EPA Action: Agency lifts fuel oxygenate mandate for states, cities

Also in this report: EPA panel reports PFOA causes cancer; Tools released to help small drinking water systems; Aid offered for community projects to reduce toxic exposure risks; Agency's FY2007 budget unsettle environmentalists; Villanova University wins federal funding to reduce pharmaceuticals in environment; New tool helps determine cause of ecological harm to rivers, streams; $1.5 million to protect SW wetlands awarded; Atlanta hosts 2006 National Environmental Partnership Summit in May...

In other news below:
-- EPA advisory panel reports PFOA causes cancer
-- Tools released to help small drinking water systems
-- Aid offered for community projects to reduce toxic exposure risks
-- More data from resampling at 14 Louisiana sites posted
-- EPA FY2007 budget requests unsettle environmentalists
-- Colo. Willow Creek Watershed efforts honored
-- Villanova University wins federal funding to reduce pharmaceuticals in the environment
-- New tool released for determining cause of ecological harm to rivers, streams
-- EPA provides faster water quality tests for safe beach swimming
-- EPA Pacific Southwest region awards over $1.5 million to protect wetlands
-- EPA recognizes wastewater facilities' performance
-- Recent regulatory enforcement includes stormwater, wetlands issues
-- Navajo Tribal Utility Authority agrees to improve wastewater treatment at two plants
-- Blowing Rock, N.C., wins 2005 Consumer Confidence Report Excellence Award
-- Landfill methane partners recognized for greenhouse gas reductions
-- Public comment sought on implementing proposed particle standards
-- Guidance issued for protective cleanups of perchlorate
-- Howard named to head NACEPT policy advisory group
-- Toolkit released to help schools, child care facilities reduce lead in drinking water
-- Route 66 project to redevelop abandoned Ariz. gas stations, clean up underground tank
-- EPA approves Clean Water Act authority for Navajo Nation sites
-- 2006 National Environmental Partnership Summit to be held in Atlanta

EPA revokes burdensome federal gas formula mandate -- WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 15, 2006 -- In a move to provide greater flexibility in producing clean-burning gasoline to protect and improve air quality, EPA is revoking the two percent oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG) nationwide. The Energy Policy Act authorized the action, which reduces production burdens while continuing to protect the environment with clean fuel blends as the use of ethanol increases. Currently, about 30 percent of gasoline is RFG. The revocation takes effect nationwide on May 6 and in California 60 days after the regulation's publication in the Federal Register. More information is at: www.epa.gov/otaq/rfg_regs.htm
Also see: "EPA lifts requirements for states to add ethanol, MTBE to gas"

EPA advisory panel reports PFOA causes cancer -- WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 15, 2006 -- Two months after settling its PFOA case against DuPont for the largest environmental civil penalty in agency history, the EPA heard a report from its Science Advisory Board that the chemical used in production of fluorpolymers such as Teflon™ -- used as a non-stick coating in cookware -- may be carcinogenic. In disputing the advisory board's assertion, DuPont was quick to point out Teflon products were safe to use. The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) -- also known as C-8 -- and PFOS were pioneered by 3M in the 1950s as it developed its Scotchgard line of fabric protection products that were pulled from the market in May 2000 due to toxicity study results. For more information, see:
-- EPA Science Advisory Board: Perfluorooctanoic Acid Human Health Risk Assessment Review Panel (PFOA Review Panel)
-- "United Steelworkers calls for real accountability in EPA's PFOA Program"
-- "DuPont Disagrees With Science Advisory Board Draft Report on PFOA"
-- "DuPont Commits to Aggressive PFOA Emissions Reduction Program Announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency"
-- "EPA Settles PFOA Case Against DuPont for Largest Environmental Administrative Penalty in Agency History"
-- "EPA Files New Claim Alleging DuPont Withheld PFOA Information"

Tools released to help small drinking water systems -- WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 15, 2006 -- The EPA has released two new tools and a suggested affordability approach for small water utilities trying to balance the demands for quality water with their financial ability to deliver. Today's action is part of an overall program to protect public health, support small water systems and keep costs of water manageable. The targeted systems serve 3,300 customers or fewer. The first document, "Setting Small Drinking Water System Rates for a Sustainable Future," will help owners and operators understand the full costs of providing a quality and adequate supply of drinking water to their customers and guide them in setting water rates that will support these costs. The second document, "Case Studies of Sustainable Water and Wastewater Pricing," provides real-world examples of eight drinking-water systems and their approach to determining and establishing rates. The documents and additional information on EPA's sustainable infrastructure efforts are available at: www.epa.gov/water/infrastructure...

EPA offers aid for community projects to reduce toxic exposure risks -- KANSAS CITY, MO, Feb. 10, 2006 -- EPA announced the availability of an estimated $2.7 million in cooperative agreements today for community projects through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. A broad range of community stakeholders may apply for aid, including county and local governments, tribes, nonprofit organizations, and universities. The cooperative agreement applications are due to EPA by April 10, 2006. EPA will conduct two conference calls so that prospective applicants can ask questions about the application process. The calls will be Feb. 21 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST and Feb. 24 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Additional information about CARE, projects awarded in 2005, and how to apply are on EPA's Web site at: www.epa.gov/CARE...

EPA posts additional data from resampling conducted at 14 sites in Louisiana -- NEW ORLEANS, LA, Feb. 9, 2006 -- On Feb. 3, the EPA posted additional results from resampling conducted at 14 sites in Louisiana as part of ongoing hurricane cleanup efforts. To determine long-term exposure concerns, EPA is comparing sediment sample results to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality's (LDEQ) Risk Evaluation/ Corrective Action Program (RECAP) Soil Standards. These standards are intended to be protective of long-term (i.e., 30-year) exposures to children and adults in a residential setting. In Orleans Parish, arsenic, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), benzo(a) pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene and the pesticide dieldrin were found above RECAP standards. In St. Bernard Parish, one sample contained diesel range organics above the RECAP values. USEPA and LDEQ believe the diesel range organics value is associated with the Murphy Oil Spill, which is currently being addressed by the responsible party with USEPA and LDEQ oversight. In cases where sample results exceed RECAP standards, EPA and LDEQ are working together to determine next steps...

EPA's FY2007 budget reflects efficiency, collaboration and sound science, Johnson says -- WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 6, 2006 -- President Bush's 2007 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency reflects the need for spending restraint while accelerating environmental protection, maintaining economic competitiveness and strengthening homeland defenses, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and key agency officials announced the budget at a Washington, D.C., news briefing today. The president's budget requested $184 million for EPA Homeland Security efforts, an increase of $55 million over the FY2006 enacted budget that includes $33 million to protect drinking water from terrorist attack with additional Water Sentinel pilots. It also includes $38 million in underground storage tank funding (a $26 million increase), over $70 million to clean and protect the Great Lakes, $26 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program (a $4 million increase), $7 million for a Water Infrastructure initiative, and nearly doubles funding to study impacts of manufactured nanomaterials to $8.6 million...
Among other views on the budget's impact:
-- "EPA budget cuts trouble environment groups"
-- "Clean Water State Revolving Funds slashed in FY07 federal budget"
-- "White House Seeks to Break 2003 Deal on Pesticide Fees, Industry Says"

Vradenburg earns EPA award for Colo. Willow Creek Watershed efforts -- DENVER, Feb. 1, 2006 -- Leigh Ann Vradenburg, former project director for the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Achievement Award today. The award was presented at Creede City Hall by Max Dodson, assistant regional administrator of EPA's Denver office. Vradenburg was recognized for her tireless dedication to environmental protection and the community of Creede from 2002 through 2005. Her work has led to measurable environmental results and has helped Creede and Mineral County move towards a locally defined vision of a revitalized Willow Creek Watershed. These contributions have significantly advanced EPA's goals for watershed protection and restoration in the area. The Willow Creek Reclamation Committee is a community-driven effort focused on water quality and aquatic resources along Willow Creek and its confluence with the Rio Grande...

Villanova University wins federal funding to reduce pharmaceuticals in the environment -- PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 27, 2006 -- The EPA presented a $101,125 pollution prevention grant to Villanova University in Delaware County, Pa. today to study what can be done to reduce the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment. Villanova will carry out a project to prevent pharmaceutically-active chemicals from entering the environment. Under the direction of Dr. Rominder Suri, director of the Villanova Center for the Environment, the project will identify ways to better manage how prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals are discarded from university dormitories. Additionally, the project is developing technology to reduce pollution by preventing pharmaceutically-active chemicals from leaving municipal wastewater treatment plants...

New tool released for determining cause of ecological harm to rivers, streams -- WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 25, 2006 -- To improve the nation's waters, EPA has released a new web-based tool, the Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System (CADDIS), which simplifies determining the cause of contamination in impaired rivers, streams and estuaries. An impaired body of water does not meet the state or federal water quality standards for one or more pollutants. More than a thousand U.S. water bodies have been identified as impaired, and in many cases, the cause is unknown. CADDIS provides a standardized and easily accessible system to help scientists find, use and share information to determine the causes of aquatic impairment. Causal analyses look at stressor-response relationships, meaning the effect of a specific substance or activity (stressor) on the environment. Typical water stressors include excess fine sediments, nutrients, or toxic substances...

EPA provides faster water quality tests for safe beach swimming -- WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 25, 2006 -- EPA researchers developed a new rapid method for testing beach water quality that will protect Americans' health by reducing the time for detecting bacterial contamination from 24 hours to just two. In tests done at two Great Lakes beaches, researchers verified that the more rapid method accurately predicts possible adverse health effects from bacterial contamination. The results of the study will help support new federal criteria and limits for water quality indicators in recreational waters. The paper, published in the January 2006 issue of "Environmental Health Perspectives," presents some of the first findings of the National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational (NEEAR) Water Study. NEEAR is a multi-year research project being conducted by EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first phase of the project assessed the new method in the Great Lakes. The next phase will collect and analyze similar data at ocean beaches...

EPA Pacific Southwest region awards over $1.5 million to protect wetlands -- SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 25, 2006 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest region recently awarded over $1.5 million to nine organizations, tribes and local governments to protect wetlands in California, Arizona and Nevada. Wetland areas reduce flood risk, recharged water supplies and protect drinking water from pollution, but vulnerable to environmental changes and the impacts of human activities. More than one third of the nation's threatened and endangered species depend on wetland habitats for survival. For more information on the EPA's Wetlands Program, visit: www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands...

EPA Recognizes Wastewater Facilities:
-- "South Essex Sewerage District Wastewater Facility in Mass. Recognized for Excellence"
-- "Bethel, Vt., Wastewater Treatment Facility Recognized for Excellence"
-- "East Hartford, Conn., Wastewater Facility Recognized for Excellence"
-- "Franklin, N.H., Wastewater Facility Recognized for Excellence"
-- "Randolph, VT, Facility Recognized for Excellence"
-- "Borough of Lititz, Pa., Receives Regional Award for Environmental Performance"
-- "Southeast Water Systems Recognized for Excellence in Drinking Water Reporting"

Regulatory Enforcement Roundup:
-- "Calif. trailer park owner ordered to correct wetlands violations"
-- "Hazardous chemical reporting roundup: EPA settles 4 Michigan and Ohio cases"
-- "Bankruptcy Settlement Will Advance Cleanup of Conn. Raymark Site"
-- "NC Transportation Official Indicted for Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbor Act Violations"
-- "Two Alaska Seafood Processors Agree to Pay for Clean Water Act Violations"
-- "Hazardous chemical reporting roundup: EPA settles Chicago, Wisconsin cases, cites Minnesota company"
-- "City of Fitchburg, Mass. Fined for Stormwater Violations"
-- "Nashua, N.H., Manufacturer Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations"
-- "Final Cleanup Plan Approved for Industri-plex Superfund Site in Woburn, MA"
-- "MA, NH Developers Agree to Pay Penalties for Stormwater Violations; Cases Part of EPA Push to Improve Storm Water Compliance by Builders"
-- "Environmental Lawsuit Settled Against New York City Involving Underground Storage Tank Systems"
-- "City of Blackfoot, EPA Agree to $25,000 Settlement for Clean Water Act Violations in Snake River"

Among Other Recent EPA Headlines:
-- "Navajo Tribal Utility Authority agrees to improve wastewater treatment at two plants"
-- "Blowing Rock, N.C., Wins 2005 Consumer Confidence Report Excellence Award"
-- "EPA Recognizes Landfill Methane Partners for Greenhouse Gas Reductions"
-- "EPA Seeks Public Comment on Implementing Proposed Particle Standards"
-- "EPA Issues Guidance for Protective Cleanups of Perchlorate"
-- "EPA Administrator Names John Howard as Head of Policy Advisory Group"
-- "EPA Helps Schools and Child Care Facilities Reduce Lead in Drinking Water"
-- "Route 66 project launched to redevelop abandoned Ariz. gas stations, clean up underground tank sites"
-- "EPA approves Clean Water Act authority for Navajo Nation"
-- "2006 National Environmental Partnership Summit to be Held in Atlanta"

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In earlier EPA Action reports: "EPA Action: Agency commits $10 million to protect the nation's beaches" -- Also in this report (Jan. 6, 2006): Watershed Handbook released; $18M targeted for water quality monitoring; Three Bay Area wetlands projects, state pilot program garner over $750K in EPA funds; Nevada tribe gets $52K for wetlands project; Nominations for annual Environmental Merit Awards due Feb. 3; Stormwater rule proposed to comply with Energy Policy Act; Iowa's water quality standards, Kansas' impaired waters list for TMDLs approved; Proposed wet weather policy to improve wastewater treatment; Comments sought on CAFO compliance extensions; EPA signs LT2ESWTR, Stage 2 DBPR on SDWA anniversary; $481K granted for Pa. drinking water treatment plant; EPA publishes procedures for hurricane vendor inquiries; N.H. lobster company to pay up to $255K for violating environmental laws; Tri Marine International fined $5K for ocean dumping violations in American Samoa; Conn. DPW to pay over $38K to settle EPA claims of CWA violations; EPA reaches $29K settlement with Meridian Beartrack Mine for discharge permit violations; Saint George, Alaska, in violation of SDWA; Aniak, Alaska, vocational education center in violation of SDWA; EPA responds to Conoco Phillips Refinery oil spill in N.J.'s Rahway River; Central Calif. water district told to remove TTHMs/HAAs from drinking water...

For the latest EPA news releases, click here.

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