federal government’s environmental impact in 2013.
In 2013, over 400 participating federal facilities, about 1.6 million federal employees, reduced their environmental footprint, which in many cases also resulted in significant cost savings. Federal offices participated by selecting a minimum of two of the six target areas —waste, electronics, purchasing, energy, water, or transportation. At least one of the selected target areas must be waste, electronics, or purchasing.
- More information on the Federal Green Challenge
- GSA Reduces Environmental Footprint by Reducing Water Usage
- GSA Combats Climate Change by Reducing Energy Use
- EPA Honors GSA – Justice Park Building, for Saving Money by Reducing Waste
- HHS Fights Climate Change and Saves Money
- National Park Service Fights Climate Change by Reducing Waste
- EPA Awards FAA for Combating Climate Change by Reducing Water Usage
Region 6 Press Releases -
EPA awards grants to train, recruit and place citizens into environmental jobs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded two Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants of $200,000 each to the City of Camden, Arkansas and Limitless Vistas of New Orleans, Louisiana. The grants will support local work to recruit, train, and place individuals in jobs that address environmental challenges in their respective areas. The grants are part of $3.6 million awarded to grantees across the U.S.
EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, which provides environmental and health and safety training, helps graduates develop a broader set of skills that improves their ability to secure short-term work, as well as full-time employment, in the environmental field. Program graduates acquire training and certifications in a variety of areas, such as environmental health and safety, lead and asbestos abatement, landfill management, wastewater treatment, brownfields assessment and cleanup, Superfund cleanup, leaking underground storage tank removal, recycling and emergency response.
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 honored 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.