U.S. EPA’s Retail Strategy lays out a cohesive and effective plan to address the unique challenges the retail sector has with complying with the hazardous waste regulations while reducing burden and protecting human health and the environment.
Read the full story from NPR.
Nobody loves pesticides, exactly. But one kind of pesticide, called neonicotinoids, is provoking a particularly bitter debate right now between environmentalists and farmers. The chemicals are highly toxic to bees. Some scientists think they are partly to blame for the decline in pollinators.
For the past year, the province of Ontario, in Canada, has responded to the controversy with a novel experiment. Ontario’s government is asking farmers to prove that they actually need neonicotinoids, often called neonics. It turns out that “need” is a word that’s hard to define.
Read the full story in Governing.
In Washington state, officials have wrestled with plans to curb pollution for years. Now that one such plan is on the ballot this fall, it’s received a lukewarm response — even from the state’s environmentalists.
On December 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Refinery Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) 1 and Refinery MACT 2 regulations and the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for petroleum refineries. Subsequently, the EPA received three petitions for reconsideration of the final rules. The EPA is announcing reconsideration and request for public comment on five issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration where petitioners claim that the public was not afforded an opportunity to comment. Additionally, the EPA is proposing amendments to the final rule to clarify a compliance issue raised by stakeholders subject to the final rule and to correct a referencing error. The EPA is seeking comment only on the five identified petition issues and on the proposed compliance issue clarification and referencing error amendments. The EPA will not respond to comments addressing any other issues or any other provisions of the final rule.
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.
On Saturday, at a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, leaders from nearly 200 nations reached what they hope will be another historic agreement — a global pact to dramatically reduce emissions of HFCs. Experts say that if the reductions are implemented, global temperatures at the end of this century could be cooler by nearly half a degree Celsius.
EPA is taking swift steps to carry out requirements in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act and to reduce exposure to certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals.
“The threats from persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals are well-documented,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator in EPA’s office of chemical safety and pollution prevention. “The new law directs us to expedite action to reduce risks for these chemicals, rather than spending more time evaluating them. We are working to ensure the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act signed in June of this year delivers on the promise of better protecting the environment and public health as quickly as possible.”
The five chemicals to receive expedited action are:
- Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics and polyurethane foam;
- Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used in the manufacture of rubber compounds and lubricants and as a solvent;
- Pentachlorothio-phenol (PCTP), used as an agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
- Tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate, used as a flame retardant in consumer products and other industrial uses; and
- 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol, used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.
The statutory deadline for EPA to propose action is June 22, 2019.
The new law gave manufacturers an opportunity to request by September 19, 2016, that EPA conduct risk evaluations for the PBT chemicals on EPA’s 2014 Work Plan, as an alternative to expedited action. Requests for risk evaluations were made for two chemicals that can be used in fragrance mixtures.
For the remaining PBT chemicals, EPA must move ahead to take expedited action to reduce exposure to those chemicals to the extent practicable. After EPA finishes identifying where these chemicals are used and how people are exposed to them, the Agency will move directly to propose limitations on their use.
PBT chemicals are of particular concern because they remain in the environment for significant periods of time and concentrate in the organisms exposed to them. These pollutants can transfer among air, water, and land, and span boundaries of geography and generations.
The new amendments to TSCA will help bring significant improvements to public health as EPA continues to take the steps necessary for its successful implementation.
More about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and EPA’s implementation activities and to sign up for updates, visit: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act
Read the full story from Governing.
The water crisis in Michigan highlighted major problems with not just federal regulations but the way localities enforce them. That’s all likely to change soon.