EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
EPA's Region 6 News and Events
Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease that affects over 20 million Americans. Rates of asthma have risen sharply over the past thirty years, particularly among children between the ages of 5 and 14. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to help reverse this trend.
In response to the growing asthma problem, EPA created a national, multifaceted asthma education and outreach program to share information about environmental factors that trigger asthma. EPA’s goal is to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers to improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Asthma Coalition of Texas and the Department of Health and Human Services are collaborating to sponsor the Ozone Awareness Flag Program. The goal of the program is to increase awareness in schools and communities about asthma and the effects of air quality on respiratory health. The program aims to decrease absenteeism in the schools due to asthma related illness caused from exposure to higher ozone levels.
The program provides a set of green, yellow, orange and red flags for schools to fly daily, alerting students, staff, and the community to the air quality for the day. The program also provides written educational materials to help support school participation. Approximately 200 schools in North Texas have seen the presentation and over 70 schools are now flying the ozone flags. Two school districts are flying the ozone awareness flags at every one of their schools.
The city of Shreveport was recently awarded a Brownfields area-wide planning grant for $200,000. The city will work with the residents of the Allendale and Ledbetter Heights neighborhoods, other community members and stakeholders to develop a brownfields area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Cross Bayou area. This 120-acre tract of land along the southern bank of the Red River is immediately adjacent to the central business district of Shreveport. Within the project area is an existing scrap yard and other possible contamination issues that will be examined under this project. The city will engage the community, research existing conditions, and conduct a market study in order to create a plausible and market-responsive brownfields reuse plan, along with detailed, specific, and consistent strategies for implementation.
Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized industrial or commercial sites where future use may be complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
The Middle Rio Grande, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and the city of Albuquerque received national attention from a multi-federal agency partnership addressing urban waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service will co-lead a team of federal partners towards a conservation initiative, a restoration project, and a pilot program for storm water permits in the Middle Rio Grande Region.
The partnership also includes a sustainability project with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation that has put resources towards the Bridge Boulevard Corridor Redevelopment Plan. This project identifies areas for redevelopment to transform Bridge Boulevard into a mixed-use, pedestrian and transit friendly corridor that honors and maintains the unique history and character of the community.
Additionally, EPA is announcing the Urban Waters Small Grant award for $60,000 to the Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District. Educating communities affected by drought about green infrastructure is valuable. In partnership with Albuquerque area schools, the grant will focus on environmental education and community outreach about storm water management and green infrastructure practices in the Middle Rio Grande Region to promote groundwater infiltration and storage.
Risk management plans, currently developed under the Clean Air Act, describe the ways in which a facility reduces the likelihood of accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances into the air and its plans for dealing with any accidental releases which may occur.
The risk management plan provided to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 by West Chemical and Fertilizer Company is attached but has been redacted by EPA according to statutory restrictions. However, the following is a summary of the redacted materials as provided for by statute:
The worst case scenario included in the RMP for anhydrous ammonia shows an air release of the chemical could reach a distance of 1.5 miles. Up to 2,500 people could be in the vulnerability zone for this scenario and the types of populations could include schools, residences, hospitals, public recreation areas, and commercial and industrial areas.
EPA releases information from ExxonMobil Pipeline Company
Pursuant to Section 308 of the Clean Water Act, EPA has requested information from ExxonMobil regarding the oil released from the Pegasus pipeline disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas. EPA, along with other federal, state and local agencies, are on location to monitor the responsible party, ExxonMobil Pipeline Company's work in addressing the spill impacts. In response to EPA's information request, Exxon has provided additional information. EPA has shared this information with other federal, state and local responders and is also making it available to the public.
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.
- U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration response information
Response updates from Unified Command
- Mayflower Cleanup Continues Transition to Longer-Term Remediation Phase (2 pp, 265 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 19, 2013 (2 pp, 26 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 16, 2013 (2 pp, 128 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 14, 2013 (2 pp, 128 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 11, 2013 (2 pp, 103 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 10, 2013 (2 pp, 90 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 9, 2013 (2 pp, 18 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 8, 2013 (2 pp, 18 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 6, 2013 (2 pp, 88 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 5, 2013 (2 pp, 25 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 4, 2013 (2 pp, 25 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 3, 2013 (2 pp, 25 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 2, 2013 (2 pp, 22 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - April 1, 2013 (2 pp, 21 KB, About PDF)
- Update on Cleanup Operations in Mayflower, Arkansas - March 31, 2013 (2 pp, 87 KB, About PDF)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing four federal organizations in Region 6 that participated in the Federal Green Challenge, a national effort under EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management program that challenges federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the federal government’s environmental impact. The four organizations are:
- The General Service Administration’s A. Maceo Smith Federal Building in Dallas, Texas, for reducing their use of potable water from 6,225,200 gallons in 2011 to 5,693,700 gallons in 2012, resulting in a 9 percent improvement.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Dallas, Texas, for decreasing their mileage traveled per employee from 11.3 miles in 2011 to 9 miles in 2012, resulting in a 20 percent improvement.
- The United States Postal Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, for generating over $28,000 in recycling revenue and avoiding over $49,000 in landfill disposal costs in 2012. The Post Office achieved this by expanding its recycling and consolidating recyclable materials from 15 Post Offices within its service area.
- The General Service Administration’s Centre Phase 5 Federal Building in Farmers Branch, Texas, for decreasing its energy usage from 5,068,181 kilowatt hours in 2011 to 3,975,950 kilowatt hours in 2012, resulting in a 22 percent improvement.
In 2012, nearly 300 participating federal facilities, representing 500,000 federal employees, reduced their environmental footprint in several target areas, which in many cases resulted in significant cost savings. Some of the accomplishments made by the FGC participants included diverting more than 360,000 tons of waste, saving over 52 million kilowatts of electricity, saving 488,000 gallons of oil, and reducing potable water usage by 133 million gallons.
These combined efforts resulted in an estimated cost savings of more than $31 million to the U.S. taxpayer.
Texas Southern University has signed a partnership Memorandum of Understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Texas Southern University has entered into a significant agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 that will help train qualified professionals in environmental policy, economics and several areas of science, business and technology. The Memorandum of Understanding will focus on bringing innovative strategies to the forefront to assure an adequate supply of highly trained and skilled personnel for the accomplishment of environmental research, policy and program development," according to a press release from Texas Southern University.
Robert Bullard, dean of the Barbara Jordan/Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, will lead the initiative for Texas Southern. Bullard and TSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Sunny Ohia signed the agreement Wednesday, April 10, on campus.
Texas Southern University is at 3100 Cleburne St., Houston.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing four Region 6 U. S. Government organizations outstanding efforts while participating in the Federal Green Challenge.
- FAA, Southwest Regional Office in Fort Worth, Texas (Press Release)
- Texas Army National Guard in Austin, Texas (Press Release)
- NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (Press Release)
- NASA White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico (Press Release)
The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort under EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management program that challenges federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the federal government’s environmental impact. Federal agencies are recognized through the Federal Green Challenge for outstanding efforts that go beyond regulatory compliance and strive for annual improvements in selected areas.
In 2012, nearly 300 participating federal facilities, representing 500,000 federal employees, reduced their environmental footprint in several target areas, which in many cases resulted in significant cost savings. Some of the accomplishments made by the Federal Green Challenge participants included diverting more than 360,000 tons of waste, saving over 52 million kilowatts of electricity, saving 488,000 gallons of oil, and reducing potable water usage by 133 million gallons.
These combined efforts resulted in an estimated cost savings of more than $31 million to the U.S. taxpayer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the winners of the 2012 President’s Environmental Youth Award, including Chandler Burke of Dallas. Burke joins nine other winners from around the country being recognized for their exceptional work in environmental stewardship.
Burke’s project involved restoring blackland prairie meadow in North Texas by building a rock barrier around a storm sewer to slow erosion and redirect water into a nearby meadow. He also replaced invasive grasses with native Texas species, and built and repaired habitats for birds, rabbits, and box turtles to encourage the animals to return to the meadow.
The President’s Environmental Youth Award promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. One outstanding project from each of EPA’s ten regions is selected for national recognition. Projects are developed by young individuals, K-12 school classes, summer camps, and youth organizations.
ASARCO, El Paso, Texas
On April 5, 2013, the Trustee released the final chimney demolition plan for the former ASARCO smelter site. The final plan included consideration of comments from EPA and TCEQ. Useful information, along with a copy of the final demolition plan, is available at the Recasting the Smelter website.
“EPA has reviewed the Trustee’s demolition plan for stacks at ASARCO,” said Ron Curry, EPA regional administrator. “We believe the plan includes the appropriate steps necessary to be protective of both the environment and people living in the area. EPA will have people on-site before, during and after the demolition. Following the demolition, EPA and State officials will evaluate compliance with the plan.”
Air Testing Completed at Three Texas Schools
The Environmental Protection Agency announced monitoring data from three schools in Texas indicate specific air toxics are below levels of concern. The EPA partnered with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to monitor and evaluate air samples at San Jacinto Elementary and Deer Park Junior High in Deer Park, Texas, as well as Temple Elementary in Diboll, Texas. These schools were selected for monitoring because of their proximity to industrial facilities that emit air toxics. Because of these findings, the EPA will not continue monitoring at the school.
The Schools Air Toxics Monitoring Initiative, which monitored outside air at 63 schools in 22 states, is designed to help the EPA and state environmental agencies understand whether long-term exposure to air toxics poses health concerns for children and staff at the schools.
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 and DOE Recognize 2013 Energy Star Partners of the Year in Region 6
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized 118 awardees for their commitment to saving energy and protecting the environment. Recipients of the 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award include several companies in Texas and Oklahoma.
The Region 6 winners are:
- J.C. Penney Company, Inc., and Cenergistic (Dallas)
- AEP Texas (Corpus Christi)
- Austin Energy CenterPoint Energy, Hines, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and Transwestern (Houston)
- El Paso Electric Entergy Texas (Beaumont)
- Air Force Medical Support Agency and USAA Real Estate Company (San Antonio) Oklahoma
- Public Service Company of Oklahoma (Tulsa)
EPA Approves Clean Water Program to Oklahoma Department of Agriculture
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Oklahoma’s request for issuing agriculture-based Clean Water Act discharge permits to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF). Oklahoma will take over responsibility to implement the Agriculture Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AgPDES) program covering discharges associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, the application of biological or chemical pesticides, discharges from forestry activities, and discharges of storm water from agricultural activities.
EPA Proposes Approval of Public Participation Rules in Texas’ Clean-Air Plan
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to approve the Texas clean-air plan that covers public notification requirements for facilities applying for air permits. The proposed approval applies to existing facilities that plan to make major changes as well as new projects. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) clarified the clean-air plan’s procedures for citizens to submit comments on permit applications, as well as how TCEQ is to respond to comments.
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.
EPA Region 6 Updates Its National Priorities List of Superfund Sites
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that four sites in Region 6 have been added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. Added to the list are the US Oil Recovery site in Pasadena, Texas, the Circle Court Ground Water Plume in Willow Park, Texas, the EVR-Wood Treating/Evangeline Refining Company site near Jennings, Louisiana and the Cedar Chemical Corporation site in Phillips County, Arkansas.
The National Priorities List is the list of hazardous sites in the United States eligible for long-term cleanup action financed under the federal Superfund program. The EPA works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, the EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. It may take several years before cleanup funding is available for these sites.
- US Oil Recovery site in Pasadena, Texas
- Circle Court Ground Water Plume in Willow Park, Texas
- EVR-Wood Treating/Evangeline Refining Company site near Jennings, Louisiana
- Cedar Chemical Corporation site in Phillips County, Arkansas.
- More information on the Superfund National Priorities List
Working Together to Protect the Environment
The EPA and states share responsibility for protecting human health and the environment. This unique relationship is the cornerstone of the nation's environmental protection system. Working together, we have made enormous progress in protecting our air, water and land resources. Under traditional environmental program grants, states receive funds to implement the various water, air, waste, pesticides and toxic substances programs.
- EPA Awards $65,000 to the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma to Improve and Protect Its Water Quality
- EPA Awards the State of Oklahoma Over $240,000 to Reduce Exposure to Asbestos in Schools and State Buildings
- EPA Awards Over $112,000 to the Peoria Tribe to Support Its Water Quality Program
- EPA Awards $120,000 to the Ottawa Tribe to Support Its Water Quality Program
- EPA Awards Over $57 Million to the Texas Water Development Board to Support the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program