EPA Action: ADB partnership to improve human health, environmental quality in Asian cities

In other news: Science Forum focuses on national, international environmental partnerships; P3 Award student designs on National Mall; Water systems meeting drinking water standards serve 90% of population; Luna sworn in as head of EPA's Administrative Office; 2003 toxics inventory shows decline in chemical releases; Voluntary pilot program for nanoscale materials possible; $75.9 million in brownfield grants announced; America celebrates National Drinking Water Week...

May 17th, 2005

In other Agency news below, see:
-- Science Forum focuses on national, international environmental partnerships
-- People, Prosperity and the Planet Award student designs on National Mall
-- Water systems meeting drinking water standards serve 90% of population
-- Luna sworn in as head of EPA's Administrative Office
-- 2003 Toxics Release Inventory shows decline in chemical releases
-- Landmark Clean Air Interstate Rule to take effect
-- Studies provide updated information on CCA-treated playgrounds, decks
-- Possible voluntary pilot program for nanoscale materials posed
-- Final amendments out on four emission standards for hazardous air pollutants
-- $75.9 million in brownfield grants announced
-- Ten U.S. corporations pledge greenhouse gas cuts
-- America celebrates National Drinking Water Week

Partnership to help improve human health, environmental quality in Asian cities
WASHINGTON, DC, May 16, 2005 -- The EPA and the Asian Development Bank will work together to improve human health and environmental quality in major urban areas of Asia.

"Asia is home to half the world's population and some of the world's largest and most heavily polluted cities" said Judith Ayres, assistant administrator for International Affairs. "The agreement we have signed is a meaningful step in fostering collaboration to address the environmental and human health issues in these urban areas."

Officials met to discuss how the bank and EPA can most effectively cooperate on specific environmental initiatives. Projects could include efforts to reduce air pollution, improve drinking water quality, and help promote sound environmental management.

The Asian Development Bank is a multilateral development finance institution, headquartered in Manila, dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. Established in 1966, it is now owned by 63 member countries, has 27 offices around the world and a staff of 2000 people. A key strategic development objective of the institution is promoting sustainable development and environmental protection.

EPA and the bank have previously enjoyed a strong working relationship under the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities, the Clean Air Training Network and more recently as members of the UNEP led Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. For more information on joint environmental efforts between the U.S. and Asian nations, visit: www.epa.gov/international/regions/Asia/.

Following are other Agency developments that may interest you:

Science Forum to focus on national, international environmental partnerships
WASHINGTON, DC, May 16, 2005 -- The fourth annual EPA Science Forum, "Collaborative Science for Environmental Solutions," was to be held May 16-18 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Top scientists and policy makers will present U.S. and international collaborative initiatives for protecting public health and the environment, including the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a multi-national effort to address global environmental concerns, and the latest European research on disaster preparedness. The forum will present keynote speeches, sessions on the latest advances in environmental science, poster sessions, and exhibits. EPA's award-winning research also will be highlighted in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards.

Among officials to be present: Timothy Oppelt, Acting EPA Administrator for the Office of Research and Development; Gary Foley, Director, EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory; Charles "Chip" Groat, Director, U.S. Geological Survey; Karen Fabbri, Scientific Officer for Risk Management, European Commission; and John "Randy" Pomponio, Director, Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division, EPA's Mid-Atlantic Region.

For more information visit the Web site at: www.epa.gov/scienceforum. Registration is available onsite. There's no charge for registration.

People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) student designs on National Mall
To encourage development of sustainable solutions for the environment, in 2004, EPA launched the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award. On May 16-17, more than 400 college students from across the country will exhibit their innovative solutions for an environmentally sustainable future. The projects include designs for fuel cells, wind power, new technologies to provide clean drinking water to underdeveloped nations, and many others. Sustainable designs prove that providing a higher quality of life and protecting the planet are compatible with economic prosperity. For example, one project will demonstrate the use of climate control and illumination sensors that improve a home's comfort level while reducing overall energy usage. Other exhibitors will also have exhibits on green buildings, fuel cells, clean drinking water, and renewable energy adjacent to the student area. Six projects will be selected to receive the first annual P3 Award.

The First Annual P3 Awards Competition will take place on the National Mall
between 12th and 14th Streets. There are 65 student design teams competing. Officials expected to be present include Timothy Oppelt, acting assistant administrator, EPA Office of Research and Development; and John Puzak, acting director, EPA National Center for Environmental Research.

More information about the P3 event can be found on the Internet at: www.epa.gov/P3.

Community water systems meeting drinking water standards serve 90% of population
WASHINGTON, DC, May 13, 2005 -- Ninety percent of the 272 million people served by 53,000 community water systems across the country received water that met health-based drinking water standards in fiscal year 2004. Through effective treatment, source water protection, and state and federal cooperation, EPA is working to meet its goal of having 95 percent of the population by 2008 served by community water systems in compliance with health-based drinking water standards. Water systems meeting the standards do not exceed the maximum allowable levels for contaminants such as nitrate and meet treatment technique requirements that ensure protection against microbial pathogens such as Giardia and viruses. Each year EPA releases a Summary of Drinking Water and Ground Water Statistics. The statistics in the summary are based on data from the Safe Drinking Water Information System, which is EPA's official record of inventory, violation, and enforcement data for public water systems. The yearly Summaries of Drinking Water and Ground Water Statistics are available at: www.epa.gov/safewater/data/getdata.html.

Luna sworn in as head of EPA's Administrative Office
Luis A. Luna was sworn in May 2 as the assistant administrator for the Office of Administration and Resources Management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In this role, he's responsible for the agency's hiring and personnel policies affecting 18,000 federal employees nationwide, facilities management, a $1.2 billion procurement program, and the administration of EPA's grants totaling $4 billion annually.

"This office touches the work of every EPA employee," said EPA Administrator Steve Johnson. "Luis is a dedicated public servant and brings a breadth of experience to the agency."

The Office of Administration and Resources Management supports the agency's headquarters, 10 regional offices, and 27 major laboratories. Its 800 employees ensure EPA's scientists, environmental experts and support staff have the personnel, facilities and resources they need to protect the nation's environment. The office also manages the purchase of goods and services for the agency, along with administering thousands of environmental grants that go to states, tribes, local governments and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to his appointment by the president and confirmation by the Senate for this post, Luna served the administration as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Community Development. In this role, he was responsible for the creation of strategic plans and performance measurements for rural development programs. He also served as director of the Greater Salisbury Committee, a nonprofit organization composed of nearly 100 CEOs from rural Maryland who work on behalf of long-term community improvement. Luna's career includes service as a staff member on Capitol Hill and as a policy advisor in the Reagan Administration.

Luna received his bachelor's degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

2003 Toxics Release Inventory shows continued decline in chemical releases
WASHINGTON, DC, May 11, 2005 -- EPA's 2003 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), issued today shows that the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment by reporting facilities continues to decline, with total reductions of 42% since 1998 and a 6% decrease from 2002 to 2003.

TRI provides the American public with vital information on chemical releases including disposal for their communities, and is an important instrument for industries to gauge their progress in reducing pollution. Over 23,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2003. TRI reporting includes toxics managed in landfills and underground injection wells as well as those released into water and the air.

EPA continues to make progress on electronic reporting by facilities this year, making it possible to release the data to the public more quickly. Eighty-six percent of reports were submitted electronically. The data released and analyzed at a national level today were released on a facility-specific basis last November.

TRI tracks the chemicals and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI collect data on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals.

There are certain increases in mercury, PCBs and dioxin in the 2003 TRI data. Some of these increases are due to reporting anomalies. For more information, please see analyses available on EPA's Web site that provide context for understanding the full picture presented by 2003 data.

The TRI data and background information are available to the public at: www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/tri03/index.htm. Communities can also quickly and easily identify local facilities and chemical releases by using the TRI explorer mapping tool, available at: www.epa.gov/triexplorer.

Landmark Clean Air Interstate Rule to take effect
One of the top-five clean air regulations in U.S. history begins to take effect tomorrow with its publication in the Federal Register. CAIR will result in the largest pollution reductions and health benefits of any air rule in more than a decade. It helps states help other states downwind by controlling airborne emissions at their source.

Publication of the rule starts a timeline for coal-fired power plants in the eastern United States to make steep air pollution cuts, benefiting millions of Americans.

On March 10, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson signed the final Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a rule that will ensure that Americans continue to breathe cleaner air by dramatically reducing air pollution that moves across state boundaries in 28 eastern states. By 2015, CAIR will provide health and environmental benefits valued at over 25 times the cost of compliance, and those benefits will continue to grow.

CAIR will permanently cap emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the eastern United States. When fully implemented, CAIR will reduce SO2 emissions in 28 eastern states and the District of Columbia by more than 70% and NOx emissions by more than 60%t from 2003 levels. This will result in more than $100 billion in health and visibility benefits per year by 2015 and will substantially reduce premature mortality in the eastern United States, and these benefits will continue to grow each year with further implementation.

CAIR is an important component of the Bush Administration's plan to help states in the eastern United States meet the national health-based air quality standards. These pollution reductions, along with other federal air quality programs, will allow the vast majority of nonattainment areas in the eastern United States to meet the new air quality standards.

"The President's Clear Skies legislation would give more certainty and nationwide emission reduction," said EPA Administrator Steve Johnson. "We remain committed to working with Congress to pass the legislation. But we need regulations in place now to help over 450 counties in the eastern United States protect people's health by meeting stringent new air quality standards."

CAIR will mandate the largest reduction in air pollution since the reductions set by the Acid Rain Program under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Under CAIR, states will achieve the required emissions reductions using one of two options for compliance: 1) require power plants to participate in an EPA-administered interstate cap and trade system that caps emissions in two stages, or 2) meet an individual state air emission limits through measures of the state's choosing. By addressing air pollutants in a cost effective fashion, EPA and the states will protect public health and the environment without interfering with the steady flow of affordable energy for American consumers and businesses.

For more information, go to: www.epa.gov/cair/.

Studies provide public with updated data on CCA-treated playground, decks
EPA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are providing updated information on the effectiveness of sealants and stains in reducing potential exposure to arsenic from chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood used in residential settings. For homeowners and others who want to reduce their potential arsenic exposure from their decks or other CCA-treated wood structures, new studies show that use, at least once a year, of an oil-or water-based, penetrating sealant or stain can reduce arsenic migrating from the treated wood. The data show that oil- or water-based sealants or stains that can penetrate wood surfaces are preferable to products such as paint, because paints and other film-formers can chip or flake, requiring scraping or sanding for removal, which can increase exposure to arsenic. Consumers should consider the required preparation steps (e.g., sanding, power washing, etc.) before selecting a product to minimize potential exposure to arsenic, both for initial application and re-coating.

This information is based on first-year results from two-year studies initiated by CPSC and EPA in 2003 to determine which stains, sealants and paints are most effective in reducing potential arsenic exposure from existing CCA-treated structures. EPA tested the performance of 12 coatings on older wood and CPSC tested eight coatings (seven were the same as the EPA group) on new (as of August 2003) CCA-treated wood. CCA was a pesticide treatment commonly used in the past to prevent deck and playground wood from rotting and insect damage. Effective Dec. 31, 2003, the use of CCA to treat virtually all wood intended for residential use was eliminated. More information for consumers and the sealant studies are available on EPA's Web site: www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/#sealants and on CPSC's Web site: www.cpsc.gov/whatsnew.html.

Meeting on possible voluntary pilot program for nanoscale materials
On June 23, EPA will host a public meeting to solicit input from industry and stakeholders on the feasibility of establishing a voluntary pilot program for existing nanoscale materials under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This pilot program would be used to evaluate and determine the scope of potential regulatory approaches. Nanoscale materials are chemical substances that contain structures approximately 1 to 100 nanometers and may have different molecular organizations and properties than the same chemical substances in a larger size. Some nanoscale materials are new chemical substances subject to notification requirements under TSCA. Other nanoscale materials are existing chemical substances that may enter commerce without prior notification to EPA. The agency is considering a pilot program for voluntary industry submission of information on existing chemical substances. The public meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Washington Plaza, 10 Thomas Circle N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. The Federal Register notice on the meeting is available at: www.epa.gov/oppt/newchems/.

Final amendments to four national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants
EPA has issued four direct final amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) for the following facilities: 1) Iron and Steel Foundries; 2) Pharmaceutical Production Facilities; 3) Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing Facilities; and 4) Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing Facilities. None of these amendments alters the stringency of the final standards nor has any adverse health, environmental, or economic impacts.

1) Iron and Steel Foundries: This amendment clarifies the existing work practice standards for scrap certification and scrap inspection/selection plans. Clarification of the standards will reduce compliance uncertainties and improve understanding of the rule requirements.

2) Pharmaceutical Production Facilities: EPA issued its final air toxics rule for pharmaceutical production in September 1998. That rule required the application of maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for approximately 100 facilities manufacturing pharmaceutical products. The direct final amendments include provisions for planned routine maintenance of wastewater tanks; includes alternative monitoring for condensers and scrubbers; and references general standards for wastewater containers.

3) Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing Facilities: The final rule for asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing facilities, issued in April 2003, is based on the maximum level of control that is achievable. The amendments correct minor errors and add an exemption inadvertently omitted in the promulgated rule. The exemption would ensure that emissions from certain processes are not considered "fuel gas" under the petroleum refinery new source performance standard.

4) Miscellaneous Coating Manufacturing Facilities: This amendment will increase flexibility at miscellaneous coating manufacturing facilities by providing industry with additional options for compliance and by clarifying sections of the August 2003 rule. These amendments also revise the definition of transfer operations to clarify that all product loading operations are part of the miscellaneous coating manufacturing facility and thus, are not subject to EPA's National Emissions Standards for organic liquid distribution.

The files for the direct final rules, parallel proposals and fact sheets for the four technical amendments are posted at: www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/new.html.

$75.9 million in brownfield grants announced
WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2005 -- Communities in 44 states will share more than $75 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties into community assets.

"The Brownfields Program puts both property and people back to work," EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. "These grants will help communities across America convert eyesores into engines of economic rebirth."

Brownfields are sites where potentially harmful contaminants may be impeding revitalization. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. That law broadened the definition of a brownfield to include mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum or areas polluted by the manufacture of illegal drugs.

In addition to the grants being announced today, participants in the brownfields program gain access to the expertise and other resources from more than 20 federal agencies. There are four categories of grants being awarded with 218 applicants, including three tribal nations, selected to receive 302 grants totaling $75.9 million. These include:
-- 172 assessment grants, worth $33.6 million, to assess and plan for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfield sites;
-- 106 cleanup grants, totaling $19.3 million, for recipients to clean up brownfield sites they own;
-- 13 revolving loan fund grants, totaling $20.8 million, which communities use to make low-interest loans for the cleanup of brownfield sites;
-- 11 job-training grants, valued at $2.2 million, for environmental training of people who live in brownfield communities.

More than 60% of the people completing brownfields training programs have landed jobs in the environmental field.

The Brownfields Program promotes redevelopment of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.

In addition to promoting industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing. EPA's brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties.

For more information on the grant recipients, go to: www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/archive/pilot_arch.htm. For more information on brownfields in general, go to: www.epa.gov/brownfields.

Ten U.S. corporations pledge greenhouse gas cuts
WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 205 -- Caterpillar, Frito-Lay, Xerox, Staples, and the Gap are among 10 corporations pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of EPA's Climate Leaders - a voluntary program that works with companies to measure greenhouse gas emissions and set aggressive, long-term emissions reduction goals.

With today's announcements, 37 of the 68 companies in Climate Leaders have set emissions reduction goals. General Motors and Baxter International have both achieved their 2005 goals more than a year early. EPA estimates that the 37 Climate Leaders' greenhouse gas reductions will prevent more than eight million metric tons of carbon emissions equivalent per year. These reductions are equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of five million cars.

Since its inception in 2002, Climate Leaders has grown to include 68 corporations whose U.S. emissions represent eight percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The following 10 corporations committed to new greenhouse gas reduction goals:
-- Caterpillar Inc. - reduce global GHG emissions by 20% per dollar revenue from 2002 to 2010.
-- Frito-Lay - reduce U.S. GHG emissions by 14% per pound of production from 2002 to 2010.
-- Green Mountain Energy - achieve net zero U.S. GHG emissions by 2005 and maintain that level through 2009.
-- Melaver - achieve net zero U.S. GHG emissions by 2006 and maintain that level through 2009.
-- Calpine - reduce its U.S. GHG emissions by 4% per megawatt hour from 2003 to 2008.
-- Xerox - reduce its total global GHG emissions by 10% from 2002 to 2012.
-- Staples - reduce its U.S. GHG emissions by 7% from 2001 to 2010.
-- Gap, Inc. - reduce its U.S. GHG emissions by 11% per square foot from 2003 to 2008.
-- Bank of America - reduce its total U.S. GHG emissions by 9% from 2004 to 2009.
-- Exelon - reduce its total U.S. GHG emissions by 8% from 2001 to 2008.

In addition, 10 new companies have joined as Climate Leaders partners - EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass.; Entergy Corp. of New Orleans, La.; Green Mountain Energy Company of Austin, Texas; Mack Trucks Inc. of Allentown, Pa.; Marriott International of Washington, D.C.; Melaver, Inc. of Savannah, Ga.; Quad/Graphics Inc. of Sussex, Wis.; The Hartford of Hartford, Conn.; Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, Ark., and Volvo Trucks North America Inc. of Greensboro, N.C.

For more information about EPA's Climate Leaders program, visit: www.epa.gov/climateleaders/.

America celebrates National Drinking Water Week
The nation celebrates National Drinking Water Week May 1 - 7 and recognizes the 30th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act with regional events to raise awareness of the vital role that water plays in our every day life and encourage public participation in protecting and conserving drinking water supplies.
Community water systems are the backbone of public health protection. It takes committed efforts of thousands of citizens at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure that our water supplies are clean, safe, and secure. Actions taken by individuals affect the quality of water and the level of treatment required for safe drinking water to flow from our taps.
National Drinking Water Week was first sponsored by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). In the early 1990's, AWWA formed a coalition with several organizations including EPA, USDA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators to celebrate the week nationally. In 2000, the coalition ended its formal partnership, but individual groups continue to use their own resources to celebrate the week.
In celebration of the week, EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water sponsored an event on the Woodrow Wilson Plaza outside of the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Ben Grumbles, the assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water, led the May 4 event, which focused on showing the linkages between healthy watersheds and healthy drinking water.
For details about other National Drinking Water Week events, contact the regional press offices in your area by clicking on the interactive map: www.epa.gov/newsroom/#map.
For more information about drinking water protection and participation, go to: www.epa.gov/safewater/publicoutreach/.

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In related news:
-- "EPA praises Smithfield Foods for environmental leadership"
-- "EPA Action: America celebrates Wetlands Month" -- Also in this report (April 29, 2005): Ten final, seven proposed Superfund sitess announced; U.S. Greenhouse Gas 2003 Inventory submitted to UN; EPA to discuss air quality with Chinese officials at DC meeting; S.C. development company pleads to wetlands violation; Man indicted in Idaho wastewater plant case; Minn. metal finisher sentenced in sewer line case; Iowa dairy farmer convicted of violating Clean Water Act; CSO agreement reached with Louisville, Jefferson County; New EPA web postings include Safewater annual report, lab certifying manual; USAF, Johnson & Johnson top EPA Green Power list...

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