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/

Please forward to  interested parties

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.

FINAL WARNING: OSHA to Increase Penalties by Almost 80 Percent Starting August 1

(PAINT.ORG) The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will be adjusting its penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act for inflation, which will increase maximum penalties by almost 80 percent starting Aug. 1, 2016. The new penalties will take effect after Aug. 1, so any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015.

Last year, Congress passed the 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The new law mandates that federal agencies adjust their civil penalties for inflation every year. OSHA has not increased its civil penalties since 1990, and the agency has asked Congress to pass this measure to allow them to increase penalties for years. Under the new law, OSHA had to publish an interim final rule to adjust its penalties for inflation by July 1, 2016.

Last week, the Department of Labor announced that it had published two interim final rules to adjust penalties: one rule covers penalties assessed by OSHA and other departments such as the Mine Safety & Health Administration and Office of Workers' Compensation Programs; the second rule applies to penalties associated with the H-2B temporary guest worker program.

With the adjustments, OSHA's civil penalties will increase by 78 percent, with its top penalty for serious violations rising from $7,000 to $12,471, and its top penalty for willful or repeated violations rising from $70,000 to $124,709. The increased penalties apply to penalties assessed by OSHA after Aug. 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. OSHA believes these penalty increases will deter violations and significantly benefit workers. States that operate their own plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as federal OSHA's.

The interim final rule is available here.

For more information about the new penalties, please see this chart provided by OSHA.

OSHA Delays Effective Date for Enforcing Employees’ Rights to Report Workplace Injuries, Illnesses

(PAINT.ORG) The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on July 13 that it is delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new injury and illness tracking rule for the purposes of conducting additional outreach and providing educational materials and guidance for employers. Originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, enforcement will now begin Nov. 1, 2016.

OSHA released its "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" Final Rule on May 11.  While much of the regulation prescribes when employers should submit electronic illness and injury records to OSHA, the final rule also included requirements for employers to do the following:

  • Inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation;
  • Implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are "reasonable" and do not deter workers from reporting; and
  • Incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

However, in this final rule, OSHA makes new policies about employer incentive programs and mandatory drug testing, creating much concern among employers and the legal community that these long-standing practices could now be considered "deterring or discouraging" employees from reporting depending on how OSHA enforces this final rule.

Certain Drug Testing Policies and Incentive Programs Could Be Considered "Deterring" Employees from Proper Reporting, in Violation of New Regulation

In the final rule, OSHA states that it believes blanket post-injury drug testing policies "deter proper reporting." The final rule prohibits employers from using drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses. OSHA gives the following example of how this should be implemented in the final rule:

"To strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use. For example, it would likely not be reasonable to drug-test an employee who reports a bee sting, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or a machine or tool malfunction. Such a policy is likely only to deter reporting without contributing to the employer's understanding of why the injury occurred, or in any other way contributing to workplace safety.

Employers need not specifically suspect drug use before testing, but there should be a reasonable possibility that drug use by the reporting employee was a contributing factor to the reported injury or illness in order for an employer to require drug testing. In addition, drug testing that is designed in a way that may be perceived as punitive or embarrassing to the employee is likely to deter injury reporting."

As for employee incentive programs, OSHA addresses the concerns of commenters in the final rule by saying that if programs are not "structured carefully, they have the potential to discourage reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses." OSHA states that the specific rules and implementation of any given incentive program must be considered to determine whether or not it violates the final rule. OSHA provides the following examples in the final rule:

"It is a violation of paragraph (b)(1)(iv) for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness, whether or not such adverse action was part of an incentive program. Therefore, it is a violation for an employer to use an incentive program to take adverse action, including denying a benefit, because an employee reports a work-related injury or illness, such as disqualifying the employee for a monetary bonus or any other action that would discourage or deter a reasonable employee from reporting the work-related injury or illness.

In contrast, if an incentive program makes a reward contingent upon, for example, whether employees correctly follow legitimate safety rules rather than whether they reported any injuries or illnesses, the program would not violate this provision."

Employers now will have to re-evaluate their current policies to make sure they are consistent with OSHA's interpretation of these new employee retaliation provisions.

OSHA Delay and Pending Lawsuit

While OSHA states that the reason for the delayed implementation was to provide the opportunity to conduct additional outreach, this delay comes at the heels of an industry-initiated lawsuit filed against OSHA on July 8, 2016, challenging these very sections of the new regulation.

In the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, the plaintiffs Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Great American Insurance Company, Owen Steel Company, Atlantic Precast Concrete, and Oxford Property Management assert that these new provisions are unlawful because OSHA has exceeded its statutory authority, and these policies prohibit or otherwise limit incident-based employer safety incentive programs and routine mandatory post-accident drug testing requirements.

"Incident Incident-based safety incentive programs and routine, mandatory post-accident drug testing programs…help employers to promote workplace safety, which is supposed to be OSHA's primary mission also," the complaint states. "Instead, out of a misguided zeal to improve accuracy of reporting on workplace injuries (albeit with no evidence that injuries are not already being accurately reported), OSHA has lost sight of the importance of reducing the number and severity of injuries themselves."

The complaint goes on to assert that OSHA provides no evidence that drug testing or safety incentive programs lead to inaccurate reporting or underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses, and that a prohibition or other limitation on safety programs will result in an increase in work-related injuries and illnesses. The plaintiffs also state that OSHA failed to consider the evidence presented that demonstrates the value of safety incentives and post-accident drug testing to workplace safety and health.

Update on California Air Resources Board’s 2015 Data Collection Efforts

​(PAINT.ORG) California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has been engaged in a data collection effort since 2013 in order to provide the basis for the development of the 2016 State Implementation Plans the state must submit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As of July 1, 2016, data collection for the 2015 calendar year has begun.

Your company may be required to report data to CARB through the agency's Consumer Products Reporting Tool (CPRT) on CARB's website by Nov. 1, 2016. CARB held a 2015 Reporting Requirements webinar on June 29.

CARB's data collection effort focuses on commercial products, and aerosol coatings sold in or supplied to California. The surveys will require manufacturers' and suppliers' participation in a multi-year data collection, whereby sales and product ingredient data, including information on volatile organic compound (VOC) content, will be required. CARB will use the information provided through these surveys to update the state's inventory of emissions of VOCs and low-vapor-pressure VOCs (LVP-VOCs), after which it will determine the feasibility of further reducing VOC emissions. The survey is part of CARB's effort to control ozone pollution by limiting VOC emissions, and CARB stated that such data is necessary to establish the scientific basis for the clean air plans and related rulemakings to address the stricter national standards for ozone and fine particulates.

Notably, for the 2015 calendar year, several categories are exempt and do not require any reporting. These categories include:

  • 10101 Arts and Crafts Adhesive
  • 10102 Automobile Headliner Adhesive
  • 10103 Automotive Engine Compartment Adhesive
  • 10108 Fabric/Textiles Adhesive
  • 10109 Flexible Vinyl Adhesive
  • 10112 Laminate Repair/Edgebanding Adhesive
  • 10113 Mist Spray Adhesive
  • 10114 Mounting Adhesive
  • 10116 Polyolefin Adhesive
  • 10117 Polystyrene Foam Adhesive
  • 10119 Screen Printing Adhesive
  • 10121 Tackifying Agent (semi-permanent)
  • 10122 Temporary/Removable Adhesive
  • 10123 Thread Locking Compound
  • 10124 Wallpaper Adhesive
  • 10125 Web Spray Adhesive
  • 10201 Cold Process Roof Cement (aerosol only)
  • 10203 Floor Seam Sealer
  • 10205 Painter's Putty
  • 10206 Pipe Thread Sealant/Pipe Joint Compound
  • 10207 Plumber's Putty
  • 10208 Rubberized Sealant
  • 10212 Tile and Grout Sealer
  • 10213 Window Glazing Compound
  • 20201 Artist Solvent and Thinner
  • 21016 Rubber and Vinyl Protectant (aerosol)
  • 21017 Rubber and Vinyl Protectant (non-aerosol)
  • 30906 Nail Glue or Adhesive
  • 30909 Nail Polish Thinner
  • 30911 Nail Treatment Product
  • 70109 Paint and Surface Cleaner
  • 70110 Paint and Surface Protectant (including antifouling products)
  • 80101 – 80399 All Aerosol Coatings Products

Please note that if a company's products are on the exempt list, an abbreviated submission is still required, but sales and formula data do not need to be included.  

CARB is not only using the survey reports for data collection and analysis, but also using this information to determine whether reporting companies are in compliance with the regulations. Consequently, if they discover that a company is not in compliance with a particular limit, they will forward the survey response information to ARB's Enforcement Division.

CARB's data collection effort is now in its third year. For the 2013 calendar year, 1,800 Data Collection survey responses are complete; over 302,000 products were included in these responses; and over 135,000 label files were submitted. For the Data Collection for 2014 calendar year, approximately 1,550 survey response are complete; over 250,000 products reported; and over 45,000 label files submitted.

More information on CARB's data collection process is available here. For general consumer products questions, please email csmrprod@arb.ca.gov.

SCAQMD Releases 2016 Air Quality Management Plan

​California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has published its draft 2016 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). This plan will serve as the district's blueprint for reaching air quality standards attainment, and details potential future regulatory actions. For the coatings industry, SCAQMD has developed draft control measures for coatings, adhesives and sealants (CTS-01).

SCAQMD is accepting comments on the AQMP through Aug. 19. ACA's Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) volatile organic compound (VOC) and Industrial Air Regulatory Committees will be submitting comments by that deadline.

The district's AQMP seeks volatile organic compound (VOC) emission reductions by focusing on select coating, adhesive, solvent, and sealant categories by further limiting the allowable VOC content in formulations or incentivizing the use of super-compliant technologies. Examples of the categories to be considered include, but are not limited to: coatings used in aerospace applications; adhesives used in a variety of sealing applications; and solvents for graffiti abatement activities. Reductions could be achieved by lowering the VOC content of the coatings, solvents, adhesives, and sealants where possible, but reductions could also be achieved by promoting the use of alternative low-VOC products or non-VOC product/equipment at industrial facilities.

The following provides an overview of the district's proposed future regulatory actions:

  • Rule 1107 – Coating of Metal Parts, and Rule 1168 – Adhesive and Sealant Applications Amendments
    In general, SCAQMD is looking for 1 ton per day of VOC reductions, likely from both categories. Both rules were suspended until the Heath Risk Assessment (HRA) on tertiary-Butyl Acetate (tBAc) is finalized. Once the HRA is finalized, the amendments will resume.
  • Rule 1106 – Marine Coating Operations, and Rule 1106.1 – Pleasure Craft Coating Operations
    SCAQMD's Governing Board did not adopt proposed amendments to these rules in 2015 due to proposed recordkeeping requirements, but staff still intends to combine the rules to promote clarity and evaluate whether the rules satisfy Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements.
  • Rule 1124 – Aerospace Assembly and Component Manufacturing Operations
    The district is evaluating whether the rule satisfies RACT requirements.
  • Rule 1128 – Paper, Fabric, and Film Coating Operations
    The district is evaluating the applicability of spray booths or non-coating line processes used in paper, fabric, and film coating operations.
  • Rule 1136 – Wood Product Coatings
    The district is considering restriction or elimination of potential loopholes and evaluate toxic emissions resulting from furniture stripping.
  • Rules 314 – Fees for Architectural Coatings, Rule 1113 – Architectural Coatings, Rule 1143 – Consumer Paint Thinners and Multi-Purpose Solvents, and 1171 – Solvent Cleaning Operations
    The district is assessing the potential to achieve State Implementation Plan (SIP) reductions through certification programs (e.g., Clean Air Solvent, Clean Air Choices Cleaner Product Certification, or a coatings certification program) or reporting programs.

Read on at:  http://www.paint.org/scaqmd-releases-2016-air-quality-management-plan/

Workshop: Pollution Prevention and Lean Principles for Food Manufacturers, July 27, Chicago

July 27, 2016, 8 am-5 pm
Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Lake Huron Room
77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

Cost: $125 (Lunch on your own)

Register at http://go.illinois.edu/P2andLeanWorkshop

Questions? Contact Laura Barnes

This workshop will help you improve the efficiency of your organization by identifying ways to limit pollutants and apply lean principles within an environmental management system.

Lean operating principles help your company improve the bottom line, reduce your regulatory burdens, and increase the overall efficiency of your organization.

Food manufacturers achieve significant savings when they put pollution prevention into practice.

  • Cargill, a major US meat manufacturer, reduced 7,800,000 pounds of methane gas and reduced natural gas by 20-35% by investing in an automated biogas capture system, which saved them $750,000 dollars.
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) used a P2 approach to save over $69,000 in reducing air emissions while generating over $250,000 per year by re-using boiler ash as a raw material used for cement, concrete blocks, and other products.
  • Anheuser-Busch installed a multi-stage residuals evaporator which reduced the amount of BOD loadings to the sewer by nearly 23,000 pounds annually saving them $1,500,000.

Although this workshop is targeted at food manufacturers, attendees from other industrial sectors are welcome.

Who should attend?

  • Facility managers
  • Environmental & safety managers & directors
  • Environmental health & safety (EHS) personnel
  • Environmental specialists, planners, and coordinators
  • Environmental engineers
  • Environmental project & program managers
  • Anyone responsible for environmental activities in your organization

Workshop Facilitator

Thomas Vinson, Zero Waste Network

Thomas Vinson has worked for over two decades in the environmental field where he has become known for finding the connection between good business practices, and environmental quality management.

Thomas works closely with a national network of pollution prevention and lean specialists and the EPA to find ways that businesses can save money by reducing waste. Over the past two years, he has worked on projects that have helped companies identify ways to save over 1.5 million dollars, while reducing nearly 7 million tons of waste, three million gallons of water use, and over a million kWh of electricity use.

Measuring the economic and environmental impact of the manufacturing sector in the Great Lakes

The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region. In a new study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5.

The report, The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data, includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau's County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder.

 

Jul 19, 2016

EPA targets methane coming from landfills

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced new rules that "solid waste landfill operators must begin capturing methane emissions from their sites at levels one-third lower than current standards permit," Devin Henry reports for The Hill. EPA said the new standards "will reduce landfill emissions by up to 334,000 tons a year by 2025 and produce climate benefits worth $512 million annually by then."

The rule, finalized Friday after being proposed last year, "updates 20-year-old standards for methane emissions at landfills," Henry writes. "The rule comes as the Obama administration works to crack down on emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide. Officials have committed to cutting methane emissions from the oil-and-gas sector by between 40 percent and 45 percent by 2025, an EPA push that has prompted resistance from the drilling sector." (Read more)

Jul 14, 2016

64 Women to Sue in Three Japanese Courts Over Health Woes from Cervical Cancer Vaccines

The Japan Times:

A group of lawyers for 64 women who are suffering health problems from cervical cancer vaccines said Tuesday the victims will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on July 27.

Of the 64 women, 28 will lodge their suit with the Tokyo District Court, six with the Nagoya District Court, 16 with the Osaka District Court and 14 with the Fukuoka District Court, according to the lawyers.

Initially, the victims, mainly teenagers, will demand ¥15 million in damages each, for a total of ¥960 million, and increase the amount later depending on their symptoms. The victims' health problems include pain all over the body.

The average age of the 28 planning to file their suit with the Tokyo court is 18. They received the vaccination when they were between 11 and 16 years old.

Noting that the cervical cancer vaccines have caused nerve disorders and other problems due to the excessive immune reactions they caused, the lawyers claimed that the government's approval of the ineffective vaccines was illegal. The drugmakers bear product liability, they added.

Jul 11, 2016

​S. 2967, National Biodefense Strategy Act of 2016


S. 2967 would require the President to establish a Biodefense Coordination Council to develop a national strategy to help the federal government prevent and respond to major biological incidents. Under the bill, the President would be required to report to the Congress on the status of the strategy every 180 days until it is completed and to update the strategy at least every five years thereafter.

Read full here:
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/s2967.pdf

Germany may wait 100 years for nuclear waste facility

Germany will begin searching next year for a site for its nuclear waste storage facility, but it may take more than 100 years to get a secure facility up and running, to bury all of the country's growing pile of nuclear waste, Kallanish Energy learns.

After two years of research, a parliamentary commission put together to propose a solution for the problem of radioactive storage following the country's decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, said Tuesday the time frame is still considered "ambitious."

"The German Bundestag is due, according to current estimates, to start searching for an optimal secure place in 2017," the nearly 700-page report stated. "Decades will pass before the waste can be buried and possibly more than a century before this process ends."

The government had initially planned to find a suitable place to build the storage facility by 2031, which was scheduled to open in 2050. However, leading committee member Michael Muller said it would be logistically impossible to meet such targets.

A potential site is the waste facility in Gorleben, in Lower-Saxony state. However, the report said no decision was made with regards to this site, adding other places were under consideration.

Following the nuclear incident at Fukushima, in Japan, Germany decided in 2011 to shut down all nuclear reactors, leaving the country with a pressing need to find storage for its atomic waste.


Jul 7, 2016

H.R. 5064, Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016

H.R. 5064 would direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a strategy and methods for small business development centers (SBDC) to provide cyber security counseling, awareness, assistance, and training to their clients. The bill also would direct SBDC's to provide small businesses with access to cyber security specialists to develop security infrastructure, increase awareness, and improve training programs. H.R. 5064 would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on current federal programs aimed at assisting small businesses with enhancing cyber security. Finally, H.R. 5064 would authorize DHS, and other federal agencies, to provide information about cyber security risk to small businesses.

Read on at:
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/hr5064.pdf

A cheap, simple experiment just found a very effective way to slow deforestation

​WashingtonPost​: In a convincing new study conducted in Uganda and based on a program sponsored in part by its government, a team of researchers have found an effective and affordable way to combat deforestation in a country showing some of the fastest tree loss rates in the world. How? The program simply paid owners of forest land not to cut down their own trees for either agricultural purposes or to sell them for timber.

The research provides a positive model for protecting a forest region that is a hub for biodiversity, including serving as a key habitat for endangered chimpanzees. At the same time, it also validates the effectiveness of a "Payments for Ecosystems Services" program of the sort that could bolster the battle against global deforestation and its impact as a leading driver of climate change.

More such programs could be supported under a broader United Nations initiative called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), in which richer countries and other international funders make payments to developing nations in exchange for protecting their vital trees. That quest that has only become more urgent after an explicit shout-out to the importance of combating deforestation, and REDD+, in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

In the new study, just published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, owners of forested land in 60 villages in the Hoima and Kibaale districts of western Uganda were offered $ 28 per year (70,000 Ugandan shillings) over two years for every hectare of forest that they did not harvest or chop down for other economic reasons. By comparison, in 61 other villages, nothing was offered — but rates of deforestation were monitored by satellite in all villages.

The result was that while forest cover decreased by between 7 and 10 percent in the "control" villages, it only dropped between 2 to 5 percent in the designated "treatment" villages, suggesting that the incentive payments were preventing a significant number of landowners from selling large trees for timber or charcoal, or chopping down forest to grow more crops.

"This study I think of as an important proof of concept that this did have a big impact, and a lot of the money that was being paid was really creating new forest cover that would have disappeared absent the program," said Seema Jayachandran, an economist at Northwestern University who led the research, which was conducted with colleagues from Stanford, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Porticus Foundation.

The study validates the idea that deforestation can be battled in a cost-effective way, a policy possibility that emerges in part because of vast global economic inequities. This has created a situation where encouraging forest preservation in relatively poorer, developing countries, where forests are often relied on for livelihoods, turns out to be more cost effective.

"In terms of the global impact, we don't care if a tree is kept intact in the U.S. versus in Uganda, but the income someone is getting for that tree in Uganda is less than they're getting in the U.S.," said Jayachandran.

The study estimated that the cost of delaying the emission of a ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere under this program was just 57 cents — but the benefit of doing so, based on calculations using the EPA's standard "social cost of carbon" measurement, was $ 1.11.



Jul 6, 2016

Will our rapid deforestation cause extinction of food chain

But how are forests on the land different from islands in the sea in terms of species extinction?


Figure 1: Extent of Deforestation in Borneo 1950-2005, Projection to 2020. The island of Borneo is split between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

"One of the main differences between habitat islands and true islands is the intervening matrix," says Koh. By 'matrix', Koh does not mean an alternate reality where one can fight in slow-motion, but instead the type of landscapes in targeted areas, such as old-growth forests, secondary forest, small-scale agriculture, pasture, plantations, urban landscapes, and many others.

"In true island systems, the matrix is the ocean. It is quite reasonable to assume that most terrestrial organisms would not survive very well in this ocean matrix. The same, however, cannot be said of the matrix between habitat islands on a mainland because, in this case, the matrix could be a whole variety of land uses," Koh says, adding that "the main constraint of the conventional species-area model is that it assumes all organisms respond exactly the same to matrix (i.e. to be like an ocean)."

For example, a Komodo dragon cannot survive in the ocean and so its habitat is literally constricted to the islands it lives on. If those islands were to become inhabitable—for example if sea levels rose and swamped them—the Komodo dragon would go extinct. In turn, while a leopard cat surely thrives in pristine rainforest, it may also survive in partially logged forest and even in some agricultural areas. So, even if the leopard cat loses all of its forest habitat—or most of it—the species may survive in other areas.

However, the situation is far from simple. For example, one bird species may survive in forests and in certain types of agriculture, but another bird species may only survive in pristine forests, while a third may inhabit everything from forest to plantations to urban environments. So, how does one predict extinction in face of such complexities?

To answer this, Koh has developed a matrix-calibrated model that "takes account of the specific response of the organisms to each component of matrix". In other words Koh's model combines habitat loss with a species' sensitivity to surrounding matrices to determine the likelihood of extinction.


The matrix model.

Not satisfied with simply developing a new model, Koh tested the new model, dubbed the matrix model, against the conventional island biogeography theory and another theory, called the countryside model, in a "'prediction accuracy' competition". The test looked at survival of bird species in 20 biodiversity hotspots.

"The winner would be the model that produced predictions that were closest to actual known bird extinctions or endangerment," Koh said.

The matrix model took first prize. "I found that the matrix-calibrated model was the best model among all models considered, and it was 13.5 times more strongly supported by the data than the conventional model," Koh says. The countryside model proved least accurate of the three, while the conventional model overestimated extinction in 18 of 20 of the hotspots—not surprising since this model assumes all habitats outside of forest are unlivable which may be true for some species but hardly all.

If accepted by conservationists, the improved accuracy of the matrix model is likely to revolutionize where and how conservationists employ their resources.

"The matrix-calibrated model can now be used to explore the consequences of changes in the entire landscape, including not just the amount of forest but also the quality of the resultant land uses that now comprise the matrix. Not only will conservationists be able to make more accurate predictions of biodiversity loss from land-use change, they could also use the matrix-calibrated model to predict potential biodiversity enhancements from improvements in the quality of the matrix," Koh says, adding that "to me this is a significant step forward because now we can potentially prescribe measures to increase biodiversity!"

"Although the number of threatened species is less than estimated in some previous studies, we stress that ongoing and future land-use changes pose serious threats to Amazonian biodiversity. If the risk estimates from this study are applied to the 50,000 total vascular plant species (12,500 canopy trees) estimated to occur in the Amazon Basin, we predict that between 2,400 and 4,550 species (600–1,138 species of trees) will become committed to extinction over the next several decades because of land-use change alone," they write. 

"This is an unacceptable loss rate and calls for strong and immediate conservation actions."

Please read full at mongabay 

Webinar on Community Food waste from EPA July 21 at noon CT, featuring cases studies, including Iowa City, IA


 

Thursday July 21 at 1:00pm - 2:30pm EST
Food: Too Good to Waste - Community Results and Lessons Learned

REGISTER HERE for the FREE webinar or at Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6987235140363629059 

Currently, over 30% of the food currently grown and processed in the U.S. goes uneaten. When wholesome, edible food ends up in a landfill, all those embedded resources (along with the money spent on them) also get wasted.  This impacts the environment, our community and the bottom line.  The Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit was designed and developed for local governments and other community partners to help prevent wasted food in households.  This community food waste prevention toolkit has been tested throughout the US and helps households save money while reducing wasted food by up to 50%. During this webinar we will present results from an evaluation report on several campaign implementations and hear from three of those communities who successfully implemented this toolkit.

Presenters:


 
Ashley Zanolli, Senior Policy and Program Advisor - Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ)
Ashley Zanolli is considered a national expert on consumer food waste prevention. Ashley is currently leading the development of a statewide strategy in Oregon to prevent the wasting of food and to engage stakeholders.  Prior to her current assignment at ODEQ, Ashley co-led the West Coast Climate & Materials Management Forum for the past 5 years which is convened by EPA Regions 9 and 10.  Through the Forum, she led the development, implementation and evaluation of the Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit.  She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and serves on various national advisory councils, including the Food Waste Reduction Alliance.  Ashley is currently on assignment from the US EPA to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's Materials Management Program.

 

Karen May, Solid Waste Division - King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks
For the past four years, Karen May has led King County's Food: Too Good to Waste campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of food waste and to encourage residents to adopt behaviors that prevent wasted food.   Karen also manages several education and outreach programs for the King County Solid Waste Division including its Master Recycler Composter volunteer program, recycling collection events and compost incentives program.  She has a Master's degree in Geology from Montana State University.  

 
Jennifer Jordan, Recycling Coordinator - City of Iowa City
In the summer of 2014, Jennifer Jordan worked with the US EPA to pilot Food: Too Good to Waste, and in addition, piloted a residential curbside food waste collection program.  Jen is a certified compost operator; she has worked with commercial partners in Iowa City and Johnson County to increase the amount of food waste being diverted to the commercial compost facility at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.  Jen currently serves on the Iowa Food Waste Stakeholder Coalition.  Jennifer Jordan has a BA in Geography and a MA in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Iowa.  

 
Antonia Bryson, Environment Work Group Chair - Rhode Island Food Policy Council
Through her work at the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, Antonia Bryson reaches out to the local communities within the state to promote and coordinate efforts to lessen impacts of the food system on the environment. Her focus is on diverting food waste from Rhode Island's landfill, supporting composting, educating populations on food waste reduction, and helping implement the State's ban on food waste.  She also serves on the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, promoting conservation practices with farmers, municipalities and nonprofits, and manages 160 acres of forest land.  For 30 years she practiced environmental law in New York City. She served as a Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, as chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory board, and as Chief of the Environmental Division of the New York City Law Department. She later represented community groups and nonprofits fighting environmental degradation in their neighborhoods and citywide.

 

Leo Pollock, Network Director - Rhode Island Food Policy Council
Leo Pollock is the Network Director for the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC), and has been one of the key architects in its design and development in Rhode Island. The RIFPC is dedicated to creating partnerships, developing policies, and advocating for improvements to the local food system to increase and expand its capacity, viability, and sustainability.   He is also a Co-Founder of The Compost Plant. Leo previously served as the Director of Programs for the Southside Community Land Trust, and holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Development focused on environmental policy and business partnerships from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College. He serves on the Board of Hope & Main, Rhode Island's first culinary incubator, and was a 2015 Wild Gift Fellow for his work with The Compost Plant.

New Report Cites Decrease in TRI Air Emissions for Paint and Coatings Industry

​PAINT.ORG: A new report documents general downward trends in air emissions by the paint and coatings industry that have resulted from industry R&D, market demand, recent regulatory developments, and continuing market trends toward water-based coatings, powder coatings, ultraviolet cure coatings, and other processes, as well as lower-emitting coating products. The report analyzes Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) air emissions from the entire coatings manufacturing industry, with a focus on Clean Air Act air toxics and other chemicals of special interest. It presents 25-year trends in air emissions (1990-2014) and identifies the chemicals and facilities contributing the greatest toxicity-weighted hazard. TRI data have been used for this analysis for several reasons, most importantly because these data are available annually, allowing for the 25-year time series analysis.

The new report includes the following paint and coatings industry achievements:

  • 81% reduction in TRI air release toxics releases since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 82% reduction in TRI air toxics since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 92% reduction in TRI urban air toxics since 1990, and 92% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 90% reduction in TRI metal air toxics since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard

The report also includes air release trends for the top toxicity weighted chemicals:

  • Chromium and Chromium Compounds – 92% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Diisocyanates – 87% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Nickel and Nickel Compounds – 84% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Cobalt and Cobalt Compounds – 99% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Ethylbenzene – 75% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Acrylonitrile – 93% reduction in releases since 1990
  • 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene – 67% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Napthalene – 94% reduction in releases since 1990

The new report issued last month also details trends for the following:

  • Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals: These include 594 chemicals that cause one or more of the following: cancer or other chronic human health effects; significant adverse acute human health effects; or significant adverse environmental effects.
  • Toxic Release Inventory Air Toxics: Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAP), are known or are suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.
  • Urban Air Toxics: A subset of 30 hazardous air pollutants that present the greatest threats to public health in urban areas.
  • Toxic Release Metal Air Toxics: Of the TRI chemicals, 24 are metal.
  • Toxicity Weighted Hazard: Each TRI chemical can also weighted by a relative toxicity weight using EPA's Risk-Screening Environmental Indicator (RSEI) model – chemicals that have a greater toxic effect are weighted heavier than lower toxicity chemicals.

In preparation for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) review of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for Miscellaneous Coatings Manufacturing (MCM) in the next two years, ACA's Environmental Management Committee sought out an independent consultant, Mesler Environmental Consulting, to research and document the industry's toxic release inventory emissions, as tracked by EPA. ACA is concerned that EPA will impose even more onerous and costly MCM facility add-on control, work practice, and monitoring requirements.

The new report's findings support ACA's longstanding position that the industry's efforts to manufacture products in an environmentally conscious way, without compromising product performance, have paid off; current VOC and HAP regulations are working; and further restricting these regulations are not necessary. The new report should help strengthen ACA's advocacy efforts for future regulatory proposals to install onerous facility controls, particularly for the EPA's MCM MACT.

ACA was a member of EPA's Sector Strategies Program between 2003 and 2009. As part of this program, EPA released three Sector Strategies Performance Reports (2004, 2006, and 2008) that cited the paint and coatings industry's significant environmental progress in reducing air emissions, among other improvements. The last publication in 2008 documented the paint and coatings industry's decrease in overall air emissions, release of criteria air pollutants, water use and discharge, and waste generation.

That EPA program was discontinued after 2008, but the last Sector Strategies Report documented significant decreases in the paint and coatings industry's TRI air emission trends from 1990 to 2003. Using this data, ACA advocacy efforts resulted in more technically sound and reasonable rules.

To view the new report, click here.

EPA Releases Implementation Plan for Revised TSCA

​PAINT.ORG: On June 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a webinar to discuss the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) statute — the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act — signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2016. EPA stated that the new law included much-needed improvements, including a new risk-based safety standard, more funding for EPA to implement TSCA, deadlines EPA must meet to evaluate existing chemicals, and more public access to chemical information.

On its website, EPA released a first-year implementation plan since the revised law imposes a number of new responsibilities on the agency, accompanied by implementation deadlines. Some of the statute's changes are in effect now and will have immediate impact, while other changes in the law will require EPA to promulgate new rules and policies. EPA's roadmap for implementation includes the following information.

Immediate Actions

  • Pending PMNs and SNUNs Must Be Re-evaluated
    Given the new safety standard, EPA must evaluate pending pre-manufacture notices (PMNs) and significant new use notices(SNUNs) according to the new risk-based standard. Furthermore, under the new law, EPA must make an affirmative determination on PMNs and SNUNs before a manufacturer or importer can introduce the new chemical into commerce. As such, EPA will likely review these notices with heightened scrutiny. EPA stated that while it will make every effort to complete its review and make determinations within the remaining time under the notices' original deadlines, the new law has reset the 90-day review period from June 22, 2016. The immediate impact could be that companies that have pending PMNs and SNUNs will have to wait an additional 90 days before hearing back from EPA on whether or not their notices are approved.
  • Ongoing Chemical Reviews Must Be Re-evaluated
    EPA currently has a number of chemicals that are under review under Section 6 of TSCA, including trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride, and N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). Given the new safety standard, EPA must review the chemicals according to the new risk-based standard and propose rules in accordance with the new TSCA's risk-management provisions. According to EPA, the agency plans to release the proposed regulations for these chemicals on the following schedule:
    • Proposed rule for TCE in spot-cleaning and aerosol degreasing: October 2016
    • Proposed rule for TCE in vapor degreasing: December 2016
    • Proposed rule for methylene chloride and NMP in paint removers: December 2016
  • New Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claims Must Be Reviewed
    The new TSCA requires EPA to routinely review and determine (within 90 days) all new confidentiality claims for chemical identity of chemicals that have been offered for commercial distribution and, where claim is upheld, apply a unique identifier to the chemical and any associated information. EPA intends to meet the 90-day deadline for incoming CBI claims and create a plan to link associated information by mid-July 2016.
  • 2016 CDR Submissions Must Have New Certification Language
    EPA states that there are changes in the new law related to CBI submitted under TSCA. For the 2016 CDR submitters — who have until September 30th to submit their data — EPA changed the wording of the CBI certification statement to be consistent with the requirements in the new law. EPA is updating the guidance, instructions, and other information documents to be consistent with the new certification language.

Upcoming Rulemakings

The revised TSCA mandates EPA to commence rulemakings for several significant changes to the statute. Based on the changes to the law, EPA released the following implementation schedule.

  • Within Six (6) Months
    • Publish the list of 10 TSCA Work Plan chemicals and initiate risk evaluations of those chemicals. EPA must publish the scope of each risk assessment 6 months afterward
    • Meet with stakeholders potentially subject to new user fees
    • Form Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals
    • Publish list of mercury compounds prohibited from export (90 days)
    • Determine whether revision to small business definitions is warranted
  • Within One (1) Year
    • Publish final rule to reset TSCA inventory
    • Publish final rule on prioritization process for existing chemicals
    • Publish final rule on risk evaluation process for high priority chemicals
    • Publish final rule on new user fee structure
    • Publish annual plan for which chemical evaluations are expected to be initiated

To read EPA's new resources on TSCA, go to https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act.

For opportunities for input from the public including briefings, webinars, public meetings, comment periods, etc., EPA has also made available this link to sign-up for updates on EPA's stakeholder engagement efforts.

OSHA to Increase Penalties by Almost 80 Percent Starting August 1

​PAINT.ORG: The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will be adjusting its penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act for inflation, which will increase maximum penalties by almost 80 percent starting Aug. 1, 2016. The new penalties will take effect after Aug. 1, so any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015.

Last year, Congress passed the 2015 Inflation Adjustment Act as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The new law mandates that federal agencies adjust their civil penalties for inflation every year. OSHA has not increased its civil penalties since 1990, and the agency has asked Congress to pass this measure to allow them to increase penalties for years. Under the new law, OSHA had to publish an interim final rule to adjust its penalties for inflation by July 1, 2016.

Last week, the Department of Labor announced that it had published two interim final rules to adjust penalties: one rule covers penalties assessed by OSHA and other departments such as the Mine Safety & Health Administration and Office of Workers' Compensation Programs; the second rule applies to penalties associated with the H-2B temporary guest worker program.

With the adjustments, OSHA's civil penalties will increase by 78 percent, with its top penalty for serious violations rising from $7,000 to $12,471, and its top penalty for willful or repeated violations rising from $70,000 to $124,709. The increased penalties apply to penalties assessed by OSHA after Aug. 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. OSHA believes these penalty increases will deter violations and significantly benefit workers. States that operate their own plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as federal OSHA's.

The interim final rule is available here.

For more information about the new penalties, please see this chart provided by OSHA.

Contact ACA's Javaneh Nekoomaram for more information.

Jun 30, 2016

U.S. EPA webinar on recent legislative amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

​EPA is today posting an Implementation Plan that outlines the Agency's first-year plans to implement recent legislative amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) made by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The Implementation Plan along with additional information on the new Act can be found at:  https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act.
 

As a reminder, EPA will host a webinar on June 30, 2016, from 2:00 to 3:00 EST to provide an informational overview of the new amendments, tailored to those unfamiliar with the new provisions. Additional opportunities for stakeholder engagement are also planned in the coming weeks. To log in to the webinar, go to http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/overviewreform/ and sign in as a guest. For audio, please call 866-299-3188, and enter code 2025648098#.

What now for the future of nuclear in the UK?

Nuclear regulation and Euratom - will we leave this Treaty too?

Nuclear regulation is founded in International Conventions, nuclear community peer groups and policy. This is overseen by the inter-governmental International Atomic Energy Agency, part of the United Nations family. Our participation in this is unlikely to waiver.

That is probably not the case with the Euratom Treaty, signed in 1957 at the same time as the Treaty of Rome. This was intended both as a tenet of peaceful coexistence and to allow civil use of nuclear for the generation of electricity. The Euratom Treaty administration is integrated with the European Commission.

Pre-referendum indications were that the UK will exit all EU Treaties. Assuming the UK's tie-in through EU membership will come to an end, a new atomic co-operation treaty between the UK and the Euratom community will need to be agreed. An exit from Euratom will also trigger the need to join the queue to agree a Section 123 of the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954 agreement as a prerequisite for nuclear deals between the US and the UK.

Read full at:

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=8171e36e-ae22-4a89-9da4-ad1b9a227048

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act of 2016

​H.R. 5390 would rename the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency. The bill also would consolidate certain missions of NPPD under two new divisions: the Cybersecurity Division and the Infrastructure Protection Division. Based on information from DHS, CBO has concluded that the bill would largely codify the department's existing plans to reorganize NPPD and would not impose any new operating requirements on the agency. On that basis, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 5390 would have no significant effect on the federal budget.

Jun 28, 2016

S. 2848, the $10.6 billion Water Resources Development Act of 2016

S. 2848 would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct projects to mitigate storm and hurricane damage, to improve navigation and flood management, and to assist state and local governments with safety programs for dams and levees. The bill also would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants and loans to state and local governments, public water systems, and nonprofit organizations to support a wide range of water quality projects and programs.

CBO estimates, that implementing this legislation would cost about $4.8 billion over the next five years and $10.6 billion over the 2017-2026 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts.

Revised version:

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/s2848revised.pdf

Landmark Amendments to Federal Chemical Safety Law Enacted

On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (the Lautenberg Act or the Act) into law. The legislation is the first comprehensive update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since Congress first enacted the law in 1976 and is expected to have far-reaching impacts on the U.S. industry.

 

TSCA is the federal law that gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate a broadly defined class of chemicals. Because the Act requires EPA to evaluate chemicals currently used in commerce as well as new products, it significantly expands EPA's authority to regulate widely used industrial chemicals—including those that were grandfathered in by the 1976 law. Accordingly, any business that uses chemicals in its operation should brace for regulatory changes and supply chain impacts. As President Obama noted during the bill signing ceremony last week, "this is a big deal." 

 

The Act caps off a ten-year effort to reform the TSCA, which was widely considered to be outdated and ineffective. Implementation will occur over the course of several years and will involve numerous rulemaking efforts. Industries impacted should plan now to stay engaged and provide feedback to EPA on how the law should be applied. 

 

The legislation contains a number of key reforms that enhance EPA's regulatory powers and alter state authority to regulate chemical use. Listed below are several key areas to keep in mind.

 
Preemption of State Regulation
 

The Lautenberg Act grandfathers in existing state regulation of chemicals, but may limit future state efforts to regulate chemical manufacture and use. State laws and regulations which were in effect before April 2016 and that address a specific chemical will remain in force. Going forward, states will be permitted to restrict specific chemicals until EPA moves to define the scope of its risk evaluation, and then states would be precluded from regulating uses or exposures that are within the scope of EPA's review.

 
Risk Prioritization

Under the new law, EPA will be required to establish a process for evaluating and prioritizing chemicals for risk assessment within the next year.

 

One criticism of the original TSCA was that it grandfathered more than 62,000 chemicals into the regulatory framework, making it difficult for EPA to target these chemicals for additional safety measures. Now, EPA will be charged with prioritizing both new and existing chemicals for review and additional regulatory efforts. EPA's evaluation must consider the hazard and exposure potential for a chemical, including the chemical's environmental persistence and whether certain populations may be significantly exposed or are particularly vulnerable to exposure.

 

Please read full at:
http://www.michaelbest.com/pubs/pubDetailMB.aspx?xpST=PubDetail&pub=4342