Oct 19, 2016

MUST HAVE! 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference Keynote Presentations

Keynote Presentations from the 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference
Sustainability Presentations (Track A)
Success Story Presentations (Track B)
Water Presentations (Track C)

The State of the Birds United States of America...Indicators of Our Nation’s Environmental Health

The United States is blessed with diverse landscapes, a wealth of natural resources, and spectacular wildlife, including more than 800 bird species...

In the past 200 years, however, the U.S. human population has skyrocketed from about 8 million to 300 million. As we have harvested energy and food, grown industries, and built cities, we have often failed to consider the consequences to nature. During our history, we have lost a part of our natural heritage—and degraded and depleted the resources upon which our quality of life depends. We have lost more than half of our nation's original wetlands, 98% of our tallgrass prairie, and virtually all virgin forests east of the Rockies. Since the birth of our nation, four American bird species have gone extinct, including the Passenger Pigeon, once the world's most abundant bird. At least 10 more species are possibly extinct.

Birds are bellwethers of our natural and cultural health as a nation— they are indicators of the integrity of the environments that provide us with clean air and water, fertile soils, abundant wildlife, and the natural resources on which our economic development depends. In the past 40 years, major public, private, and government initiatives have made strides for conservation. Has it been enough? How are birds faring?

In an unprecedented partnership, government wildlife agencies and conservation groups have come together to produce this first comprehensive analysis of the state of our nation's birds. The results are sobering: bird populations in many habitats are declining—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. Where we have been negligent too long, such as in Hawaii, we are on the verge of losing entire suites of unique and beautiful birds and native plant communities.

At the same time, we see heartening evidence that birds can respond quickly and positively to conservation action. Many waterfowl species have undergone significant increases in the past 40 years, a testament to coordinated conservation efforts in wetlands. Through focused conservation efforts, we have brought magnificent Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles back from the brink of extinction.

We ask you to join us in continuing to reverse the damage to our nation's habitats and protect our remaining natural landscapes—the foundation upon which our precious resources, our wildlife, and the lives of our children depend. Cooperative conservation efforts among the government, conservation organizations, and ordinary citizens—private landowners, hunters, and bird watchers—really are making a difference​

Bob Ford, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Paul Schmidt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Let's forget global warming...but one question for our next president

Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety

Every October, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.

One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.

Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It's no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously.

We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprit here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can't be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.

Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and high number of violations for powered industrial trucksafety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment.

Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known.

Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive. OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces...

Read full from Thomas Galassi the director of enforcement programs for OSHA.

OSHA reaches out to grain-handling industry in response to recent tragedies and near disasters

Grain silo engulfment

Since January, grain-handling facilities in Nebraska and Kansas have had four preventable incidents that resulted in two deaths. In March, a superintendent at a grain-handling site in Prosser, Neb., suffered fatal injuries caused by an operating auger as he drew grain from a bin. In May, a maintenance worker in West Point, Neb., died from injuries suffered when a wall of corn product in a grain bin collapsed and engulfed him. Other incidents also involved workers becoming trapped in a grain bin or injured by augers, including the amputation of a worker's leg in Ellsworth, Kan.

OSHA urges industry employers and workers to implement safety and health programs to avoid similar tragedies. OSHA officials spoke at several grain and feed association meetings in Nebraska and Kansas on the most common hazards in the grain industry, which include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution. For more information, see the news release.

Top 10 citations of FY 2016 are a place to start for workplace safety

OSHA today released its preliminary list of the10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from about 32,000 workplace inspections. Top hazards include lack of adequate fall protection, unsafe scaffolds, hazard communications problems, and lack of machine guarding. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that, by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces. Our list is far from comprehensive, but if all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, OSHA believes the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline. For the full list and more information, see the blog.

OSHA releases recommendations for creating a Safety and Health Plan

Recommended Practices for Safety and health Programs

OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels today released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety at their workplaces. The recommendations update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. Key principles include: leadership from the top to send a message that safety and health is critical to business operations; worker participation in finding solutions; and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards. "We know that working together to implement these programs will help prevent injuries and illnesses, and also make businesses more sustainable," said Dr. Michaels, who released the document at the National Safety Council Congress in Anaheim, Calif. In his remarks, he asked business groups and safety and health professionals to help spread the word through a campaign that encourages creation of a safety and health program using OSHA's recommendations or others.

EPA is Soliciting Nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

EPA is calling for nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  Nominations for companies and institutions that have developed innovative processes or products that are safer for the environment and good for business are due to the Agency by December 31, 2016.  EPA anticipates recognizing the winners at a ceremony in June 2017. Additional information on the program, past winners, and how to submit a nomination can be found at: www.epa.gov/greenchemistry.

Oct 18, 2016

EPA acts on fast-tracking requirements for five PBT chemicals via @jjkeller

Agency will propose limitations on use of substances after identifying variables

EPA is taking 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 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.

Read full at: https://www.jjkeller.com/learn/news/102016/EPA-acts-on-fast-tracking-requirements-for-five-PBT-chemicals

Very Bad Sign...Consumer Price Index - all items rose, largest 12-month increase

​What your next president will be blamed for over the next 2 years....
  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3%
  • Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.5%!
  • Increases in the shelter and gasoline indexes were the main causes of the rise
  • The gasoline index rose 5.8% in September
  • The shelter index increased largest increase since May.
  • The energy index increased 2.9%, its largest advance since April. 

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1% in September
Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, motor vehicle insurance, and personal care all increased in September, as did the indexes for education, alcoholic beverages, airline fares, and tobacco.

The all items index rose 1.5% for the 12 months ending September, its largest 12-month increase since October 2014. 
The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2% for the 12 months ending September. 

​Read full report here:​

Week Three of National Cyber Security Awareness Month

In partnership with DHS, the National Cyber Security Alliance has released information on recognizing cyber crime and how to protect yourself online. Recommendations include deleting suspicious communications, being wary of "too good to be true" offers, and using strong authentication. The #CyberAware Tip of the Week is to keep a clean machinemake sure the security software on all your electronic devices is updated.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Stop.Think.Connect. Phishing Tip Card and the US-CERT Tip Understanding Patches for additional information. Visit the US-CERT website for articles on Week 1 and Week 2 of the campaign.

Oct 14, 2016

Upcoming FREE Webinar - EPA "Toolkit" of Green Infrastructure Modeling Software

EPA's Office of Research and Development is hosting a webinar on its "toolkit" of five models and tools for planning, designing and evaluating green infrastructure.


DATE: Wednesday, October 26th

TIME: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

REGISTER: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3640117239990097666


During the webinar you will learn from EPA researchers about these tools:


·         GIWIZ, the Green Infrastructure Wizard. Presented by Dr. Marilyn Tenbrink 

·         VELMA, the Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment Model. Presented by Dr. Bob McKane 

·         SWC, the National Stormwater Calculator. Presented by Jason Berner

·         SWMM, the Storm Water Management Model. Presented by Dr. Michael Tryby

·         WMOST, the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool. Presented by Dr. Naomi Detenbeck 


This short video gives you a brief overview of each model, webinar homework if you will. J


(Ctrl + Click to open video)


And you can visit ORD's Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit site for more information.

Oct 6, 2016

Free Webinar Empowering remote communities with renewables using Hybrid Microgrids 19th October 2016 at 4pm UK time

Hybrid Microgrids: Towards sustainable and affordable energy access-for-all in Southeast Asia
19th October 2016 at 4pm UK time

Renewable energy deployment in off-grid systems is growing steadily in both developed and developing countries, due to declining costs and technological improvements.

At the same time, the market for off-grid renewable energy systems is expected to increase through the hybridisation of existing diesel grids with wind, solar PV, biomass gasification and small hydropower, especially on islands and in rural areas. Off-grid renewable energy systems are needed to connect the vast numbers of people still currently with no source of electricity, but are also appropriate for grid extension and are particularly relevant for island states, where inhabitants rely on diesel generators and spend a considerable percentage of gross domestic product on the import of fuels. Renewables are a cost-effective alternative.

This webinar will illustrate the technical and operational approaches currently being deployed by Schneider Electric, Engie and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for island microgrids, as well as focusing on evolving business models.

Register here:

Oct 5, 2016

H.R. 5460, First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides grants to help state, local, and tribal governments develop their capacity to prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of terrorism. Under current law, equipment purchased using such grants must meet voluntary standards, developed by FEMA in coordination with appropriate federal agencies, the National Advisory Council, and private entities. Requests to use grants to purchase equipment that does not meet such standards, or for which no such standards exist, are subject to further review and approval by FEMA.

H.R. 5460 would require FEMA to implement a uniform process for reviewing applications for grants intended to support purchases of innovative equipment that does not meet or exceed current applicable standards or for which no voluntary standards exist. The bill also would require the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to assess and report on FEMA's implementation of the new review process.

Read on at:

Amazon Announces a New 253-Megawatt Wind Farm in West Texas

On September 15, Amazon announced the "Amazon Wind Farm Texas," a new 253-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Scurry County, Texas, that according to the company will generate 1,000,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually—enough energy to power almost 90,000 U.S. homes. Amazon Wind Farm Texas will include more than 100 turbines, each with a rotor diameter twice as long as the wingspan of a Boeing 747. Scheduled to open in late 2017, Amazon Wind Farm Texas will be the company's largest renewable energy project to date.

Amazon previously announced wind and solar farms in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia that deliver energy to the electrical grids supplying both current and future Amazon Web Services Cloud data centers. The five projects together will generate more than 2.6 million MWh of renewable energy each year, enough to power more than 240,000 U.S. homes. Amazon contracted with Lincoln Clean Energy (LCE), which will construct, own,and operate the new wind farm. Amazon will purchase about 90% of the power generated by the wind farm. LCE is a developer of wind and solar projects across the United States. 

See the Amazon news release.

Energy Department Launches up to $30 Million Effort to Improve Solar Module Materials

The Energy Department on September 15 announced a new Energy Materials Network (EMN) consortium, the Durable Module Materials (DuraMat) National Lab Consortium, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). DuraMat is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new, high-performance materials for photovoltaic (PV) modules to lower the cost of electricity generated by solar power, while increasing their useful lifetime in the field.

The Energy Department's SunShot Initiative will provide DuraMat with an estimated $30 million over five years. Leveraging these funds, DuraMat will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to develop innovative new materials for module components. The consortium will support materials-improvement projects in partnership with industry and academia to further optimize reliability and energy harvest of low-cost PV modules. Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will join NREL as collaborators in the consortium.

In February, EERE announced the launch of EMN, an initiative crafted to give U.S. entrepreneurs and manufacturers a competitive edge in the global race for clean energy. EMN focuses on tackling the design, testing, and production of advanced materials. By strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique scientific and technical advanced materials innovation resources available at the Energy Department's national laboratories, the network will help industry bring these materials to market more quickly. See the Energy Department news release.

Energy Department’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Program Saves $3 Billion

On September 23, the Energy Department announced that 12 partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program have met their energy or water savings goals this year. Plus, 30 new partners have joined the program—representing significant growth for the program to accelerate progress in energy and water savings. With these new members, Better Plants partners now represent more than 11% of the manufacturing sector's total energy footprint, with more than 2,500 facilities across the United States. So far, partners have reported cumulative energy savings of 600 trillion Btu, and nearly 35 million metric tons of avoided climate-changing carbon emissions.

Since President Obama launched the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program five years ago, partners have saved more than $3 billion in cumulative energy costs.The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, launched in 2011. The program's goal is to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient within the first 10 years after each partner. 

See the Energy Department news release.

Manufacturers in U.S. Energy Department’s Better Plants Program Save More Than $2 Billion in Energy Costs; Program Expands to Help America’s Water Systems

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today, as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to kick off October's National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years. Across America, manufacturers spend more than $200 billion each year to power their plants. As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to double energy productivity, American manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies made a voluntary commitment to improve energy intensity by about 25 percent over ten years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector, through the Better Plants Program. Today, the department also announced that nine partners have met their energy efficiency targets this year.

Over the last year, 21 new industrial partners joined the Better Plants program, including 12 water and wastewater treatment agencies — part of a strategic expansion to increase energy efficiency across the nation's water infrastructure. Close to 160 industrial organizations representing more than 2,400 facilities are partnering with the Energy Department through Better Plants. Together, these partners consume about 2.2 quadrillion BTUs of energy, which is approximately 11.4 percent of the U.S. manufacturing sector's total use, or about the same as the state of Tennessee's annual energy consumption.

"When companies save energy, they also save money and reduce harmful carbon pollution," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "This is especially true in the manufacturing sector, where energy costs are often a significant contributor to total operating costs. Manufacturers participating in the Better Plants program, including our new partners in the water and wastewater treatment sector, are leading the way in showing how energy efficiency is a smart business strategy, as well as a smart conservation strategy that will help to protect our environment for future generations."

Read full at: http://energy.gov/articles/manufacturers-us-energy-department-s-better-plants-program-save-more-2-billion-energy-costs

The U.S.Has lost control of the internet....

ICANN, in a statement on Saturday, said that the transition will result in "no change or difference" in user experience.

The move raised political hackles in the United States. The leading voice against allowing the transition was Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). His argument is that ceding control of IANA gives foreign governments, including repressive regimes, power over what content is allowed on the internet through control of the creation of websites, according to The Washington Post. The story encapsulates ICANN's response, which was that the United States never had any control over content on the internet. The story links to the organization's full four-page response.

It's obviously a political season. The basic outlines of a story in which the U.S. is surrendering control of something to the international community, no matter what the nuances, was too good to pass by. Last Wednesday, attorneys general from Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada filed an emergency request to halt the move. On Friday, Judge George Hanks, Jr., who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, denied the request. The move went forward the next day.

Separately, InfoWorld reported yesterday that ICANN is beefing up internet security by transitioning to a technology called Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSec), which is a way to eliminate attacks in which crackers can hijack internet requests to, and point users toward, other, likely malicious, sites. The story says that the transition is long and carries a slight risk of problems that could temporarily affect internet performance.

Read full at:

Sep 30, 2016

H.R. 2205, Data Security Act to protect personal information

H.R. 2205 would establish a new law to require businesses to take reasonable steps to protect personal information they maintain in electronic form. Further, H.R. 2205 would require those entities, in the event of a breach in their security systems, to notify individuals whose personal information has been accessed and acquired as a result of the breach. Forty-seven states have laws that govern data security; H.R. 2205 would pre-empt many of those statutes. Finally, H.R. 2205 would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and many of the financial regulatory agencies to enforce the requirements of the bill.

Read full here:

Sep 7, 2016

You Should Care...U.S. Internet Surrender Happens October 1st.

Washington will give up its power fully to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles.

"We informed ICANN today that based on that review and barring any significant impediment, NTIA [National Telecommunications & Information Administration] intends to allow the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] IANA functions contract to expire as of October 1," Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Created in 1998, ICANN has been tasked with assigning global IP addresses and overseeing the internet domain name system (DNS). Along with the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the California-based non-profit has been managing IANA functions. This is the part that is going to change in less than two months.

"ICANN is uniquely positioned, as both the current IANA functions contractor and the global coordinator for the DNS, as the appropriate party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan," the NTIA said in a March statement, announcing its intent to cede its powers over DNS. 

.....The initiative to transfer internet regulation to the non-US government company has been met with a strong opposition from many American officials. Republicans have been especially fierce, insisting that by the giving up its oversight of the internet, the US would open a way for countries like Russia and China to control and censor the Web that has always been "protected" by Washington.

Read more at:

Sep 6, 2016

Oita Japan pushes the town's self-sufficiency to more than 2,000%.

(Japan for Sustainability) A group of researchers from Chiba University and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), a Japanese non-profit organization, has been conducting a joint research project called "Sustainable Zone Study" since 2007. The study measures the amount of renewable energy supplied and food produced by each municipality and, as a measure of local sustainability, calculates their self-sufficiency in energy and food, two resources essential to daily living.

When calculating the self-sufficiency of electricity based on the total electricity output from renewable sources (solar, wind, micro-hydro, geothermal, and biomass), Oita had the highest share of renewable electricity supply among all prefectures, at 38.6%. Oita is known to have a number of large geothermal plants, the output of which accounts for nearly half of the electricity supplied from renewable sources.

As for output by municipality, Kokonoe Town in Oita prefecture overwhelmingly topped the list. The town hosts the nation's largest geothermal plant, Hacchobaru Geothermal Power Plant, and three other large geothermal plants in operation, the supply from which pushes the town's self-sufficiency to more than 2,000%.

In second and third places were two villages in the southern part of Nagano prefecture. In these areas, hydropower is a common source of renewable electricity, as it takes advantage of water running down from high mountains in the South Japan Alps. In fourth and fifth came two villages in the southern area of Kumamoto prefecture. These villages are also capable of supplying a large amount of power from hydropower. The electricity self-sufficiency rates in the above four villages all exceeded 1,000%.

The 100 municipalities that are more than self-sufficient in renewable electricity represent an increase of five municipalities from a year ago. Most of these are small towns and villages, but nine are cities.

Renewable energy can also be used to generate heat. The Sustainable Zone research also calculates by prefecture the share of renewable energy supply, combining that of electricity and heat (solar, geothermal and biomass heat).

The renewable energy supply accounted for 10% or more of regional energy demand in 21 prefectures, an increase of seven prefectures from the previous survey (ended March 31, 2014). The Kyushu area contributed the most, with five prefectures including Oita at the top, followed by four each from the Tohoku and Kanto/Koshin-etsu areas, and three from the Chubu area.

The prefectures in Kyushu showed particularly remarkable increases in their renewable energy ratios. In Miyazaki, biomass power generation expanded three-fold and solar power doubled, which led to an increase in its renewable energy ratio of more than 6 percentage points from the previous year's survey, from 9.5% to 15.8%.

Solar was a major contributor to the increase in energy self-sufficiency in other prefectures. A typical example is Ibaraki prefecture, where the amount of electricity and heat supplied from renewable sources increased by 83% in a year, the highest growth rate among all 47 prefectures. The solar power supply increased 2.6-fold, with biomass generation rising 1.6-fold. Such expansion in its renewable energy supply put Ibaraki in second place in solar power supply and third place in biomass power supply. This also boosted its energy self-sufficiency from 5.2% to 9.4%.

The increase in renewable energy supply was observed in all prefectures. Ten prefectures saw an increase of more than 50%. And metropolitan areas are no exception: Tokyo saw a 30% rise and Osaka 47%, showing steady growth in renewables development across the country.

Aug 31, 2016

EPA Creates Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Is Accepting Nominations to Help Implement Updated TSCA

(PAINT.ORG) On August 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice for the establishment of a newly-formed Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) section 9(a) to provide advice and recommendations on the scientific basis for risk assessments, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures or approaches. Under Section 2625(o) of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is required to establish the SACC within one year of enactment. The purpose of the 14-person committee will be to provide "independent advice and expert consultation" with respect to scientific and technical aspects of issues relating to TSCA implementation.

Under the updated law, EPA is required to select representatives from science, government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and "other groups EPA determines to be advisable," including representatives that have specific scientific expertise in the relationship of chemical exposures to women, children, and other potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations, to serve on the committee. EPA is also required under the law to convene the SACC periodically but not less frequently than once every two years. According to the notice, EPA expects the SACC to meet 3-4 times a year or as needed by the approved Designated Federal Officer.

The notice published in the Federal Register states that potentially nine of the 14 members of the SACC will be selected from interested and available members of the existing EPA Chemical Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC). The remaining five committee spots will be selected from the general public based on nominations. EPA is accepting nominations from the public and comments until Oct. 11, 2016.

EPA encourages members of the public who are involved in the manufacture, processing, distribution, disposal and/or interested in the assessment of risks involving chemical substances and mixtures to apply. EPA states that nominations should include "candidates who have demonstrated high levels of competence, knowledge, and expertise in scientific/technical fields relevant to chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention. In particular, the nominees should include representation of the following disciplines, including, but not limited to: Human health and ecological risk assessment, biostatistics, epidemiology, pediatrics, physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK), toxicology and pathology (including neurotoxicology, developmental/reproductive toxicology, and carcinogenesis), and chemical exposure to susceptible life stages and subpopulations (including women, children, and others)."

EPA is also seeking candidates who have professional experiences in government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and other groups, as the EPA Administrator determines to be advisable; candidates who have skills and experience working on committees and advisory panels; candidate who do not have financial conflicts of interest or the appearance of a loss of impartiality; and candidates who are willing to commit adequate time for the thorough review of materials provided to the committee and participate in committee meetings.

The SACC is expected to provide consultation on a number of forthcoming rulemakings EPA will be rolling out over the next several months. EPA has announced the intention of releasing proposed rules by December 2016 to 1) establish fees for certain TSCA activities, 2) prescribe the prioritization process for existing chemicals, 3) prescribe the risk assessment methodology for chemicals selected to undergo safety reviews under Section 6 of TSCA, and 4) establish the reporting requirements to "reset" the TSCA Inventory. EPA also seeks to finalize these proposed regulations by the summer of 2017 in compliance with the statutory deadlines under the Lautenberg Act.

Additionally, EPA is expected to release four risk management proposed regulations under Section 6 of TSCA — which EPA has not done since 1989 — by December 2016: trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapor degreasing, TCE in spot cleaning and aerosol spray degreasing, methylene chloride (DCM) and n-methyl pyrollidone (NMP) in paint strippers. Further, under TSCA, the reporting period for chemical data reporting (CDR) submissions closes on Sept. 30, 2016 — a process manufacturers and importers of chemical substances must go through every four years — and EPA continues to evaluate new chemical notices under Section 5 of TSCA pursuant to the new, heightened TSCA requirements. EPA has released seven determinations thus far that the new chemical substances were "not likely to present an unreasonable risk," but Agency must continue reviewing over 300 pending PMNs in a timely manner.

Since the passage of the Lautenberg Act in June 2016, EPA has already been active gathering preliminary input from stakeholders through two public meetings held in August that outlined proposals for prioritization and risk evaluations, a consultation with stakeholders regarding potential user fees for TSCA, and opened the docket for public comment on these three topics.

For the user fee consultation, EPA asked stakeholders the following questions:

To be able to defray 25 percent of costs of administering Sections 4, 5 and 6, and Confidential Business Information (CBI), does industry have considerations of weight amongst the three areas of fee collection?
Does industry have thoughts on the types of factors (types of submissions, numbers of submissions, level of difficulty, etc.) that EPA should consider when structuring the fees?
Has industry considered how to distribute payment amongst multiple manufacturers and/or processors?
Does industry have thoughts on how to identify the whole universe of manufacturers, including importers and processors affected?
Does industry have thoughts on how to arrive at an appropriate balance between manufacturers and processors?
Also last week, EPA published a list of mercury compounds that are prohibited from export, which it was also required to do under the Lautenberg Act within 90 days of enactment. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the statute prohibits export of: Mercury (I) chloride or calomel; mercury (II) oxide; mercury (II) sulfate; mercury (II) nitrate; and cinnabar or mercury sulphide, unless those mercury compounds are exported to member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for environmentally sound disposal, on the condition that no mercury or mercury compounds so exported are to be recovered, recycled, or reclaimed for use, or directly reused, after such export. With this substantial work load, the SACC is expected to play an active role in advising on the many regulatory proposals to come.

For more information on the panel and to submit nominations, visit reguations.gov, docket number EPA–HQ–OPPT–2016–0474. If ACA members are interested in being nominated to serve on the SACC to provide consultation for TSCA implementation, please contact ACA staff as soon as possible. 

To learn more about EPA's progress and updates on TSCA implementation...

EPA Proposes Changes to Regulations Governing Significant New Use Rules under TSCA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a proposed rule that would revise the regulations governing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to align these regulations with revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The proposed rule also seeks to align the SNUR requirements with changes to the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator certification requirements pertaining to respiratory protection of workers from exposure to chemicals. EPA is also proposing changes to the significant new uses of chemical substances regulations based on "issues that have been identified by EPA and issues raised by public commenters, as well as minor changes to reporting requirements for pre-manufacture notices (PMNs) and other TSCA section 5 notices. EPA is accepting comments on these proposed changes until Sept. 26, 2016.

Section 5 of TSCA governs EPA's New Chemicals Program, which helps manage the potential risk to human health and the environment from chemicals new to the marketplace. Under Section 5, companies are required to submit notices to EPA at least 90 days before they manufacture or import a new chemical substance in U.S. commerce, or manufacture or process a substance or mixture for a "significant new use." EPA is authorized to determined that a use of a chemical substance is a "significant new use" by rule by issuing an SNUR. EPA makes this determination by considering relevant factors....

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Paint CoatingsTech Conference to Feature Dedicated Regulatory and Sustainability Focus

ACA's 2017 CoatingsTech Conference, which will be held March 20-22, 2017 at the Westin Cleveland Downtown in Cleveland, Ohio, will include dedicated regulatory and sustainability presentations on the conference's third day. These will be of great interest to the industry's compliance and regulatory professionals, in addition to informing formulators and the research and development audience.

This biennial conference features a multi-track forum, industry awards, and presentation opportunities for both industry professionals, academics and students, and has specifically been designed to advance the theme of "Meeting the Sustainability Challenges of Today and Tomorrow."

The regulatory and sustainability focus will include a featured presentation on March 22 by Heather Farr from California's South Coast Air Quality Management District, addressing recent amendments to the district's Rule 1113, Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM); volatile organic compound (VOC) Test Method 313; and the district's future rulemaking plans.

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Aug 26, 2016

Small Business Advocacy Review Panel Issues Report on OSHA’s Proposed PSM Changes

(PAINT.ORG) On Aug. 1, the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (SBAR) issued its report on the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration's proposed changes to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. OSHA convened the panel on May 26, in accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), and five conference calls were held in late June, with panel members consisting of OSHA, the Small Business Administration, and White House Office of Management and Budget, participating along with Small Entity Representatives (SERs). Two ACA member companies had SERs participating on the SBAR panel.

The panel's report addressed its findings on issues related to small entity impacts and significant alternatives that accomplish the agency's objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities, and offered recommendations for the agency on its analysis and on possible approaches to regulatory action that may minimize impacts on small entities. Notably, the report cited considerable burdens the revised PSM would add to small businesses without commensurate safety and security benefits.

The SBAR report advised OSHA to limit its changes to only those that are necessary, and some companies questioned whether the PSM standard was the best approach to controlling risk. "Instead, something short of a full PSM program would be adequate to address the risks, particularly risks that arose primarily from the storage of materials," the report stated. The SBAR panel report also suggested that requirement to analyze safer technology and alternatives should be replaced by "performance-based" standards.

The report also stated that some of the chemical substances OSHA is considering adding to the PSM's Appendix A — the list of 137 highly hazardous substances that trigger PSM coverage — may not warrant justification based on their level of hazard, and that a risk-based approach to a chemical inventory should be pursued.

The PSM standard amendments are part of an effort under President Obama's Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, which was charged with identifying issues to modernize the PSM standard to prevent major chemical accidents following the 2013 West, Texas explosion related to ammonium nitrate. The PSM standard is a comprehensive management program for highly hazardous chemicals issued in 1992 in response to a number of incidents that occurred involving catastrophic chemical releases, and is intended to reduce employee exposure to highly hazardous substances in the workplace. The standard covers the manufacturing of explosives and processes involving threshold quantities of flammable liquids and flammable gasses (10,000 pounds), as well as 137 listed highly hazardous chemicals. The modernization topics OSHA is considering stem from industry best practices, inspection history, stakeholder comments received in response to OSHA's 2013 Request for Information and lessons learned from accidents involving highly hazardous chemicals. A number of these topics overlap with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Risk Management Plan (RMP) proposed rule, including third party compliance audits, root cause analysis requirements, and safer alternatives analyses. These are issues of major concern to many industries because of the potential high costs, added administrative burden, and lack of commensurate benefits in safety. ACA provided comments to EPA in response to these issues in the RMP proposed rule.

EPA recently completed a similar SBAR panel regarding proposed changes to the RMP regulations — regulations that closely track the PSM Standard. OSHA and EPA are obligated to commence SBAR panels if they are considering regulations that can potentially have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed changes to both PSM and RMP have been widely considered to be potentially significant and costly for chemical facilities, with little correlation to addressing significant risks of harm or improving chemical safety and security.

EPA Seeks Comments on Draft Aquatic Life Ambient Estuarine/Marine Water Quality Criteria for Copper

(PAINT.ORG) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a July 29-published Federal Register notice, asked for comments on its Draft Aquatic Life Ambient Estuarine/Marine Water Quality Criteria for Copper—2016. The draft includes EPA's Biotic Ligand Model test method for copper toxicity to marine life.

The draft BLM could benefit boaters and marinas faced with strict regulation of copper-based anti-fouling paint, especially in California, where regulators have set strict limits on dissolved copper in Marina del Rey and other basins, leading to restrictions on the use of copper-based paint.

If approved, BLM would provide a cost-effective scientific tool to determine copper toxicity, and could persuade environmental regulators to decline to impose unneeded mitigation measures.

EPA will accept comments submitted through Sept. 27. In order to allow EPA to finalize the proposal quickly, ACA is currently evaluating the proposal and working with allied industry partners to determine whether to file comments.

EPA's proposal recommends that states incorporate into their water quality criteria the agency's recently-developed saltwater biotic ligand model (BLM) and the latest scientific information for estuarine/marine aquatic organisms. According to the notice, "the updated recommended criteria will be particularly beneficial in the adoption of water quality standards for the protection of aquatic life in and around coastal harbors and marinas, where antifouling paints and coatings on vessels and marine structures represent one of the most commonly identified sources of copper to the estuarine/marine environment."

Notably, California's Marina del Rey copper loading exceeds the current Clean Water Act thresholds, and the California water authorities are considering drastic mitigation measures, including the reduction of the use of copper-based antifouling coatings, changes in under water hull cleaning practices, and possible dredging. ACA's Antifouling Coatings Committee last year hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop in California's Marina del Rey on its copper total maximum daily load (TMDL), including industry, L.A. Regional Water Quality Board (LARWQCB), California State Lands Commission, California Department of Pesticide Regulations, U.S. Navy, and environmental services contractors. ACA was also instrumental in securing passage of California Assembly Bill 425, which directs the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop mitigation measures regarding copper-based antifouling coatings to protect aquatic environments, and was only signed into law on Oct. 5, 2013. ACA maintains that LARWQCB's suggested TMDL ignores the intended purpose of the law, and bypasses the scientific evaluation by DPR. ACA strongly believes that the mitigation strategies required from Bill 425 should be given time to take effect, and that the water agency is acting without the complete scientific picture.

California AB 425, Antifouling Paint Registration and Mitigation, requires that DPR establish a leach rate for copper-based antifouling paint used on recreational vessels and make recommendations for appropriate mitigation measures that may be implemented to address the protection of aquatic environments from the effects of exposure to that paint. The direction to DPR will ensure that the DPR registration for low-leach-rate, copper-based antifouling paint is completed by a date certain, and provide DPR the flexibility to consider all available mechanisms to achieve mitigation.

An EPA Fact Sheet on the Water Quality Criteria for Copper report is available here.

Jul 27, 2016

​Effective Business Waste Reduction Practices Webinar

USZWBC Webinar: Effective Business Waste Reduction Practices
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm PDT/2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
Register: https://uszwbc.org/events/upcoming/effective-business-waste-reduction-practices-webinar/
Looking upstream to eliminate wasting before it occurs is the highest priority action businesses can take to reduce their waste. At the core of waste reduction is the simple notion of consuming fewer resources- the biggest impact we can have on our planet and our businesses. On the next monthly U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (www.uszwbc.org<http://www.uszwbc.org>) webinar, we will discuss how to implement effective business waste reduction practices to prevent waste from being generated in the first place. Speakers will discuss actions businesses have taken to prevent everything from food waste to unneeded supplies to manufacturing waste from occurring.
Speakers include Darlene Edwards, Director Facilities Management, Follett Corporation and Claire Cummings, Waste Specialist, Bon Appetit Management Co. Follett is a USZWBC Certified Zero Waste Facility and will be sharing some of the waste prevention measures that helped them earn the certification.
Register today at: https://uszwbc.org/events/upcoming/effective-business-waste-reduction-practices-webinar/

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Jul 20, 2016

How to stop deforestation? Give indigenous people rights to land: U.N. expert

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indigenous people are better than governments at preventing forests from being cut and should be seen as a solution, not a barrier to protecting them, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People said on Tuesday.

Indigenous peoples and communities have claims to two thirds of the world's land but are legally recognized as holding only 10 percent, according to think thank World Resources Institute (WRI).

Without title deeds, indigenous communities may find their land is taken over for major development projects such as palm oil plantations and logging.

"Society thinks that indigenous peoples are claiming land that they shouldn't be having because it should be used for expanded food production," U.N. Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But giving indigenous peoples rights to land was a guarantee that forests, which store carbon and contribute to food security would continue to exist, Tauli-Corpuz said.

"In the Philippines we had maps done which show the overlap between the communities whose rights to land and territories have been recognized and the remaining forest in the country," she said on the sidelines of a global forest conference in Rome.

"The so-called protected areas that were managed by the government were deforested compared to the territories where indigenous peoples continued to live," she said.

"That shows that the interventions of indigenous peoples are more effective in terms of protecting and sustaining the forest compared to the efforts of governments," the Philippines native said.

Tauli-Corpuz said conservation efforts should not serve as an excuse to remove indigenous peoples from their land because, depending on forests for survival, they are best placed to monitor and protect them.

"... studies show that where the (indigenous) people are the ones taking care of the forests, conservation is much more effective," she said.

Tauli-Corpuz called on governments to end impunity for killings of activists, like Berta Caceres, an award-winning Honduran environmental rights activist, who was shot dead in March.

"If discrimination against indigenous peoples continues then that is the yardstick by which the dominant society behaves against indigenous peoples," Tauli-Corpuz said.

"Indigenous peoples shouldn't be killed because they are asserting that they would like to be heard."

According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries.