Mar 22, 2017

Free Webinar: Better Care in Workers' Compensation: ACOEM's Documentation & Coding Initiative

    Better Care in Workers' Compensation: ACOEM's Documentation & Coding Initiative
Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:00:00 AM CST - 11:00:00 AM CST
Join us for a free NIOSH Center for Workers' Compensation Studies (CWCS) webinar on Thursday, March 23, 12-1pm Eastern, in which CWCS will discuss proposed changes to improve workers' compensation patient encounters and care. Event Schedule (all times Eastern): 12:00-12:45pm: CWCS Presentation; 12:45-1:00pm: General Audience Q/A.    Presentation Summary: In the US, every year there are more than one million workplace injuries or illnesses severe enough that days are lost from work. Injured workers require medical care and careful attention to factors that will help them recover their ability to work, but American medical practice focuses on disease diagnosis and treatment, with little attention paid to functional ability. In the workers' compensation arena, health care providers must address issues such as causation, functional impact and return-to-work planning, issues that are not represented in the most widely used payment systems, based on codes and coding rules designed for primary care and other group practice settings.    The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) supports modifying the rules for documentation of care in workers' compensation in order to provide reimbursement and other incentives to deliver care that adheres to best practices, including focus on assessing and improving patient function.   The recommended changes include alternative ground rules for documentation and coding evaluation and management encounters, physician case management services and consultation services as they relate to workers' compensation care. These alternative rules may be adopted by states or payers seeking to realign incentives toward improved functional and clinical outcomes and decreased costs.    Speakers include:   Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH, FACOEM    DISCLOSURE:  In compliance with continuing education requirements, all presenters must disclose any financial or other associations with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters as well as any use of unlabeled product(s) or product(s) under investigational use.    CDC, our planners, content experts, and their spouses/partners wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters. Planners have reviewed content to ensure there is no bias. Presentations will not include any discussion of the unlabeled use of a product or a product under investigational use.   CDC did not accept commercial support for this continuing education activity.

Mar 20, 2017

H.R. 1029, Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017

CBO: H.R. 1029 would modify the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that regulates the distribution, sale, and use of pesticides, with the aim of strengthening the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ability to evaluate and regulate pesticides. Under FIFRA, the EPA is required to evaluate the safety of new pesticides entering the market by conducting risk assessments and must periodically re-evaluate the health and environmental effects of pesticides. The EPA charges fees to pesticide manufacturers and distributors to cover the agency's costs of performing those registration and reregistration activities.

View here:

Mar 16, 2017

Trump Takes Hatchet To EPA And Foreign Aid, to use Billions on building border wall with Mexico

President Donald Trump will ask the U.S. Congress for dramatic cuts to many federal programs as he seeks to bulk up defense spending, start building a wall on the border with Mexico and spend more money deporting illegal immigrants.

In a federal budget proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia.

Trump's budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just "discretionary" spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents' budget plans. 

Congress, controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, may reject some or many of his proposed cuts. Some of the proposed changes, which Democrats will broadly oppose, have been targeted for decades by conservative Republicans.

Moderate Republicans have already expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs such as home-heating subsidies, clean-water projects and job training.

Trump is willing to discuss priorities, said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who made a name for himself as a spending hawk before Trump plucked him for his Cabinet.

"The president wants to spend more money on defense, more money securing the border, more money enforcing the laws, and more money on school choice, without adding to the deficit," Mulvaney told a small group of reporters during a preview on Wednesday.

"If they have a different way to accomplish that, we are more than interested in talking to them," Mulvaney said.

Trump wants to spend $54 billion more on defense, put a down payment on his border wall, and breathe life into a few other campaign promises. His initial budget outline does not incorporate his promise to pour $1 trillion into roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure projects. The White House has said the infrastructure plan is still to come.

The defense increases are matched by cuts to other programs so as to not increase the $488 billion federal deficit. Mulvaney acknowledged the proposal would likely result in significant cuts to the federal workforce.

"You can't drain the swamp and leave all the people in it," Mulvaney said.


Twitter
@jeffspross
Oh hey look Trump wants to fiscally gut American society. 
No big deal.

 

'AMERICA FIRST'

White House officials looked at Trump's campaign speeches and "America First" pledges as they crunched the numbers, Mulvaney said.

"We turned those policies into numbers," he said, explaining how the document mirrored pledges to spend more on the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, veterans' health care, the FBI, and Justice Department efforts to fight drug dealers and violent crime.

The Department of Homeland Security would get a 6.8 percent increase, with more money for extra staff needed to catch, detain and deport illegal immigrants.

Trump wants Congress to shell out $1.5 billion for the border wall with Mexico in the current fiscal year - enough for pilot projects to determine the best way to build it - and a further $2.6 billion in fiscal 2018, Mulvaney said.

The estimate of the full cost of the wall will be included in the full budget, expected in mid-May, which will project spending and revenues over 10 years.

Trump has vowed Mexico will pay for the border wall, which the Mexican government has flatly said it will not do. The White House has said recently that funding would be kick-started in the United States.

The voluminous budget document will include economic forecasts and Trump's views on "mandatory entitlements" - big-ticket programs like Social Security and Medicare, which Trump vowed to protect on the campaign trail.

Database of hazardous reactions launched allows scientists to submit and search for safety information not publicly cataloged elsewhere



[+]Enlarge
Screen shot of a reaction entry in the Chemical Safety Library.
A screen shot of a reaction entry in the Chemical Safety Library.
Credit: Pistoia AllianceA nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

A nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

"We feel this will be a valuable and unique set of data that is currently not available and should advance safety for all researchers," says Carmen Nitsche, executive director for business development in North America at the Pistoia Alliance, which brings together companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups to address research and development challenges in the life sciences industry.

The project started when chemists at Bristol-Myers Squibb were looking for a better way to catalog and share information about lab accidents and other adverse events. Eventually the project landed at Pistoia.

"I didn't know if we were going to get any interest" in putting together the library, says Mark Manfredi, a business capability manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb. "But right from the first meeting, we had several organizations that were interested in participating."

To use the Chemical Safety Library, chemists must first register for an account. They can then start entering reaction information, including specific reagents as well as reaction class, hazard category, scale, warning message, and additional information such as a literature reference. Pistoia worked with Millipore Sigma and Biovia to preload more than 75,000 reagents to help ensure accuracy. Library administrators review submitted reaction entries to ensure they are appropriate.

Chemists may search the library for particular reactions or reagents or even download the full data set. An organization could incorporate downloaded data into an electronic laboratory notebook system to issue an alert when a particular combination of reagents associated with a known hazard is entered. Bristol-Myers Squibb is already using the data in an electronic laboratory notebook system and an ordering system, Manfredi says.

Pistoia sees the current library tool as an experiment to gather information about the willingness of the community to populate and use the database, Nitsche says. Pistoia will analyze database use to determine the resources and technology needed to sustain the library long-term.

The library will be a "wonderful resource" for researchers to use as an additional source of information when doing hazard and risk assessments of experiments, comments Bettyann Howson, chair of the American Chemical Society's Committee on Chemical Safety. ACS also publishes C&EN. C&EN plans to encourage scientists who submit safety letters to also enter the information into the Chemical Safety Library.


Article By Jyllian Kemsley

Full credits to: Chemical & Engineering News American Chemical Society

http://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i12/Database-hazardous-reactions-launched.html


Mar 15, 2017

Vermont Chemicals Management Bill Extends to Consumer Products

(PAINT.ORG) Legislation seeking to significantly broaden chemicals management has been introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives.  H.268, An Act Relating to the Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Materials, was introduced on Feb. 14, and would revise Vermont's chemical reporting law, including requiring reporting of all consumer products. The bill would create an electronic registry for Vermont, requiring industries to list chemical substance used in their products.

The chemicals management measure follows recommendations made by a chemical task force issued in a January 2017 report the legislature. The task force was established after a 2016 law mandated its formation. The law was enacted following the detection of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA) in Bennington, Vt. drinking water.

In addition to the much broader chemical reporting, the bill provides for the elimination of the chemical ban veto power by the chemical task force, and an automatic 6-year ban of any reported chemical in children's product.

A companion chemicals management bill in the Senate, S.103 was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

The January-released recommendations of the 20-person chemical task force also included

Strengthening the community's "right-to-know" laws, as well as establishing legal recourse. As such, the legislation would also allow residents to sue ...read on at: http://www.paint.org/vermont-chemicals-management/

EPA Stays the Effective Date of New Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to temporarily stay the effective date of its Risk Management Program Rule (RMP Rule), which was slated to become effective on March 14, 2017. The RMP Rule is an amendment to the EPA's Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Program that had been promulgated under Section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act. The RMP Rule was finalized on January 13, 2017, in response to an Executive Order signed by President Obama on August 1, 2013, which had directed EPA to modernize the RMP Program. Among other things, the RMP Rule enhances the emergency preparedness requirements for regulated facilities, broadens public access to information on RMP regulated facilities, and revises accident prevention program elements.

The stay is associated with the EPA's decision to grant an industry coalition petition requesting administrative reconsideration of the RMP Rule. The EPA agreed to stay the effective date of the RMP Rule while the agency undertakes this reconsideration process. The stay is initially effective for 90 days (i.e., until June 12, 2017), however, the stay could be extended by the EPA for a longer period.  The RMP Rule is also facing legal challenges and is the target of Congressional Review Act resolutions introduced in the House and Senate.


Mar 13, 2017

Radioactive boars are running rampant in Japanese towns six years after Fukushima

As of February 13, 123,168 people from the three hardest-hit prefectures – Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima – remained displaced, including 39,598 Fukushima residents now living outside the prefecture due to the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the world's most serious nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis.

As you can see in this clip below, hunters have been hired to shoot the animals by the hundreds but many will remain when people begin returning to the region.

The government has cleared four towns in the Fukushima prefecture as being safe for people, but there's at least one issue standing in the way: Thousands of radioactive wild boars.

After people deserted the towns, wild boars emerged from local forests to scavenge for food and, according to local media, have flourished. Currently, three out of 45 commercial nuclear reactors in Japan are active and more than 10 reactors have met the supposedly more stringent post-Fukushima government safety requirements.

"In a bid to prop up the nuclear industry, the Abe government is trying to create a false reality that the disaster can be cleaned up and life in Fukushima can return to normal".

The New York Times, meanwhile, says that the boars "carry with them highly radioactive material" – with some having tested for radiation levels 300 times higher than safety standards.

The Japanese government wants residents in the surrounding area of the Fukushima power station to return home years after being evacuated. Responding to a government survey previous year, however, about half of Namie's 21,500 residents said they would not go back and cited concerns about radioactivity.

They worry that the toxic beasts could attack people returning to abandoned streets claimed by the animals, which are reportedly no longer afraid of humans. According to Baba, the need to eliminate the boars is urgent: "If we don't get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable". "They found a place that was comfortable".

"I'm sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this", Hidezo Sato, a former Namie seed merchant, told Reuters.

Source: http://normangeestar.net/2017/03/11/radioactive-boars-are-running-rampant-in-japanese-towns-six-years-after-fukushima/

Mar 9, 2017

Green Groups Petition EPA to Overhaul CAFO Regulations

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: In a wide ranging, 58-page petition criticizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) (and various state counterpart agencies') approach to the regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) under the Clean Water Act, nearly three dozen NGOs filed a petition on March 8, 2017 urging EPA to undertake comprehensive rulemaking to substantially revise its federal regulations on the subject. Among other things, the petition requests a rebuttable evidentiary presumption that all large CAFOs discharge pollutants to jurisdictional waters, which would directly conflict with controlling legal precedent regarding the limits of EPA's jurisdiction under the federal law. The petition also seeks a severe limitation of a statutory exemption for agricultural runoff caused by storm events, and the extension of the rule to hold so-called "integrators" responsible for discharges from unrelated contract livestock producers. The petition attempts to reignite the debate concerning the adequacy of EPA rules applicable to large livestock operations, a debate that has been the subject of prior court decisions at the federal circuit court of appeals level. The petition is unlikely to stir any interest in the Trump administration or EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt who recently vowed to return the agency to the "rule of order" and follow established court precedents and Congressional directives.

Large CAFOs are livestock operations that confine more than 1,000 animal units (a calculation of species-specific weight) for more than 45-days in any 12-month period. The recent trend in livestock production has been fewer farms that manage more animal numbers. This production method boasts management efficiencies as a result of scale, and proponents argue environmental impacts from livestock can be better managed via confinement and containment than rather dispersion across the country. This production method has brought with it opposition from those who live nearby the operations as well as those opposed to the scale of production.

The petition argues that substantial rule revisions are required to address everything from faulty manure storage and nutrient management technical standards to discharges of heavy metals and pharmaceuticals it alleges are present in livestock excrement. The petition alleges the federal response is needed to "fill the gaps" that state level permitting programs leave due to inadequate resources and permitting programs.

Read full and follow: Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Free @SafetyHealthMag Webinar - How to Get Employees to Stop Taking Unnecessary Risks with @tcmusick

Every organization is on a safety maturity curve, striving toward improved risk management and safety performance. To guide us along the journey and move us forward, we develop rules and regulations, implement processes and procedures, create safeguards and deliver training. Despite all of the systems, equipment and training, we are still willing to take risks. But, why do we take unnecessary risks? The answers lie in our motivations, our mindsets, and even in our emotions. New research in the areas of neuroscience and affective psychology details the role that feelings and emotions play in our decision-making process.

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    EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rule to Add Natural Gas Processing Facilities to TRI Reporting

    EPA has proposed adding natural gas processing (NGP) facilities to the scope of the industrial sectors covered by the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The proposed rule provided a 60-day comment period with comments due on or before March 7, 2017; EPA is extending the comment period. Comments are now due on or before May 6, 2017.

    Mar 8, 2017

    Canadian government scientist who smuggled bacteria in carry-on luggage gets prison time

    ​(Source:)... Nielsen's arrest followed an 18-month undercover RCMP investigation and came nearly two years after he and his business partner had been fired by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Yu is still wanted by police.

    Nielsen argued his actions were altruistic and single-handedly helped lower the cost of test kits for developing countries, where the disease is still prevalent, driving the price down to 50 cents from 85 cents and cutting heavily into the normal 90 per cent markup of the kits.

    The prosecution conceded there was no evidence Nielsen personally profited from the sale of the test kits, which he and his partner began to market after creating their own company, Peace River Biotechnology Company, in 2006.

    In sentencing the 72-year-old Nielsen, Ontario Court Justice Heather Perkins-McVey called it a "tragic case of an extraordinary man, a scientist who made decisions in his conduct that breached the trust of his employer of 30 years, and acted contrary to the public good."

    Perkins-McVey noted there were acts of dishonesty toward his employer, including the use of coded language in five years worth of emails, that suggested a degree of planning and sophistication. And while there was no evidence of bribery of international officials on behalf of Nielsen, there were indications that his business partner may have tried.

    "The motive was to promote the use of Chinese test kits, which would have had the effect of diverting customers away from using the Canadian product," said Perkins-McVey. "Both Dr. Nielsen and the co-accused used government property to start their own business. As a public servant, he was entrusted with advancing the public good."

    Nielsen's actions "shook the confidence" of the country's international relationships when it comes to patents, the judge said.

    "As a result of the accused and Ms. Yu's (alleged) actions, it may be perceived that working with CFIA comes with a risk, that Canada cannot protect their international property," the judge said.


    Mar 7, 2017

    U.S. Gov will be out of cash March 16th, when we hit Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit

    Under current law, as of March 16, the Treasury will be at the statutory borrowing limit and will need to use "extraordinary measures" to continue raising cash. Those measures would probably be exhausted sometime this fall. View Document

    U.S. Debt highest percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) since shortly after World War II.

    In fiscal year 2016, for the first time since 2009, the federal budget deficit increased in relation to the nation's economic output. The Congressional Budget Office projects that over the next decade, if current laws remained generally unchanged, budget deficits would eventually follow an upward trajectory—the result of strong growth in spending for retirement and health care programs targeted to older people and rising interest payments on the government's debt, accompanied by only modest growth in revenue collections. Those accumulating deficits would drive debt held by the public from its already high level up to its highest percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) since shortly after World War II. 

    Mar 6, 2017

    Fukushima News: Deadly Nuclear Radiation Levels Baffle Scientists Trying To Build Robot To Survive Reactor

    ibTimes: The company in charge of the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant revealed Thursday it needed new ideas to design robots capable of surviving the high levels of radiation inside the site's reactors, which were damaged in a 2011 earthquake and its resulting tsunami.

    The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has hit a new obstacle since being tasked with cleaning up the worst nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union. The exploratory robot, specially designed to navigate the underwater sections of the reactor, died last month after being exposed to "unimaginable" levels of radiation nearly nine times more potent than the previous highest dose recorded. Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning project, told reporters that the company had to rethink its methods in order to examine and extract the hazardous material stuck in the plant's second reactor.

    "We should think out of the box so we can examine the bottom of the core and how melted fuel debris spread out," Masuda said, according to the Japan Times.

    Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant began operations in 1971 and was severely damaged by a deadly March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000 people in Japan. The massive release of radiation forced the government to evacuate about 160,000 people and establish a 310-square mile exclusion zone deemed uninhabitable. Tepco has since embarked on an estimated $188 billion cleanup process that has included the treatment of contaminated water dumped on the site to prevent three out of six reactors from melting down completely.

    Tepco reportedly was scheduled to send another waterproof robot into the site's first reactor in the coming weeks as researchers searched for a solution to enter the third reactor. Despite the setbacks in reactor two, the company said it wished to remain on schedule, beginning work in 2021.

    Mar 4, 2017

    Even Robots Cannot Handle Fukushima Radiation

    Radiation from the failed reactors at Fukushima is causing clean-up robots to malfunction and fail. Naohiro Masuda, head of decommissioning for Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the plant's operator, has called for the robots to be redesigned so they can withstand the lethal conditions inside the nuclear power plant.

    In the aftermath of a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011, three of Fukushima's six reactors suffered a meltdown, forcing nearly 100,000 people living nearby to be relocated. Roughly 19,000 people were recorded as killed or missing in the disaster. 

    In the largest nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, radiation levels are so high that every robot sent to examine the site has failed.

    Last month one of these robots aborted its mission after it was blocked by what appeared to be deposits of debris and melted fuel. There have been at least two similar incidents in the past, with one robot abandoned after not being able to find fuel for several days, and another failing after falling into a gap.

    "We should think out of the box so we can examine the bottom of the core and how melted fuel debris spread out," said Masuda, according to Japan Today. He added that before alternative methods for gathering fuel can be explored, he intends to send in another robot. 

    The Japan Times quoted an email from MIT engineering and nuclear science professor Jacopo Buongiorno saying, "The road map for removing the fuel is going to be long, 2020 and beyond…The re-solidified fuel is likely stuck to the vessel wall and vessel internal structures. So the debris have to be cut, scooped, put into a sealed and shielded container and then extracted from the containment vessel. All done by robots."

    It will take at least 40 years to fully decommission the reactors, with a projected cost of tens of billions.

    A fear of the radiation has also caused Jeju Air, a low-cost South Korean air carrier, to tell its customers that they will no longer fly out of Fukushima's airport, after users posted online that they would not "board airplanes that flew over Fukushima."


    Mar 2, 2017

    Free Whitepaper on Inspections: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls and Other Workplace Hazards

    Inspections: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls and Other Workplace Hazards

    By its very nature, every workplace is hazardous. In order to prevent worker injury and create a safe working environment, employers are required to identify hazards in their facility.

    Inspections are a systematic, objective tool to recognize these potential problems, as well as provide you with the opportunity to correct them before an OSHA inspector finds you in violation.

    Written by J. J. Keller Editor Jennifer Stroschein, the free whitepaper Inspections: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls and Other Workplace Hazards covers inspection requirements and best practices, including:

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    Download your FREE whitepaper - Inspections: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls and Other Workplace Hazards.

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    UL Environment, Green Electronics Council Unveil UL ECOLOGO/EPEAT Joint-Certification for Mobile Phones

    Source: Green Electronics Council, 2/28/17.

    UL Environment, a business division of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science leader, and the Green Electronics Council (GEC), managers of the EPEAT program, today announced a collaboration enabling mobile phones certified to the ANSI/UL 110 sustainability standard to also be featured on the EPEAT Registry, which is used by public and private institutional purchasers globally to identify and buy sustainable IT products. The UL ECOLOGO/EPEAT Joint Certification is now available for brands that wish to certify mobile phones to the latest version of the UL 110 standard and make them eligible for procurements and tenders that require EPEAT-registered products.
    Read in browser »

    Funding Opportunity: The Interface Environmental Foundation

    Honorariums for Interface speakers are payable to the Interface Environmental Foundation. These funds are "recycled" into worthwhile environmental initiatives and grants to organizations focused on environmental education. The Interface Environmental Education Grant program funds environmental education projects to schools nominated by Interface employees. The program awards $1,000 grants for classroom projects teaching environmental awareness and responsibility. In 2013, the program gave a total of $22,000 in grants to schools in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Since the Grant program started in 1999, the Foundation has awarded a total of $243,000 in grants. If you are a teacher and would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact your local Interface office by visiting interface.com or contact Alice.Harrison@interface.com.

    View more information on this funding opportunity


    Read in browser »

    Mar 1, 2017

    President Issues Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda

    ​(PAINT.ORG)​  President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda." The executive order directs federal executive agencies to designate an agency official as its Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO). The order mandates each RRO to oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms, consistent with applicable law.

    These initiatives and policies include President Trump's Jan. 30-issued Executive Order 1377, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," known as the '2 for 1': whenever an executive department or agency proposes a new regulation, it is to identify two existing regulations for repeal. According to the White House, the goal is to offset the number and cost of new regulations.

    Each agency is to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations (as defined in section 4 of Executive Order 13771) and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law. According the Executive Order, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda," at a minimum, each Regulatory Reform Task Force should identify regulations that:

    (i)    eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;

    (ii)   are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;

    (iii)  impose costs that exceed benefits; or

    (iv)   create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;

    (v)    are inconsistent with the requirements of section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516 note), or the guidance issued pursuant to that provision, in particular those regulations that rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or

    (vi)   derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.

    President Trump's '2 for 1' Executive Order

    Under Executive Order 1377, in addition to identifying two regulations to be repealed for every new one, for fiscal year 2017, the total incremental cost of all new regulations should be zero, unless required by law or otherwise directed by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    Other pertinent points of Executive Order 1377:

    • It applies to significant regulatory actions only (any that imposes an annual economic cost of $100 million or more, 1993 EO 12866);
    • It does not apply to independent agencies; but independent agencies are encouraged to identify existing regulations to offset costs of new significant regulatory actions;
    • Costs should be measured as opportunity costs to society, which is defined as "the net benefit [a] resource would have provided in the absence of the requirement";
    • Agencies may not use previously calculated costs from Regulatory Impact Analyses for cost estimates, and must instead use "the most current information available"; and
    • Guidance or interpretive documents may be addressed on case-by-case basis.
      ​​

    New York PaintCare(R) Bill Passed by Senate Environmental Committee

    (PAINT.ORG)  The New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee approved legislation that would establish the PaintCare® program in that state, if enacted. The Senate bill, S. 881, which is sponsored by Sen. Tom O'Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), would mandate the industry-sponsored paint stewardship program and reduce a costly burden on local governments that are currently responsible for collecting and disposing of most post-consumer, unused paint.

    In New York, the legislation has received strong support on the Senate side over the past two years — it received unanimous Senate approval in 2016; but a companion bill in the Assembly, A. 1038, sponsored by Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-Syracuse) has not fared as well. That bill is currently awaiting action by the Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee.

    Since 2008, Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, Maine, Colorado, and the District of Columbia have enacted the ACA- and industry-conceived platform for the proper and effective management of post-consumer paint.

    O'Mara, who chairs the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said that the legislation would create local jobs, provide relief to local property taxpayers, and encourage environmentally sound recycling and disposal of unused paint in New York State. He pointed to the initiative as an example of how government and industry can work together to implement effective environmental policies and programs.

    "This legislation exemplifies how much we can accomplish by working together with industry on important environmental concerns. Seeking common ground and cooperation, rather than government cramming unreasonable demands down the throat of industry, can help give New York State a more business-friendly environment and actually result in better, more workable laws," O'Mara said. "Working together can go a long way on reaching an end result on other important issues that would benefit our state fiscally, economically and environmentally. The Assembly Democratic leadership should take action this session."

    The Product Stewardship Institute  has estimated that approximately 3.1 million gallons of paint go unused each year in New York State — with the costs of collecting and managing the paint's disposal mostly falling on local governments. According to Sen. O'Mara, the legislation, through which paint manufacturers would be responsible for managing the recycling and disposal of unused paint, would save local governments approximately $25 million annually. Read full at http://www.paint.org/new-york-paintcare-bill/

    Congressional Review Act Resolution Introduced to Block Final EPA RMP Rule

    (PAINT.ORG) Earlier this month, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) introduced H.J.Res.59, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution that blocks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act Rule (RMP rule). Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) is the Senate sponsor of this CRA joint resolution.

    On Feb. 9, Sen. Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the RMP final rule. He outlined some the major concerns that the regulated community has with the RMP rule. At the end of his remarks, he called on the Senate to consider taking further action on this "midnight" regulation.

    The Congressional Review Act, passed in 1996, allows Congress to vote to overturn any regulation during a period of 60 days after the regulation has been created.  Regulations created at the end of the Obama Administration are subject to be overturned, so long as it is within the 60-day "in-session" period of Congress.

    In January, ACA signed onto a coalition letter to Congressional leaders expressing major concern over EPA's final RMP rule. ACA and 20 other trade associations maintain that the final RMP rule not only imposes significant new costs without identifying or quantifying the safety benefits that will be achieved through these new requirements; but that it may actually compromise the security of facilities, emergency responders, and communities. As such, the trade associations urged Congress to disapprove the final RMP rule under the Congressional Review Act.

    In the letter, ACA and the other trade associations underscored that the current RMP regulations include requirements that have produced and will continue to drive continuous safety improvements, provide robust protection for our employees and the public, and are not in need of revision.

    EPA issued the final RMP rule in mid-January, stating that the amendments made to the final rule were aimed at modernizing RMP by (1) making changes to the accident prevention program requirements, (2) enhancing the emergency response and preparedness requirements, and (3) modifying the information availability requirements.

    A memorandum signed by President Trump last week put a "regulatory freeze" on certain regulations, including RMP.  As a result, the rule's new effective date is March 21, 2017.

    On March 14, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations in response to Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The proposal included several significant changes to the accident prevention program requirements, including a strict third-party auditing regime and expanded access to sensitive facility-specific chemical information. Following the proposal, EPA received numerous comments from various sources raising concern, including members of the paint and coatings industry and advocates that called on EPA to reconsider its proposed changes to RMP.

    Nevertheless, EPA published its final rule in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017, with an effective date of March 21, 2017. Despite EPA's contention that it took each comment received into consideration, several of its proposed amendments remain in the final rule. The following highlights three major concerns that ACA and its industry have with the RMP amendments.

    Purpose of the Amendments
    During this rulemaking process, EPA was required to weigh the benefits of improving chemical facility safety against the costs imposed on the regulated community. However, EPA did not demonstrate that the benefits of having additional safety requirements justify the complementary regulatory costs. The final rule does not enhance chemical facility safety; rather, it creates significant administrative burdens for facilities and higher costs (money, time, resources) with very little commensurate benefit. More than 12,500 facilities, including several paint and coatings industry facilities, are negatively impacted without any reduction in the risk of accidental releases.

    Third-Party Compliance Audit Requirements
    The new requirement for facilities to engage independent, third-party compliance auditors when there is an RMP reportable accident or there are findings of significant noncompliance by an implementing agency is unsubstantiated, unreasonable, and costly (time, money, resources). There is no evidence that third-party audits will be more rigorous or safer than an internal audit. Moreover, the quality of a compliance audit depends on the auditor's training, familiarity with the process being audited, and experience, rather than whether the auditor is a third-party. Lastly, the added independence requirements for third-party auditors severely limits the availability of qualified auditors.

    Information Sharing Requirements
    The final rule requires companies to provide facility-specific chemical information (i.e., list of hazardous chemicals, emergency response program, scheduled exercises, etc.) to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) during coordination, and to any member of the public upon request, which creates both local and national security concerns. While the final rule does include provisions for classified and confidential business information — which somewhat addresses concerns of chemical information security — EPA provides no evidence that these new information sharing requirements would in fact improve community emergency response planning.

    Feb 28, 2017

    Dell Ships First Recycled Ocean Plastics Packaging in Its Industry

    Dell announces the technology industry's first shipment of ocean plastics packaging, the result of an innovative, commercial-scale pilot program. Dell recycled plastics collected from waterways and beaches for use in the new packaging tray for its Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, building on Dell's broader sustainable supply chain strategy. In 2017, its ocean plastics pilot will keep 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean. Dell will transition its award-winning XPS 13 2-in-1 to ocean plastics packaging beginning April 30, 2017. The company also will include educational information on its packaging to raise global awareness and action on ocean ecosystem health solutions, an area of shared interest between Dell, its Social Good Advocate, Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation. To help ensure the packaging does not end up back in the oceans, Dell will stamp each tray with the No. 2 recycling symbol, designating it as HDPE (which is commonly recyclable in many locations). Dell's Packaging team designs and sources its product packaging to be more than 93 percent recyclable by weight so that it can be reused as part of the circular economy. 

    Source: 

    Feb 27, 2017

    EPA to Host March 9th FREE Webinar on New Online Tool: Model My Watershed

    EPA's Watershed Academy is pleased to sponsor the 92nd free Webcast Seminar on Thursday, March 9, 2017:

    "Model My Watershed: A Tool for Water Resource Management"

    Speakers:
    Dr. Anthony Aufdenkampe, Senior Environmental Scientist, LimnoTech
    Dr. Barry M. Evans, Senior Research Associate, Penn State University and Adjunct Faculty member at Stroud Water Research Center
    Bill Brown, Chief, TMDL Development Section, PA Department of Environmental Protection

    Join us for a Webcast on a new web-based tool called Model My Watershed. This tool is part of a larger web application called WikiWatershed that is being developed by the Stroud Water Research Center (see www.wikiwatershed.org). Model My Watershed is a user friendly, online watershed modeling Web application intended for use by citizens, conservation practitioners, municipal decision-makers, educators, students, and others. This tool enables users to:

    • Analyze nationally-available landscape, climate and other datasets in their neighborhoods and watersheds;
    • Model stormwater runoff and water quality impacts using professional-grade models; and
    • Compare how different conservation or development scenarios could modify runoff and water quality.

    Model My Watershed allows users to learn how land use and soil together determine whether rainfall infiltrates into the soil, runs off into streams, or is evaporated and transpired by plants. This Internet tool is intended to provide an easy-to-use professional-grade modeling package to inform land use decisions, support conservation practices, and enhance watershed education.

    The Webcast will provide background on the tool, will demonstrate the tool, and will highlight how this tool is being used by several states and others for their total maximum daily load, nonpoint source, and municipal stormwater programs.

    Webcast participants are eligible to receive a certificate for their attendance. The Webcast presentations are posted in advance at http://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/watershed-academy-webcast-seminars and participants are encouraged to download them prior to the Webcast.

    2 hour audio Web broadcast
    Eastern 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific 10:00 am – 12:00 pm


    Local watershed organizations, municipal leaders and others are invited to sign up for these free, online webcast training sessions. Attendees must register in advance to participate in webcasts. During the webcasts, trainees log onto the web to participate in live training conducted by expert instructors. Your computer must have the capability of playing sound in order to attend the webcasts. The Watershed Academy offers a certificate to those who attend webcasts. Streaming audio versions of past webcasts are available.


    Feb 24, 2017

    EPA will host free Webinar on Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) March 7

    EPA's WIFIA program will host two webinars for prospective borrowers that will explain the process for submitting and evaluating WIFIA letters of interest. These webinars will be held on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET and Tuesday, March 7,  2017 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. To access the webinars, register in advance for either the February 9 or March 7 webinar. 

    EPA hosted six information sessions around the country and a webinar series in Fall 2016 to:

    • Foster a greater understanding of the WIFIA program requirements;
    • Clarify the purpose and goals of the WIFIA program; and
    • Pave the way for successful applications to the program.

    View the webinar presentations.