Sep 7, 2016
Sep 6, 2016
Aug 31, 2016
EPA Creates Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Is Accepting Nominations to Help Implement Updated TSCA
Aug 26, 2016
Jul 27, 2016
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm PDT/2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
Looking upstream to eliminate wasting before it occurs is the highest priority action businesses can take to reduce their waste. At the core of waste reduction is the simple notion of consuming fewer resources- the biggest impact we can have on our planet and our businesses. On the next monthly U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (www.uszwbc.org<http://www.uszwbc.org>) webinar, we will discuss how to implement effective business waste reduction practices to prevent waste from being generated in the first place. Speakers will discuss actions businesses have taken to prevent everything from food waste to unneeded supplies to manufacturing waste from occurring.
Speakers include Darlene Edwards, Director Facilities Management, Follett Corporation and Claire Cummings, Waste Specialist, Bon Appetit Management Co. Follett is a USZWBC Certified Zero Waste Facility and will be sharing some of the waste prevention measures that helped them earn the certification.
Register today at: https://uszwbc.org/events/upcoming/effective-business-waste-reduction-practices-webinar/
Please forward to interested parties
Jul 20, 2016
Last year, Congress passed the 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The new law mandates that federal agencies adjust their civil penalties for inflation every year. OSHA has not increased its civil penalties since 1990, and the agency has asked Congress to pass this measure to allow them to increase penalties for years. Under the new law, OSHA had to publish an interim final rule to adjust its penalties for inflation by July 1, 2016.
Last week, the Department of Labor announced that it had published two interim final rules to adjust penalties: one rule covers penalties assessed by OSHA and other departments such as the Mine Safety & Health Administration and Office of Workers' Compensation Programs; the second rule applies to penalties associated with the H-2B temporary guest worker program.
With the adjustments, OSHA's civil penalties will increase by 78 percent, with its top penalty for serious violations rising from $7,000 to $12,471, and its top penalty for willful or repeated violations rising from $70,000 to $124,709. The increased penalties apply to penalties assessed by OSHA after Aug. 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. OSHA believes these penalty increases will deter violations and significantly benefit workers. States that operate their own plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as federal OSHA's.
The interim final rule is available here.
For more information about the new penalties, please see this chart provided by OSHA.
OSHA released its "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" Final Rule on May 11. While much of the regulation prescribes when employers should submit electronic illness and injury records to OSHA, the final rule also included requirements for employers to do the following:
- Inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation;
- Implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are "reasonable" and do not deter workers from reporting; and
- Incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.
However, in this final rule, OSHA makes new policies about employer incentive programs and mandatory drug testing, creating much concern among employers and the legal community that these long-standing practices could now be considered "deterring or discouraging" employees from reporting depending on how OSHA enforces this final rule.
Certain Drug Testing Policies and Incentive Programs Could Be Considered "Deterring" Employees from Proper Reporting, in Violation of New Regulation
In the final rule, OSHA states that it believes blanket post-injury drug testing policies "deter proper reporting." The final rule prohibits employers from using drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses. OSHA gives the following example of how this should be implemented in the final rule:
"To strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use. For example, it would likely not be reasonable to drug-test an employee who reports a bee sting, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or a machine or tool malfunction. Such a policy is likely only to deter reporting without contributing to the employer's understanding of why the injury occurred, or in any other way contributing to workplace safety.
Employers need not specifically suspect drug use before testing, but there should be a reasonable possibility that drug use by the reporting employee was a contributing factor to the reported injury or illness in order for an employer to require drug testing. In addition, drug testing that is designed in a way that may be perceived as punitive or embarrassing to the employee is likely to deter injury reporting."
As for employee incentive programs, OSHA addresses the concerns of commenters in the final rule by saying that if programs are not "structured carefully, they have the potential to discourage reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses." OSHA states that the specific rules and implementation of any given incentive program must be considered to determine whether or not it violates the final rule. OSHA provides the following examples in the final rule:
"It is a violation of paragraph (b)(1)(iv) for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness, whether or not such adverse action was part of an incentive program. Therefore, it is a violation for an employer to use an incentive program to take adverse action, including denying a benefit, because an employee reports a work-related injury or illness, such as disqualifying the employee for a monetary bonus or any other action that would discourage or deter a reasonable employee from reporting the work-related injury or illness.
In contrast, if an incentive program makes a reward contingent upon, for example, whether employees correctly follow legitimate safety rules rather than whether they reported any injuries or illnesses, the program would not violate this provision."
Employers now will have to re-evaluate their current policies to make sure they are consistent with OSHA's interpretation of these new employee retaliation provisions.
OSHA Delay and Pending Lawsuit
While OSHA states that the reason for the delayed implementation was to provide the opportunity to conduct additional outreach, this delay comes at the heels of an industry-initiated lawsuit filed against OSHA on July 8, 2016, challenging these very sections of the new regulation.
In the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, the plaintiffs Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Great American Insurance Company, Owen Steel Company, Atlantic Precast Concrete, and Oxford Property Management assert that these new provisions are unlawful because OSHA has exceeded its statutory authority, and these policies prohibit or otherwise limit incident-based employer safety incentive programs and routine mandatory post-accident drug testing requirements.
"Incident Incident-based safety incentive programs and routine, mandatory post-accident drug testing programs…help employers to promote workplace safety, which is supposed to be OSHA's primary mission also," the complaint states. "Instead, out of a misguided zeal to improve accuracy of reporting on workplace injuries (albeit with no evidence that injuries are not already being accurately reported), OSHA has lost sight of the importance of reducing the number and severity of injuries themselves."
The complaint goes on to assert that OSHA provides no evidence that drug testing or safety incentive programs lead to inaccurate reporting or underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses, and that a prohibition or other limitation on safety programs will result in an increase in work-related injuries and illnesses. The plaintiffs also state that OSHA failed to consider the evidence presented that demonstrates the value of safety incentives and post-accident drug testing to workplace safety and health.
Your company may be required to report data to CARB through the agency's Consumer Products Reporting Tool (CPRT) on CARB's website by Nov. 1, 2016. CARB held a 2015 Reporting Requirements webinar on June 29.
CARB's data collection effort focuses on commercial products, and aerosol coatings sold in or supplied to California. The surveys will require manufacturers' and suppliers' participation in a multi-year data collection, whereby sales and product ingredient data, including information on volatile organic compound (VOC) content, will be required. CARB will use the information provided through these surveys to update the state's inventory of emissions of VOCs and low-vapor-pressure VOCs (LVP-VOCs), after which it will determine the feasibility of further reducing VOC emissions. The survey is part of CARB's effort to control ozone pollution by limiting VOC emissions, and CARB stated that such data is necessary to establish the scientific basis for the clean air plans and related rulemakings to address the stricter national standards for ozone and fine particulates.
Notably, for the 2015 calendar year, several categories are exempt and do not require any reporting. These categories include:
- 10101 Arts and Crafts Adhesive
- 10102 Automobile Headliner Adhesive
- 10103 Automotive Engine Compartment Adhesive
- 10108 Fabric/Textiles Adhesive
- 10109 Flexible Vinyl Adhesive
- 10112 Laminate Repair/Edgebanding Adhesive
- 10113 Mist Spray Adhesive
- 10114 Mounting Adhesive
- 10116 Polyolefin Adhesive
- 10117 Polystyrene Foam Adhesive
- 10119 Screen Printing Adhesive
- 10121 Tackifying Agent (semi-permanent)
- 10122 Temporary/Removable Adhesive
- 10123 Thread Locking Compound
- 10124 Wallpaper Adhesive
- 10125 Web Spray Adhesive
- 10201 Cold Process Roof Cement (aerosol only)
- 10203 Floor Seam Sealer
- 10205 Painter's Putty
- 10206 Pipe Thread Sealant/Pipe Joint Compound
- 10207 Plumber's Putty
- 10208 Rubberized Sealant
- 10212 Tile and Grout Sealer
- 10213 Window Glazing Compound
- 20201 Artist Solvent and Thinner
- 21016 Rubber and Vinyl Protectant (aerosol)
- 21017 Rubber and Vinyl Protectant (non-aerosol)
- 30906 Nail Glue or Adhesive
- 30909 Nail Polish Thinner
- 30911 Nail Treatment Product
- 70109 Paint and Surface Cleaner
- 70110 Paint and Surface Protectant (including antifouling products)
- 80101 – 80399 All Aerosol Coatings Products
Please note that if a company's products are on the exempt list, an abbreviated submission is still required, but sales and formula data do not need to be included.
CARB is not only using the survey reports for data collection and analysis, but also using this information to determine whether reporting companies are in compliance with the regulations. Consequently, if they discover that a company is not in compliance with a particular limit, they will forward the survey response information to ARB's Enforcement Division.
CARB's data collection effort is now in its third year. For the 2013 calendar year, 1,800 Data Collection survey responses are complete; over 302,000 products were included in these responses; and over 135,000 label files were submitted. For the Data Collection for 2014 calendar year, approximately 1,550 survey response are complete; over 250,000 products reported; and over 45,000 label files submitted.
SCAQMD is accepting comments on the AQMP through Aug. 19. ACA's Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) volatile organic compound (VOC) and Industrial Air Regulatory Committees will be submitting comments by that deadline.
The district's AQMP seeks volatile organic compound (VOC) emission reductions by focusing on select coating, adhesive, solvent, and sealant categories by further limiting the allowable VOC content in formulations or incentivizing the use of super-compliant technologies. Examples of the categories to be considered include, but are not limited to: coatings used in aerospace applications; adhesives used in a variety of sealing applications; and solvents for graffiti abatement activities. Reductions could be achieved by lowering the VOC content of the coatings, solvents, adhesives, and sealants where possible, but reductions could also be achieved by promoting the use of alternative low-VOC products or non-VOC product/equipment at industrial facilities.
The following provides an overview of the district's proposed future regulatory actions:
- Rule 1107 – Coating of Metal Parts, and Rule 1168 – Adhesive and Sealant Applications Amendments
In general, SCAQMD is looking for 1 ton per day of VOC reductions, likely from both categories. Both rules were suspended until the Heath Risk Assessment (HRA) on tertiary-Butyl Acetate (tBAc) is finalized. Once the HRA is finalized, the amendments will resume.
- Rule 1106 – Marine Coating Operations, and Rule 1106.1 – Pleasure Craft Coating Operations
SCAQMD's Governing Board did not adopt proposed amendments to these rules in 2015 due to proposed recordkeeping requirements, but staff still intends to combine the rules to promote clarity and evaluate whether the rules satisfy Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements.
- Rule 1124 – Aerospace Assembly and Component Manufacturing Operations
The district is evaluating whether the rule satisfies RACT requirements.
- Rule 1128 – Paper, Fabric, and Film Coating Operations
The district is evaluating the applicability of spray booths or non-coating line processes used in paper, fabric, and film coating operations.
- Rule 1136 – Wood Product Coatings
The district is considering restriction or elimination of potential loopholes and evaluate toxic emissions resulting from furniture stripping.
- Rules 314 – Fees for Architectural Coatings, Rule 1113 – Architectural Coatings, Rule 1143 – Consumer Paint Thinners and Multi-Purpose Solvents, and 1171 – Solvent Cleaning Operations
The district is assessing the potential to achieve State Implementation Plan (SIP) reductions through certification programs (e.g., Clean Air Solvent, Clean Air Choices Cleaner Product Certification, or a coatings certification program) or reporting programs.
July 27, 2016, 8 am-5 pm
Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Lake Huron Room
77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604
Cost: $125 (Lunch on your own)
Register at http://go.illinois.edu/P2andLeanWorkshop
Questions? Contact Laura Barnes
This workshop will help you improve the efficiency of your organization by identifying ways to limit pollutants and apply lean principles within an environmental management system.
Lean operating principles help your company improve the bottom line, reduce your regulatory burdens, and increase the overall efficiency of your organization.
Food manufacturers achieve significant savings when they put pollution prevention into practice.
- Cargill, a major US meat manufacturer, reduced 7,800,000 pounds of methane gas and reduced natural gas by 20-35% by investing in an automated biogas capture system, which saved them $750,000 dollars.
- Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) used a P2 approach to save over $69,000 in reducing air emissions while generating over $250,000 per year by re-using boiler ash as a raw material used for cement, concrete blocks, and other products.
- Anheuser-Busch installed a multi-stage residuals evaporator which reduced the amount of BOD loadings to the sewer by nearly 23,000 pounds annually saving them $1,500,000.
Although this workshop is targeted at food manufacturers, attendees from other industrial sectors are welcome.
Who should attend?
- Facility managers
- Environmental & safety managers & directors
- Environmental health & safety (EHS) personnel
- Environmental specialists, planners, and coordinators
- Environmental engineers
- Environmental project & program managers
- Anyone responsible for environmental activities in your organization
Thomas Vinson, Zero Waste Network
Thomas Vinson has worked for over two decades in the environmental field where he has become known for finding the connection between good business practices, and environmental quality management.
Thomas works closely with a national network of pollution prevention and lean specialists and the EPA to find ways that businesses can save money by reducing waste. Over the past two years, he has worked on projects that have helped companies identify ways to save over 1.5 million dollars, while reducing nearly 7 million tons of waste, three million gallons of water use, and over a million kWh of electricity use.
The report, The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data, includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder.
Jul 19, 2016
The rule, finalized Friday after being proposed last year, "updates 20-year-old standards for methane emissions at landfills," Henry writes. "The rule comes as the Obama administration works to crack down on emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide. Officials have committed to cutting methane emissions from the oil-and-gas sector by between 40 percent and 45 percent by 2025, an EPA push that has prompted resistance from the drilling sector." (Read more)
Jul 14, 2016
A group of lawyers for 64 women who are suffering health problems from cervical cancer vaccines said Tuesday the victims will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on July 27.
Of the 64 women, 28 will lodge their suit with the Tokyo District Court, six with the Nagoya District Court, 16 with the Osaka District Court and 14 with the Fukuoka District Court, according to the lawyers.
Initially, the victims, mainly teenagers, will demand ¥15 million in damages each, for a total of ¥960 million, and increase the amount later depending on their symptoms. The victims' health problems include pain all over the body.
The average age of the 28 planning to file their suit with the Tokyo court is 18. They received the vaccination when they were between 11 and 16 years old.
Noting that the cervical cancer vaccines have caused nerve disorders and other problems due to the excessive immune reactions they caused, the lawyers claimed that the government's approval of the ineffective vaccines was illegal. The drugmakers bear product liability, they added.
Jul 11, 2016
S. 2967 would require the President to establish a Biodefense Coordination Council to develop a national strategy to help the federal government prevent and respond to major biological incidents. Under the bill, the President would be required to report to the Congress on the status of the strategy every 180 days until it is completed and to update the strategy at least every five years thereafter.
Read full here:
After two years of research, a parliamentary commission put together to propose a solution for the problem of radioactive storage following the country's decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, said Tuesday the time frame is still considered "ambitious."
"The German Bundestag is due, according to current estimates, to start searching for an optimal secure place in 2017," the nearly 700-page report stated. "Decades will pass before the waste can be buried and possibly more than a century before this process ends."
The government had initially planned to find a suitable place to build the storage facility by 2031, which was scheduled to open in 2050. However, leading committee member Michael Muller said it would be logistically impossible to meet such targets.
A potential site is the waste facility in Gorleben, in Lower-Saxony state. However, the report said no decision was made with regards to this site, adding other places were under consideration.
Following the nuclear incident at Fukushima, in Japan, Germany decided in 2011 to shut down all nuclear reactors, leaving the country with a pressing need to find storage for its atomic waste.
Jul 7, 2016
Read on at:
The research provides a positive model for protecting a forest region that is a hub for biodiversity, including serving as a key habitat for endangered chimpanzees. At the same time, it also validates the effectiveness of a "Payments for Ecosystems Services" program of the sort that could bolster the battle against global deforestation and its impact as a leading driver of climate change.
More such programs could be supported under a broader United Nations initiative called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), in which richer countries and other international funders make payments to developing nations in exchange for protecting their vital trees. That quest that has only become more urgent after an explicit shout-out to the importance of combating deforestation, and REDD+, in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
In the new study, just published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, owners of forested land in 60 villages in the Hoima and Kibaale districts of western Uganda were offered $ 28 per year (70,000 Ugandan shillings) over two years for every hectare of forest that they did not harvest or chop down for other economic reasons. By comparison, in 61 other villages, nothing was offered — but rates of deforestation were monitored by satellite in all villages.
The result was that while forest cover decreased by between 7 and 10 percent in the "control" villages, it only dropped between 2 to 5 percent in the designated "treatment" villages, suggesting that the incentive payments were preventing a significant number of landowners from selling large trees for timber or charcoal, or chopping down forest to grow more crops.
"This study I think of as an important proof of concept that this did have a big impact, and a lot of the money that was being paid was really creating new forest cover that would have disappeared absent the program," said Seema Jayachandran, an economist at Northwestern University who led the research, which was conducted with colleagues from Stanford, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Porticus Foundation.
The study validates the idea that deforestation can be battled in a cost-effective way, a policy possibility that emerges in part because of vast global economic inequities. This has created a situation where encouraging forest preservation in relatively poorer, developing countries, where forests are often relied on for livelihoods, turns out to be more cost effective.
"In terms of the global impact, we don't care if a tree is kept intact in the U.S. versus in Uganda, but the income someone is getting for that tree in Uganda is less than they're getting in the U.S.," said Jayachandran.
The study estimated that the cost of delaying the emission of a ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere under this program was just 57 cents — but the benefit of doing so, based on calculations using the EPA's standard "social cost of carbon" measurement, was $ 1.11.
Jul 6, 2016
|Figure 1: Extent of Deforestation in Borneo 1950-2005, Projection to 2020. The island of Borneo is split between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.|
|The matrix model.|
Webinar on Community Food waste from EPA July 21 at noon CT, featuring cases studies, including Iowa City, IA
Thursday July 21 at 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST
Food: Too Good to Waste - Community Results and Lessons Learned
REGISTER HERE for the FREE webinar or at Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6987235140363629059
Currently, over 30% of the food currently grown and processed in the U.S. goes uneaten. When wholesome, edible food ends up in a landfill, all those embedded resources (along with the money spent on them) also get wasted. This impacts the environment, our community and the bottom line. The Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit was designed and developed for local governments and other community partners to help prevent wasted food in households. This community food waste prevention toolkit has been tested throughout the US and helps households save money while reducing wasted food by up to 50%. During this webinar we will present results from an evaluation report on several campaign implementations and hear from three of those communities who successfully implemented this toolkit.
Ashley Zanolli, Senior Policy and Program Advisor - Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ)
Ashley Zanolli is considered a national expert on consumer food waste prevention. Ashley is currently leading the development of a statewide strategy in Oregon to prevent the wasting of food and to engage stakeholders. Prior to her current assignment at ODEQ, Ashley co-led the West Coast Climate & Materials Management Forum for the past 5 years which is convened by EPA Regions 9 and 10. Through the Forum, she led the development, implementation and evaluation of the Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and serves on various national advisory councils, including the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. Ashley is currently on assignment from the US EPA to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Materials Management Program.
Karen May, Solid Waste Division - King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks
For the past four years, Karen May has led King County's Food: Too Good to Waste campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of food waste and to encourage residents to adopt behaviors that prevent wasted food. Karen also manages several education and outreach programs for the King County Solid Waste Division including its Master Recycler Composter volunteer program, recycling collection events and compost incentives program. She has a Master's degree in Geology from Montana State University.
Jennifer Jordan, Recycling Coordinator - City of Iowa City
In the summer of 2014, Jennifer Jordan worked with the US EPA to pilot Food: Too Good to Waste, and in addition, piloted a residential curbside food waste collection program. Jen is a certified compost operator; she has worked with commercial partners in Iowa City and Johnson County to increase the amount of food waste being diverted to the commercial compost facility at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. Jen currently serves on the Iowa Food Waste Stakeholder Coalition. Jennifer Jordan has a BA in Geography and a MA in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Iowa.
Antonia Bryson, Environment Work Group Chair - Rhode Island Food Policy Council
Through her work at the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Antonia Bryson reaches out to the local communities within the state to promote and coordinate efforts to lessen impacts of the food system on the environment. Her focus is on diverting food waste from Rhode Island's landfill, supporting composting, educating populations on food waste reduction, and helping implement the State's ban on food waste. She also serves on the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, promoting conservation practices with farmers, municipalities and nonprofits, and manages 160 acres of forest land. For 30 years she practiced environmental law in New York City. She served as a Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, as chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory board, and as Chief of the Environmental Division of the New York City Law Department. She later represented community groups and nonprofits fighting environmental degradation in their neighborhoods and citywide.
Leo Pollock is the Network Director for the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC), and has been one of the key architects in its design and development in Rhode Island. The RIFPC is dedicated to creating partnerships, developing policies, and advocating for improvements to the local food system to increase and expand its capacity, viability, and sustainability. He is also a Co-Founder of The Compost Plant. Leo previously served as the Director of Programs for the Southside Community Land Trust, and holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Development focused on environmental policy and business partnerships from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College. He serves on the Board of Hope & Main, Rhode Island's first culinary incubator, and was a 2015 Wild Gift Fellow for his work with The Compost Plant.