Jun 27, 2018

EPA Highlights Permit Streamlining Success

In support of the Trump Administration's efforts to expedite infrastructure projects, EPA's Smart Sectors program released a video, Best Practices in Permitting, highlighting best practices in environmental permitting. The video, which was developed to encourage replication for other permitting projects, features The Boeing Company, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (S.C. DHEC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), The Nature Conservancy, Open Space Institute, and Lowcountry Land Trust.

"A streamlined permit process, as called for by President Trump, is beneficial for both the environment and the economy," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "The best practices outlined in this video advance the President's One Federal Decision Memorandum for critical infrastructure projects and can help American job creators save time and resources while accelerating and improving environmental protections."

"Administrator Pruitt has set an ambitious goal of improving the Agency's permitting timelines to six months or less," said EPA Chief Operating Officer Henry Darwin. "As we pursue that goal, we want to highlight those who have worked together to obtain permits on a shorter timeline, so others realize this is doable and are encouraged to pursue similar success."

"Developed as a helpful resource for organizations that want to make infrastructure improvements, this video and story map marks the first of many Smart Sectors products designed to illustrate a collaborative process for achieving economic and environmental success," said EPA Office of Policy Acting Associate Administrator Brittany Bolen.

When Boeing decided to secure additional land for future growth in Charleston, South Carolina, the company identified 468 adjacent acres that met its needs. Because about 150 of those acres were wetlands, Boeing worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and EPA Region 4 to secure air and wetlands permits for development.

Just over six months after submitting the permit applications, Boeing received the permits to expand. One major component of the company's comprehensive mitigation plan involved protecting wetland and upland resources that are next to the Francis Marion National Forest. The mitigation plan included restoration and enhancement of aquatic resource functions and habitat improvements on nearly 4,000 acres of land, which will expand the green belt around Charleston. The land will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Forest Service and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, providing the public with access for hiking, bird watching, and other recreational activities. 

The wetlands mitigation plan benefits the community, water quality, wildlife, and threatened and endangered species. From a regulatory perspective, it also helps maintain and improve the Cooper River watershed by fully offsetting adverse impacts to aquatic resource functions associated with the expansion of the existing aircraft manufacturing and assembly complex.

The streamlined process showcased in the video supports President Trump's One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding – signed by 12 federal agencies in April – directing the establishment of a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of infrastructure projects. The video also underscores EPA's goal to reach permitting-related decisions within six months by Sept. 30, 2022. The video was developed by EPA's Smart Sectors program, which works with the aerospace industry and 13 other sectors of the economy to better understand the challenges and opportunities surrounding regulated industries.

For more information about EPA Smart Sectors: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors

Jun 26, 2018

EPA's Notice of Propose Rulemaking for Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention

On June 15, 2018, a proposed regulatory action to establish no additional regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 311(j)(1)(C) authority for CWA hazardous substances (HS) discharges prevention was signed by EPA's Administrator. EPA based this proposal on a review of existing regulations and analysis of the frequency and impacts of reported CWA HS discharges. The purpose of this action is to notify the public of EPA's proposed approach and provide an opportunity for public comment.

Jun 15, 2018

University of Utah Site Selected for $140 Million Geothermal Research and Development

Department of Energy Selects University of Utah Site for FORGE
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the University of Utah will receive up to $140 million in continued funding over the next five years for cutting-edge geothermal research and development. After three years of planning, site characterization, and competition, the proposed site outside of Milford, Utah, has been selected as the location of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) field laboratory. This new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), or manmade geothermal reservoirs.

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Jun 8, 2018

Regulatory Alert: e-Manifest User Fee Final Rule is effective June 30, 2018.

Regulatory Alert: The e-Manifest User Fee Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018, and is effective June 30, 2018.

The new 5-part form cannot be used until June 30. As soon as EPA approves the form, it will be available for order and begin shipping.

The current 6-part form must be used through June 29 and is prohibited from use after June 29, except as provided by EPA in the following: "EPA will accept Page 1 copies of the obsolete 6-copy forms for processing after June 30, 2018, but we strongly recommend that users transition to the 5-copy forms as quickly as possible. If a user wishes to continue to use the obsolete 6-copy forms, they should undertake measures to minimize confusion in their use, such as applying a pre-printed adhesive label to the top copy with the accurate copy distribution language ('designated facility to EPA's e-Manifest system'). Facilities should train their manifest personnel to inspect manifests carefully to ensure they are routed properly during the time any of the obsolete manifests remain in use."

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Jun 6, 2018

Much Needed: OSHA Participates in National Committee to Improve Safety Culture in Healthcare

OSHA was one of 24 organizations to participate in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's efforts to develop a national strategy for reducing hazards for healthcare workers. The agency joined the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety, which includes members from the healthcare, policy, regulatory, and advocacy communities. See OSHA's healthcare page for resources on keeping workers safe.

June 12 is National Forklift Safety Day!

National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), will be recognized on June 12 in Washington, D.C., and workplaces nationwide. Throughout the day, forklift manufacturers will highlight the safe use of forklifts, the importance of operator training, and the need for daily equipment checks. ITA works with OSHA through an Alliance to provide training seminars for OSHA inspectors, and develop safety materials. For these and other resources to share on National Forklift Safety Day, visit OSHA's forklift webpage.

Reminder: General Industry and Maritime Silica Standard Effective June 23

General industry and maritime employers must comply with OSHA's silica standard by June 23, except for phase-in dates for medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry. Visit the silica webpage for guidance on complying with the standard, as well as information on silica sampling and analysis, health effects of silica exposure, and answers to frequently asked questions from OSHA QuickTakes:

New China policies spark disarray in recycling industry - “This is an international crisis. We just can’t absorb these costs.”

Buried in the mountains of refuse at Casella's recycling plant in Charlestown are tons of material that should have gone straight to the landfill — from tires and pots to lobster buoys and garden hoses — items that can gum up the machines and taint the byproducts ultimately sold as commodities.

The increasing amount of such non-recyclable waste entering processing plants has sparked a backlash in the countries that convert the material into useful products, most notably China, which used to process the vast majority of US recyclables before it cracked down on what materials it would accept this year.

...Since the new policy went into effect on Jan. 1, US exports of recyclable material to China have plunged.

Now, with 400 tons of new material coming in every day — only about half of which they can recycle 

....With the rise of single-stream recycling, many residents have become less conscientious about what they deposit in recycling bins, with everything from bowling balls to Christmas lights fouling up the machines at sorting plants, 

In Braintree, where the cost of recycling has risen from about $4 a ton last year to $47, local officials are worried about what will happen in the coming months.

"It's already having a big impact, but it keeps going up," said Rosemary Nolan, the town's solid waste and recycling coordinator. 
"We've been told it could go up to $200 a ton."

If the costs continue to rise, she worries the town may have to cut other services, such as education or transportation projects.

"It's insane what has happened," he said. "This is an international crisis. We just can't absorb these costs."

Read full by David Abel 

Follow him on Twitter @davabel

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Jun 1, 2018

Salmonella Infections Linked to Chicken Distributed by Ruby's Pantry Pop-up Location

Four people in two states have become ill

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Minnesota Department Agriculture (MDA), and local health departments are investigating at least four cases of salmonellosis affecting three Wisconsin residents and one Minnesota resident. All four of the patients received frozen breaded chicken products at a Ruby's Pantry pop-up location before their illnesses. Specifically, a raw breaded chicken product, that may look fully cooked, was distributed to Ruby's Pantry patrons without cooking instructions or labels stating that the product was raw.

Anyone who received any unlabeled chicken products from any Ruby's Pantry location(link is external) is advised to either discard any remaining product or cook it to an internal temperature of 165ºF. These products may be raw even if they appear cooked. Ruby's Pantry is cooperating with investigators and has voluntarily agreed to not distribute any unlabeled chicken products.

Raw chicken products can be contaminated with Salmonella or other pathogens. When handling raw chicken products, it is important to take steps to protect you and your family.

The following tips are recommended for the safe handling of raw poultry.

  • Wash hands and surfaces often when handling raw poultry.
  • Separate raw meats and poultry from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate or freeze raw poultry promptly after purchasing.
  • Cook all raw poultry to an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • Always follow manufacturer's instructions provided on product packaging.
  • Place cooked poultry on a clean plate or platter before serving.
  • Report suspected food poisoning to your local health department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on safe handling of raw breaded chicken products(link is external)on its food safety webpage.

Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella bacteria that are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by direct or indirect contact with fecal matter from infected people or animals. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pains, fever, and vomiting that lasts for several days. Bloodstream infections can occur, but are rare, and can be quite serious in the very young and older people. Most people recover from salmonellosis on their own, but may require extra fluids to prevent dehydration.

If you have consumed chicken from a Ruby's Pantry and are experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis, contact your health care provider. Ill consumers in Wisconsin should also contact their local health department and ill Minnesotans should contact the Minnesota Department of Health.

Source: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/060118.htm