Sep 19, 2018

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposal to Reconsider RMP Rule Amendments

(ACA) On July 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a notice of data availability and extension of the comment period for its May 30 proposed rule to reconsider the final Risk Management Program (RMP) amendments. The extension follows an inquiry from nonprofit EarthJustice, which questions 2017 RMP data that EPA collected from industrial facilities and used to roll back the RMP amendments.

EPA officially finalized the RMP amendments on Jan. 13, 2017; however, the effective date of the final RMP amendments was delayed several times, with the last one delaying the amendments until Feb.19, 2019. Since the final RMP amendments have not become effective yet, EPA is now proposing to rollback several provisions of that 2017 RMP rule. Among others, EPA is proposing to rescind amendments relating to third-party compliance audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigations, and information availability to the public. In addition, EPA is also proposing to retain, modify, or incorporate some amendments relating to local emergency response coordination, emergency response exercises, and CBI protections. More information can also be found on EPA's website.

The agency is now accepting comments on its proposal through Aug. 23, 2018ACA is seeking member input on any concerns with EPA's latest proposal.

In general, EPA's RMP program applies to all stationary sources with processes that contain more than a threshold of a regulated substance. The program's elements are intended to prevent accidental releases and reduce the severity of releases that occur. All sources must prepare and submit an RMP to EPA at least every five years. In addition, RMP Program 3 facilities involve processes subject to OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) standard or are in one of the specified NAICS codes, such as chemical manufacturing. Together, PSM and RMP form the regulatory framework for prevention of catastrophic chemical accidents at fixed facilities. Several ACA companies have facilities subject to RMP requirements, particularly Program 3 facilities, which have the most stringent requirements. ACA's main concern with the 2017 RMP amendments was that the changes would not actually enhance chemical facility safety, but would instead create significant administrative burdens and higher compliance costs without commensurate benefits in safety.

In May 2017, ACA submitted comments to EPA in support of the agency's proposed rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP regulation. ACA underscored that during this proposed delay, the existing RMP regulations will remain in place, and noted that the already robust RMP requirements have resulted in a steady decline in reportable accidental releases over the past 20 years. From 2004 to 2013, EPA data shows that there were roughly 12,500 facilities subject to RMP. During that 10-year span, 92 percent of these facilities had no RMP reportable accidents. This decline in reportable accidental chemical releases is expected to continue under the existing RMP regulations.

The 2017 RMP rule amendments encountered extreme resistance since EPA first issued them in mid-January 2017. EPA stated 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. However, numerous industry members and trade associations pushed back against implementation of these amendments.

OSHA Proposes Rule to Better Protect Personally Identifiable Information

(ACA) On July 30, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular individual by removing provisions of the "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" rule. OSHA believes that this proposal maintains safety and health protections for workers while also reducing the burden to employers of complying with the current rule. 

The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). In addition, OSHA is proposing to require covered employers to submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN) electronically along with their injury and illness data submission.

In the May 2016 "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" final rule (81 FR 29624), the recordkeeping regulation was revised to require establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from the OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 to OSHA annually. Establishments in certain industries with 20-249 employees are required only to electronically submit information from only the OSHA Form 300A — the summary form. This proposed rule would amend OSHA's recordkeeping regulation by rescinding the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from the OSHA Forms 300 and 301 — the individual forms.

OSHA is seeking comment on this proposal, particularly on its impact on worker privacy, including the risks posed by exposing workers' sensitive information to possible FOIA disclosure. OSHA will be accepting comments on the proposed rulemaking through Sept. 28, 2018.

OSHA's regulation at 29 CFR part 1904 requires employers to collect a variety of information on occupational injuries and illnesses. Much of this information may be sensitive for workers, including descriptions of their injuries and the body parts affected. Under OSHA's regulation, employers with more than 10 employees in most industries must keep those records at their establishments. Employers covered by these rules must record each recordable employee injury and illness on an OSHA Form 300, the "Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses," or equivalent. Covered employers must also prepare a supplementary OSHA Form 301, the "Injury and Illness Incident Report" or equivalent, to provide additional details about each case recorded on the OSHA Form 300. OSHA requires employers to provide these records to others under certain circumstances but imposes limits on the disclosure of personally identifying information. Finally, at the end of each year, these employers are required to prepare a summary report of all injuries and illnesses on the OSHA Form 300A, the "Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses," and post the form in a visible location in the workplace.

Form 301 requires the collection of much sensitive information about each individual worker's job-linked illness or injury, information an employer must collect with or without the worker's consent. While some of the information is likelier to be regarded as particularly sensitive.

Form 300 requires employers to log much of this individual information — notably, descriptions of injuries and the body parts affected — for each individual worker and incident. Form 300A, by contrast, merely summarizes incident data without any traceable connection to individual workers.

Under the current recordkeeping rule, the deadline for electronic submission of Calendar Year (CY) 2017 information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301 was July 1, 2018. In subsequent years, the deadline is
March 2. OSHA is not currently accepting the Form 300 or 301 data and will not enforce the deadlines for these two forms without further notice while this rulemaking is underway. The electronic portal collecting Form 300A data is accepting CY 2017 data, although submissions after July 1, 2018, will be marked late.

California DTSC Proposes Priority Product for Paint and Varnish Strippers and Graffiti Removers Containing NMP

(ACA) On Aug.28, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) proposed listing paint and varnish strippers and graffiti removers containing 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) as Priority Products under its Safer Consumer Products Regulations. DTSC issued a Draft Product-Chemical Profile, which describes the information upon which it relied in making the determination that this product-chemical combination meets the identification and prioritization factors outlined for the Regulations: (1) there is potential for human and other organism exposure to NMP in paint and varnish strippers and graffiti removers; and (2) the exposure has the potential to contribute to or cause significant or widespread adverse impacts. Comments on the draft profile are due to DTSC by Oct. 1 via a portal at CalSAFER.

If listed as a priority product, companies must comply with requirements for reporting and identifying alternatives pursuant to the SCP regulations.

The California Safer Consumer Products Regulations were finalized in October 2013. The first category of products listed in July 2017 is children's foam-padded sleeping products containing certain flame retardants. The second category, spray polyurethane foam with unreacted MDI, was just listed in July 2018. Since no one manufactures the sleeping products and the spray polyurethane foam listing is brand new, no business has implement the voluminous analysis required by the regulations. The other two product categories, carpets and rugs with PFAS and laundry detergents with NPE, are still in the proposal phase.

Paint and varnish stripper products containing 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) are proposed as the fifth category of products to be regulated as a "Priority Product" under the California Safer Consumer Product Regulations.

DTSC will be hosting a public workshop to summarize the draft profile on Sept. 18, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PT) in Room 550 in the Cal EPA building. The hearing will be broadcast via webinar, as well, but participants must pre-register by clicking here.

Notably, exact data about amount of paint strippers with NMP sold in California is not available.  A survey shows methylene chloride paint strippers are more commonly sold, but a number of paint strippers also use NMP as a methylene chloride substitute.  NMP is a HPV (High Production Volume) chemical according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with 194.7 million pounds manufactured or imported in the United States in 2012.

Read full at: https://www.paint.org/dtsc-nmp/

Senate Introduces Bill to Reauthorize CFATS program for Five Years

(ACA) On Sept. 4, a bill to reauthorize for five years the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was introduced in the U.S. Senate. S. 3405, The Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act, would extend CFATS beyond the current January 2019 sunset date. A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives has yet to be introduced.

CFATS is an important program aimed at preventing chemicals from being stolen, diverted, sabotaged, or deliberately released by terrorist or other bad actors. DHS CFATS regulations were issued as a final rule in November 2007; however, DHS implements the CFATS program under a variety of short-term authorizations by Congress.

Under CFATS, chemical facilities possessing more than a threshold amount of specific explosive, toxic, or other "chemicals of interest" determined by DHS, are required to complete a "top-screen," notifying DHS that they possess such chemicals on site. Once a facility submits its top-screen, DHS can direct the facility to submit a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA). The SVA provides the basis for DHS to assign the facility to one of four tiers: Tiers 1 and 2 being the highest risk, and Tiers 3 and 4 being the lowest. Tier assignment triggers a requirement to submit a Site Security Plan (SSP) or an Alternative Security Plan (ASP) to DHS for authorization and approval.

CFATS currently covers approximately 3,400 chemical facilities, which have been assessed to present a risk of terrorist attack or exploitation.

In addition to reauthorizing CFATS for five years, the proposed legislation also reforms the current CFATS program in the following ways:

  • Grants a request by the explosives industry to be exempted from the requirements in favor of existing regulations by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;
  • Prevents DHS from inspecting a facility more often than once every two years, or every three years if it's in a new voluntary recognition program;
  • Allows Tier 3 and Tier 4 facilities to opt out from a requirement that they submit employee information to be screened for terrorist ties; and
  • Requires DHS to conduct a formal rulemaking if it adds new chemicals to the program and would give facility operators more information explaining how they were evaluated for security risk.

These changes comport with some of the effective solutions ACA suggested to implement and improve chemical security. ACA submitted recommendations to Congress for CFATS enhancements compiled from ACA's member companies, who own and operate paint, coatings, resin, or chemical manufacturing facilities. Some of these facilities are subject to CFATS, with a clear majority being classified as Tier 4 facilities, while just a few are Tier 3.

EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seek to Repeal 2015 WOTUS Definition

(PAINT) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to repeal a 2015 regulation that expanded the definition of "Waters of the United States," or WOTUS. The 2015-promulgated rule gave the federal government jurisdiction over some of the smallest waterways in the country — including authority over smaller bodies of water EPA doesn't already regulate. On June 29, 2018, EPA and the Army Corps signed a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking — an earlier proposal sought to rescind the 2015 rule — clarifying that the agencies are proposing to permanently repeal the 2015 rule in its entirety and recodify the pre-2015 regulations, which have a longstanding regulatory framework.

By way of background, on July 27, 2017 EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule to rescind the 2015 definition, which set the process in motion, in accordance with the Presidential directive in Executive Order 13778, "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the "Waters of the United States" Rule." In addition to this proposal to rescind the 2015 definition, EPA also issued a final rule on Jan. 31 delaying of the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule until 2020.

ACA supports reverting back the pre-2015 WOTUS definition and submitted comments on Aug. 13 to EPA noting that this step toward the "old" definition will provide continuity and certainty for regulated entities, the States, agency staff, and the public.

Notably, on June 8, Judge Lisa Wood in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted an injunction to 11 states that had sought relief from the 2015 WOTUS rule. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin were granted the injunction in Georgia v. Pruitt. The decision followed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Jan. 22 that lawsuits over the 2015 Clean Water Rule will be heard in federal district courts. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision effectively nullified a nationwide stay issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Oct. 9, 2015. Thirteen states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — had sued for a stay, arguing that EPA went outside its authority because the final rule violates state sovereignty, asserting jurisdiction over waters that are subject to state rather than federal control.


Sep 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence—Clinical Guidance for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Summary
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding clinicians seeing patients from the areas affected by Hurricane Florence to maintain a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning. Other people who may be exposed to the same CO source may need to be identified and assessed.

The signs and symptoms of CO exposure are variable and nonspecific. A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild CO poisoning. Other symptoms may include dizziness, flu-like symptoms without a fever, drowsiness, chest pain, and altered mental status.

Clinical manifestations of severe CO poisoning include tachycardia, tachypnea, hypotension, metabolic acidosis, dysrhythmias, myocardial ischemia or infarction, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, neurologic findings including irritability, impaired memory, cognitive and sensory disturbances, ataxia, altered or loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death, although any organ system might be involved.

Although CO poisoning can be fatal to anyone, children, pregnant women, the unborn, persons with sickle cell disease, older adults, and persons with chronic illness (e.g., heart or lung disease) are particularly vulnerable.

Background
High winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Florence began affecting the southeastern U.S. around September 12, 2018. Impact on the southeast coast and inland led to thousands of people without power.  Those without power may turn to alternate power sources such as gasoline generators and may use propane or charcoal grills for cooking. If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to CO build up inside buildings, garages, or campers and poison the people and animals inside.

With a focused history of patient activities and health symptoms, exposure to a CO source may become apparent. Appropriate and prompt diagnostic testing and treatment are crucial to reduce morbidity and prevent mortality from CO poisoning. Identifying and mitigating the CO source is critical in preventing other poisoning cases.

Recommendations for Clinicians

  1. Consider CO poisoning in patients affected by Hurricane Florence, particularly those in areas currently without power. Assess symptoms and recent patient activities that point to likely CO exposure. Evaluation should also include examination for other conditions, including smoke inhalation, trauma, medical illness, or intoxication.
  2. Administer 100% oxygen until the patient is symptom-free or until a diagnosis of CO poisoning has been ruled out.
  3. Perform COHgb testing when CO poisoning is suspected. Venous or arterial blood may be used for testing. A fingertip pulse multiple wavelength spectrophotometer, or CO-oximeter, can be used to measure heart rate, oxygen saturation, and COHgb levels in the field, but any suspicion of CO poisoning should be confirmed with a COHgb level by multiple wavelength spectrophotometer (CO-oximeter). A conventional two-wavelength pulse oximeter is not accurate when COHgb is present. For more information, see https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/co_guidance.html.
  4. An elevated carboxyhemoglobin (COHgb) level of 2% or higher for non-smokers and 9% or higher COHgb level for smokers strongly supports a diagnosis of CO poisoning. The COHgb level must be interpreted in light of the patient's exposure history and length of time away from CO exposure, as levels gradually fall once the patient is removed from the exposure. In addition, carbon monoxide can be produced endogenously as a by-product of heme metabolism. Patients with sickle cell disease can have an elevated COHgb level as a result of hemolytic anemia or hemolysis. For additional information about interpretation of COHgb levels, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/co_guidance.html or call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222.
  5. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) should be considered in consultation with a toxicologist, hyperbaric oxygen facility, or Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222. For additional management considerations, consult a toxicologist, Poison Control at (800) 222-1222, or a hyperbaric oxygen facility.
  6. Be aware that CO exposure may be ongoing for others spending time in or near the same environment as the patient. These individuals should be evaluated and tested as described in this advisory.
  7. Clinicians treating people for CO poisoning should notify emergency medical services (EMS), the fire department, or law enforcement to investigate and mitigate the source and advise people when it is safe to return.
  8. Advise patients about safe practices related to generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices. Stress that that these devices should never be used inside an enclosed space, home, basement, garage, or camper — or even outside near an open window or window air conditioner. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/co/pdfs/generators.pdf.

For More Information 
Clinical Guidance for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning After a Disaster 
https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/co_guidance.html

NIOSH Hurricane Recovery Resources Guidance for emergency response and recovery workers and volunteers Emergency Responder Key Messages

Guidance for emergency response and recovery workers and volunteers
Emergency Responder Key Messages

Emergency response and recovery workers and volunteers face many kinds of dangers in the aftermath of a Hurricane. Knowing what kinds of hazards you'll face and steps you can take to work safely helps you be a more effective responder. Read this guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) about how to work safely and avoid hazards such as carbon monoxide, mold, and heat stress.

Here


Scheduled to be published in Federal Register 9/19 - Elimination of Insulin Exemption

FMCSA plans to publish in tomorrow's Federal Register the announcement that " individuals with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) to be qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce"  This will put the responsibility on the examiners, essentially relying on the information provided by the treating clinician on the  Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form (ITDM Assessment Form), MCSA-5870.   

The Treating Clinician is defined as the  health care provider who manages and prescribes insulin for the individual. The TC is to review 3 months of glucose logs and attests that the individual maintains a stable insulin regimen and proper control of his or her diabetes on the form which the examiner reviews and then performs an exam. 

The driver would be disqualified if they experience a severe hypoglycemic episode - defined as severe hypoglycemic episode as one requiring the assistance of others, or resulting in loss of consciousness, seizure, or coma. Drivers with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy should also be disqualified.

Significant differences with current process - no exemption, no annual eye exam, no annual visit and quarterly evaluation by endocrinologist 

Pre-publication announcement at 
 
 

Cornell looking for an assistant professor level an environmental anthropologist

The Department of Anthropology at Cornell University invites applications for a tenure-track position in environmental anthropology at the rank of Assistant Professor. We seek a colleague who takes an ethnographic approach to the study of climate change and/or climate change science. Successful candidates will have expertise in environmental justice, political ecology, the politics of environmental knowledge production, and/or other approaches to the study of human-environment relations. We particularly welcome applications from anthropologists with intellectual commitments to the Himalayas, Latin America, the greater Middle East, Europe, and/or East Asia, although candidates with intellectual commitments in other regions are also encouraged to apply.
Candidates should be prepared to teach a range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level that contribute to the overall mission of the department and develop their own area of specialty. They should also be committed to mentoring graduate students. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. at the time of appointment.

Apply:

“Workers’ rights are human rights" workers poisoned by toxic substances, says UN expert

GENEVA (12 September 2018) – Exposure of workers to toxic substances can and should be considered a form of exploitation and is a global health crisis, says a UN expert.

On Wednesday, UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, told the UN Human Rights Council that governments and companies must strengthen protection for workers, their families and their communities from any exposure to toxic chemicals.

One worker dies approximately every 30 seconds from exposure to toxic chemicals, pesticides, radiation and other hazardous substances, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). Global supply chains are often implicated for failing to protect workers from toxic exposures and refusing to provide an effective remedy for individuals harmed.

"Workers' rights are human rights. No one should be denied their basic human rights, including the rights to life and health because of the work they perform," said Tuncak.

"Inaction is not an option. Governments have a duty and businesses a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of workers," added Tuncak.

The UN expert said that poverty, gender, age, ethnicity and migration are among the themes that frequently recur in cases of workers and toxic harms.

"Those most at risk of exposure are those who are most vulnerable to exploitation: people living in poverty, children, women, migrant workers, people with disabilities, and older people. The economic insecurity of workers who are typically exposed to toxic substances is often exploited," said Tuncak.

"Irregular or undocumented migrant workers are at extreme risk of exploitation by employers who seek to reap the benefits of unfair competition. Clandestine movements, people trafficking and modern slavery frequently coincide with the exposure of migrant workers to toxic substances."

In his report, Tuncak examines the situation of workers exposed to toxic and otherwise hazardous substances worldwide. He proposes 15 principles intended to help governments, businesses and others respect and protect workers from toxic exposures in and around the workplace and to provide remedies for violations of their rights. A detailed annex catalogues cases addressed by the mandate in the past decade.



(*) The UN experts: Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes  

The UN experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Read the full report.



For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights –Media Unit ( jlaurence at ohchr.org)

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration –translated into a world record 500 languages–is rooted in the principle that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org

Sep 17, 2018

The EPA is announcing $2.4 million in a grant for the National Brownfields Training Conferences Co-Sponsorship FY 2019-2024

The EPA anticipates award of one cooperative agreement to an eligible recipient who will be the primary non-federal co-sponsor for the next three National Brownfields Training Conferences. The National Brownfields Training Conferences provide training, research and technical assistance to communities to facilitate the inventory of brownfield sites, site assessments and remediation of brownfield sites, community involvement, and site preparation. The primary non-federal co-sponsor will use this funding to assist non-federal personnel (states, tribes, local governments, non-profits, industry and community groups) in participating in three National Brownfields Training Conferences, to be planned and held over a five-year period, beginning in 2019. EPA will be the primary federal co-sponsor.The proposal deadline is October 19, 2018.

 

To Apply:

Sep 6, 2018

APHA-Occupational Health and Safety Section Fall Webinar Series

The first webinar will be 
"Updating APHA Policy Statements: Occupational Lead Poisoning Case Study",
and will be presented by members of our Section Nancy Simcox and Marianne Sullivan.


The webinar is scheduled on Wednesday, September 12th at 1PM (EST).
You can register here: 

 
The second webinar will be 
"Improving Working Conditions for Bangladesh Garment Workers – What Works and What Doesn't Work",
 and will be presented by Garrett Brown.

The webinar is scheduled on Thursday, September 27th at 1PM (EST).
You can register here:

 
And third webinar will be 
"Preventing and Reducing Opioids Use and Exposure the in Workplace", 
and will be organized by Chip Hughes and sponsored by NIEHS and the Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health at Mount Sinai.

The webinar is scheduled on Wednesday, October 17th at 1PM (EST).
Registration information will be available soon!

Aug 15, 2018

Updates to Wisconsin Porposed SPS 330-Fire Department Safety and Health Standards

Update on proposed SPS 330
SPS 330-Fire Department Safety and Health Standards

The Department of Safety and Professional Services is pleased to announce legislative approval of CR-17-067 regarding SPS 330 Fire Department Safety and Health Standards.  The rule will be published at the end of September 2018 and become effective October 1, 2018.  Here is a link to the updated code package:  CR 17-067/SPS 330.

Aug 1, 2018

EIA & FERC DATA SHOW RENEWABLES PROVIDING MORE ELECTRICITY THAN NUCLEAR IN 27 U.S. STATES AND MORE THAN COAL IN A THIRD

(NIRS) Washington DC – Citing concerns about "national security" and "grid reliability," the Trump Administration is weighing options for subsidizing and preventing the closure of environmentally polluting nuclear and coal plants made uneconomic by growing competition from renewable energy and natural gas. However, an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) suggests that such concerns are not only unfounded but the trend is also potentially too late to reverse.

A review of 2017 state-by-state data presented in EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" report reveals that renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) are now providing more electricity than nuclear power in over half the states and more electricity than coal in a third [see Note A]. And the numbers continue to shift in favor of renewable sources, particularly as falling renewable energy prices and declining electricity demand make nuclear and coal ever-more uneconomic.

Nationwide, according to FERC's latest "Energy Infrastructure Update," renewable sources now account for 20.66% of the total available installed generating capacity. That is more than double the generating capacity of the nation's nuclear power plants (9.12%) and is rapidly approaching the capacity of the nation's coal plants (23.04%), which has dropped precipitously from 28.90% just five years ago. [1]

Moreover, FERC reports that proposed generation additions and retirements over the next three years could result in a net loss of an additional 15,898-MW of coal capacity and an increase of just 756-MW of nuclear capacity [see Note B] while utility-scale renewable sources are projected to mushroom with 156,981-MW of new capacity -- primarily from wind (90,981-MW) and solar (52,216-MW). [2]  And the potential growth in solar does not include distributed, small-scale PV systems (e.g., rooftop solar) which could account for an additional 30% or more in solar capacity.

Renewable energy critics are quick to note that generating "capacity" is not the same as actual electrical "generation" because nuclear and coal typically have higher capacity factors than most renewable sources. True enough, but ...

In terms of actual "generation," renewables are now neck-and-neck with nuclear power ... and may hold a small lead. The most recent EIA data show renewables (including distributed solar) providing 20.17% of the nation's electrical generation during the first five months of 2018 compared to 20.14% from nuclear power. In fact, during the two most recent months reflected in EIA's data (i.e., April & May 2018), renewables provided 10.6% more electricity than did nuclear power. [3]  (Renewables also similarly outpaced nuclear power twice last year -- in March and April 2017.)

While coal still provides a greater share of U.S. electrical generation (26.6% for the first five months of 2018) than renewables, it is in a tailspin -- dropping from 39.0% five years ago -- while renewables have grown from a 14.3% share over the same period. [4]

These trends are likewise playing themselves out on the state level.

End-of-the-year data issued by EIA for calendar year 2017 reveal that nuclear power is now providing no electrical generation in 20 states plus Washington DC. Of these, four states have gone nuclear-free in recent years (CO, ME, OR, VT). Consequently, renewables are now providing more electricity than nuclear power in 27 states plus Washington DC; solar (utility-scale + distributed) alone is outpacing nuclear in 21 states while wind alone already exceeds nuclear in 22 states and is rapidly closing the gap in others. Even in six states still using nuclear power (CA, IA, KS, MN, TX, WA), renewable sources are providing more electricity. [5]

In addition, utility-scale renewable energy sources are out-producing electrical generation by coal in 17 states (plus Washington DC). Further, EIA reports no  electrical generation from coal in 2017 in two states (Rhode Island and Vermont) as well as Washington DC. [6]

"EIA and FERC data underscore that the renewable energy train has left the station," noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "Trying to reverse that situation with costly subsidies for environmentally-polluting nuclear power and coal defies common sense."

"Nuclear and coal simply can't compete with renewable energy," said Tim Judson, Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. "Renewables will be generating more power than nuclear by 2020, and nuclear is poised for the same precipitous decline as coal in the coming years."

KEY  FINDINGS:

Nuclear Power vs. Renewables: *
Utility-Scale + Distributed Solar-Generated Electricity Exceeds Nuclear Power in 21 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, ID, IN, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, WV, WY, + DC

 
Utility-Scale Wind-Generated Electricity Exceeds Nuclear Power in 22 states:
AK, CO, DE, HI,  IA, ID, IN, KS, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY (in addition, wind-generated electricity is close to that from nuclear power in Washington state; the gap is also small in Nebraska)

Utility-Scale Wind + Utility-Scale & Distributed Solar Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 24 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WV, WY, + DC

 
Utility-Scale Non-Hydro Renewables Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 25 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY, + DC (in addition, the numbers are very close in Minnesota; non-hydro renewables should outpace nuclear power in 2018 if they did not already do so in 2017)

All Utility-Scale Renewables Combined Exceed Nuclear Power in 27 states + DC:
AK, CA, CO, DE, HI, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, ME, MN, MT,  ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY, + DC

*EIA reports no electrical generation by nuclear power in 20 states (AK, CO, DE, HI, ID, IN, KY, ME, MT, ND, NM, NV, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, VT, WV, WY) + DC.
 

Coal vs. Renewables: **
Utility-Scale + Distributed Solar-Generated Electricity Exceeds Coal in 9 states + DC:
CA, CT, ID, MA, NJ, NV, NY, RI, VT, + DC

Utility-Scale Wind-Generated Electricity Exceeds Coal in 11 states:
CA, ID, ME, NH, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA

Utility-Scale Non-Hydro Renewables Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 15 states + DC:
CA, CT, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC

Utility-Scale Wind + Utility-Scale & Distributed Solar Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 16 states + DC:
CA, CT, HI, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC

All Utility-Scale Renewables Combined Exceed Coal-Generated Electricity in 17 states + DC:
AK, CA, CT, HI, ID, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, + DC (in addition, utility-scale renewables almost equaled the electrical output of coal in Kansas in 2017 and could exceed it in 2018; Iowa is also very close in coal vs. utility-scale renewable energy)

** EIA reports no electrical generation by coal in Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington DC.

 

# # # # # # # # #
Sources:
 
[2] https://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2018/may-energy-infrastructure.pdf  pdf  [see table entitled "Proposed Generation Additions and Retirements by June 2021"]

[3] https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly (issues released June 25, 2018 and July 24, 2018) [see tables ES1.A. and ES1.B.]


[5] https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/archive/february2018.pdf [see tables 1.4.B. (coal); 1.9.B. (nuclear energy); 1.10.B. (hydropower); 1.11.B. (non-hydro renewables); 1.14.B. (wind); 1.17.B. (solar PV - utility + small-scale); 1.18.B. (solar thermal)]

[6] Ibid.
 

Notes:
A.) EIA's data for solar include utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal as well as small-scale, distributed solar (e.g., rooftop solar systems). However, EIA's data for non-hydro renewables only reflect utility-scale facilities; they do not include state-by-state data for distributed photovoltaics. In its most recent "Electric Power Monthly" report (with data for the first five months of 2018), small-scale solar photovoltaic is estimated to account for ~31% of total electrical generation from solar sources.
 
Thus, the state-by-state comparisons of nuclear and coal to all renewables combined does not include distributed solar and therefore understates the actual amount of electricity being generated by renewable sources.

B.) FERC's data for capacity additions and retirements is subject to numerous variables such as the Trump Administration's possible proposals to bailout uneconomic nuclear and coal plants. In the case of net nuclear additions, for example, FERC's numbers may prove unduly optimistic. Currently, four reactors with 3175 MW of capacity are scheduled to retire in 2018-2020. The only new nuclear reactors under construction in the U.S., Vogtle 3 and 4 (2234-MW), are officially past the 2020 timeframe now (2021-22), but even if FERC is counting them, it should be a 941-MW net loss of nuclear capacity over the three-year timeframe (2018-2020), not a 756-MW increase. If one extends that out to three years from present, the net loss is greater: 7 reactors closed with 6038-MW, and 3804-MW net reduction.

By the time Vogtle 3 and 4 are scheduled to come online, there are a total of 9 scheduled retirements with 8080-MW of capacity, for a net reduction of 5846-MW of nuclear generation. During that timeframe, two more states will go nuclear-free (MA and OH), one state will reduce nuclear generation by nearly 40% (NY), and another by nearly 30% (PA).
 

WHMIS 2015: We're Almost There!

The multi-year WHMIS 2015 transition is getting closer to the deadline.  Now it's not too late to make sure that employers and workers are up to speed with courses and information to help them understand the system.

Remaining Transition Phases

Phase 2

From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018

Distributors can continue to sell, and those importing for their own use can continue to use, hazardous products with labels and (M)SDSs that are compliant with WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015.

During this phase, manufacturers and importers are required to only sell or import hazardous products with labels and SDSs that are compliant with WHMIS 2015. The transition to WHMIS 2015 for manufacturers and importers is now complete.

Phase 3

From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018

During this phase, manufacturers, importers and distributors are required to sell or import only those hazardous products that are complaint with WHMIS 2015. At this point, transition to WHMIS 2015 is complete for all suppliers.

Full Implementation of WHMIS 2015

By December 1, 2018, all suppliers and employers will be required to be in compliance with the new Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR).

 

CCOHS WHMIS 2015 online training and resources

  • WHMIS 2015: An Introduction provides a basic overview of the changes to WHMIS after its alignment with GHS. Free.
  • WHMIS 2015 for Workers provides worker education on the new WHMIS system, along with an exam and a certificate for those who complete it successfully.

For chemical suppliers

 

Free WHMIS 2015 Resources from CCOHS:

For WHMIS updates visit https://www.whmis.org/.

#HaveYourSay On the Prevention of Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

he Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians through Bill C-65 to help ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and violence.

On July 24th, 2018, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, invited Canadians to voice their opinion on the proposed regulatory framework to be implemented should Bill C-65 become law.

All Canadians are welcome to participate in this consultation as your insights will help shape the new framework. You are invited to read  the consultation paper before completing the survey as it provides a comprehensive overview of the proposed regulatory framework.

For more information, follow the Labour Program on Twitter.

EPA Facts and Figures Report available and A to Z Directory!

Data Update to Facts and Figures Website and Fact Sheet
 
EPA has released its most recent Facts and Figures data on national municipal solid waste (MSW), which is for the year 2015. EPA published these data on its Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling website and in a summary fact sheet, which includes new numbers, trends, charts and data tables. In 2015, 262.4 million tons of MSW, or trash, were generated. The per capita generation rate was 4.48 pounds per person per day. Of the MSW generated, approximately 68 million tons were recycled and 23 million tons were composted. In addition, 33 million tons were combusted with energy recovery and more than 137 million tons of MSW were landfilled. Since the passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976, the recycling and composting rate has more than tripled to the current rate of 34.7 percent.
 
For more information: 


Also see the EPA A to Z Directory at this link:

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposal to Reconsider RMP Rule Amendments

PAINT.ORGOn July 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a notice of data availability and extension of the comment period for its May 30 proposed rule to reconsider the final Risk Management Program (RMP) amendments. The extension follows an inquiry from nonprofit EarthJustice, which questions 2017 RMP data that EPA collected from industrial facilities and used to roll back the RMP amendments.

EPA officially finalized the RMP amendments on Jan. 13, 2017; however, the effective date of the final RMP amendments was delayed several times, with the last one delaying the amendments until Feb.19, 2019. Since the final RMP amendments have not become effective yet, EPA is now proposing to rollback several provisions of that 2017 RMP rule. Among others, EPA is proposing to rescind amendments relating to third-party compliance audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigations, and information availability to the public. In addition, EPA is also proposing to retain, modify, or incorporate some amendments relating to local emergency response coordination, emergency response exercises, and CBI protections. More information can also be found on EPA's website.

The agency is now accepting comments on its proposal through Aug. 23, 2018ACA is seeking member input on any concerns with EPA's latest proposal.

In general, EPA's RMP program applies to all stationary sources with processes that contain more than a threshold of a regulated substance. The program's elements are intended to prevent accidental releases and reduce the seve

rity of releases that occur. All sources must prepare and submit an RMP to EPA at least every five years. In addition,
RMP Program 3 facilities involve processes subject to OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) standard or are in one of the specified NAICS codes, such as chemical manufacturing. Together, PSM and RMP form the regulatory framework for prevention of catastrophic chemical accidents at fixed facilities. Several ACA companies have facilities subject to RMP requirements, particularly Program 3 facilities, which have the most stringent requirements. ACA's main concern with the 2017 RMP amendments was that the changes would not actually enhance chemical facility safety, but would instead create significant administrative burdens and higher compliance costs without commensurate benefits in safety.

In May 2017, ACA submitted comments to EPA in support of the agency's proposed rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP regulation. ACA underscored that during this proposed delay, the existing RMP regulations will remain in place, and noted that the already robust RMP requirements have resulted in a steady decline in reportable accidental releases over the past 20 years. From 2004 to 2013, EPA data shows that there were roughly 12,500 facilities subject to RMP. During that 10-year span, 92 percent of these facilities had no RMP reportable accidents. This decline in reportable accidental chemical releases is expected to continue under the existing RMP regulations.

The 2017 RMP rule amendments encountered extreme resistance since EPA first issued them in mid-January 2017. EPA stated 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. However, numerous industry members and trade associations pushed back against implementation of these amendments.

Energy Department Releases Request for Information on Multi-Sector Uses of Hydrogen

DOE today's H2@Scale project kickoff meeting in Chicago, EERE's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Steven Chalk announced the release of a request for information (RFI) soliciting stakeholder feedback on opportunities to enable high volume production and multi-sector use of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier and a feedstock used in industrial applications today including petroleum refining, ammonia production for fertilizers, and steel production, and can also be used in fuel cells to generate power for homes or to drive cars, buses or trucks. With the help of this RFI, hydrogen use could be expanded and made more affordable across multiple applications such as energy storage, running large turbines at power plants, supporting grid flexibility and enabling baseload operation of nuclear plants, as well as increased renewable power generation.

The objective of this RFI is to assess the domestic resources compatible with large-scale hydrogen production, as well as to identify pathways to effectively leverage these resources for near- and long-term use in major industries. Responses to this RFI will provide DOE insight into the technical and economic barriers associated with these production pathways and end-uses to help establish a more focused and relevant H2@Scale research portfolio.

"The H2@Scale initiative is looking at ways that hydrogen can help make nuclear and fossil baseload plants more economical, and increase the flexibility and utilization of variable resources like solar and wind," said Chalk. "Greater use of all of our domestic energy resources increases the nation's energy security and resiliency."

This RFI supports the H2@Scale initiative vision to enable affordable, reliable, and secure energy through hydrogen production from domestic fossil, nuclear, and renewable resources and hydrogen utilization across multiple sectors.

RFI Topics include:

  • Domestic Hydrogen Supply Expansion/ Diversification
  • Demand-Sector Market Expansion
  • Leveraging Current Industries and Infrastructure
  • H2@Scale H-Prize Competition Concepts
  • Innovative Approaches for Enabling H2@Scale

Senate Passes Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018

PAINT.ORG: On July 26, the U.S. Senate approved the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 by a voice vote with amendments offered by Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The measure now returns to the U.S. House of Representatives. If the House concurs with the Senate amendments, the legislation would be cleared for the president's signature. At this writing, the House hadn't scheduled action yet on this amended bill.

The bill, H.R. 4318, amends the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to temporarily modify certain rates of duty for provisions recommended by the International Trade Commission (ITC) pursuant to the new process established in the American Manufacturing and Competitiveness Act of 2016. The legislation includes more than 1,600 products that were recommended by the ITC. The legislation, as approved by the Senate, contains several chemicals of interest to coatings manufacturers, including Industrial grade nitrocellulose and heat-curable epoxy resin mixture.

Through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), Congress temporarily suspends or reduces tariffs on certain imports for three years. Most of these duty suspensions relate to chemicals or other inputs used by U.S. manufacturers, who assert that the tariff relief provided by the MTB helps reduce their manufacturing costs, thus making their products more competitive. The tariff changes contained in this bill will apply to goods imported or shipped 30 days after the bill's enactment.

Criteria for MTB consideration are that each duty suspension must be noncontroversial (e.g., no domestic producer or Member objects); revenue-neutral (foregone tariffs of no more than $500,000 per product in a calendar year); and administrable by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The MTB offers only temporary, not permanent, relief from tariffs, maintaining an incentive for companies to develop the capability to manufacture these products in the United States.

Congress passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 to establish an open and transparent process for consideration of the MTB. This bill established a three-step process that allowed companies to petition the ITC, an independent and non-partisan independent agency. The process begins with petitions from interested parties, after which, the public and the Administration provides comments to the ITC, which then conducts an analysis. Following that, the ITC issues a public report to Congress with its analysis and recommendations regarding products that meet the process bill's standards.

Jul 31, 2018

CARB investigation leads to nationwide recall of 500,000+ Cummins heavy-duty trucks

Owners of 2010–2015 model-year vehicles must replace faulty emissions components

SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board announced today that 500,000 heavy-duty trucks manufactured by Cummins Inc. will be recalled due to excess emissions caused by defective catalysts. Cummins worked collaboratively with CARB on the voluntary recall which constitutes the largest such effort for heavy-duty trucks to date.

The excess emissions were discovered after CARB launched its new Heavy Duty In-Use Compliance program in 2016. The Cummins action marks the first major recall resulting from the program, in which subject vehicles are equipped with Portable Emissions Measurement Systems (PEMS) to measure truck emissions while operating on streets and highways under typical operating demands and conditions.

As CARB has done with light-duty vehicles (cars and pickups) for decades, it initiated a program in 2016 to bring private fleet-owned or rental trucks that had been operating for several years for testing. Initial readings of some of the Cummins engines revealed higher than expected emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a smog-forming pollutant. This led to more comprehensive testing by CARB.

The testing confirmed that the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems were defective, causing emissions of NOx to exceed state and federal standards. The same problem was found to affect about 60 "engine families" under the Cummins name found in a wide range of vehicles, from big-rigs, to larger pickup trucks and some buses.  An engine family is the basic unit that CARB and U.S. EPA use to identify a group of vehicles or engines for certification and compliance purposes.

"Increased vigilance and testing led directly to a positive result.  Our new heavy-duty in-use compliance program ensures that heavy-duty and other trucks already in operation meet the required emissions standards both in the lab and on the road," said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols.  "Our portable testing equipment tells us exactly how clean a truck is when it's actually operating in the real world: pulling a full load and driving on roads and through neighborhoods where people live."

After CARB shared the initial findings with Cummins, the company conducted its own testing to confirm the failures and agreed to institute a voluntary recall, ultimately affecting more than 800,000 vehicles, to replace the catalysts. This number includes about 232,000 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 vehicles with Cummins engines that had the same SCR defect. Recalls for those vehicles were approved in July 2016 and July 2017, respectively, and are already underway.

The trucks will be recalled in a two-phase operation. Starting in August 2018, owners of the 500,000-plus affected vehicles will receive letters with instructions on how to get their catalysts replaced or receive reimbursement for the cost of the replacement. The second phase begins in March 2019.  Replacing the catalyst is required for vehicle owners to renew their California DMV registration on most engine families.

It is noteworthy that the cause of the excess emissions was purely mechanical – the faster-than-expected degradation of the catalyst – and not the product of a 'defeat device' or cheating on tests as was the case with 2009-2015 Volkswagen 2 and 3–liter diesel-powered passenger cars and SUVs. The degrading catalysts also do not pose a safety issue, and do not affect current model year Cummins engine families.

CARB's in-use testing of the vehicles played a key role in identifying the problem.  Once Cummins was made aware of the issue, they cooperated with CARB and U.S. EPA and agreed to recall the full range of engine families, pay for all required repairs and reimburse owners who may have already paid for an SCR replacement.

"CARB plans to continue testing vehicles produced by other manufacturers to ensure California gets the emission reductions it needs so that all people have healthy air to breathe," said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. 

Following the recall, CARB and EPA will work together to ensure that the affected vehicles will meet all emissions standards.

Source:

Jul 27, 2018

California Wine Is Testing Positive for Radioactive Material from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

ESQUIRE: French scientists just released a study that found trace amounts of radioactive material in California wines from 2011 that are a direct result of Fukushima—in case you had a taste for some slight radiation along with those tannins.

The scientists vaporized bottles of California cabernet and rosé from 2009 to 2012 and studied the ashes for levels of cesium-137, a man-made radioactive particle that you can't pick up from nature. Wine bottled after the 2011 nuclear incident had more cesium-137 than wines from before, The New York Times reports. Some had almost double the amount, swept across the Pacific Ocean in a radioactive cloud. 

A similar thing happened with European wine after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as well as wine during the height of Cold War nuclear testing.

Don't worry: The radiation levels in the Napa wine are too low to be considered a health risk. The World Health Organization says that people are regularly exposed to more radioactive material than that which was found in food and drink outside Japan after Fukushima. (Ingesting too much cesium-137 can lead to cancer, though.) And California officials say there's no risk to California residents.

Read full at: