EPA Action: Officials convene to sign Great Lakes Declaration

In other EPA activities: Data on HPV Chemical Challenge Program released; Data availabile for Clean Air Mercury Rule; Proposed rule for cooling water intake at Phase III facilities published; Senate confirms four EPA appointees; Compliance sampling of Lead and Copper Rule clarified; Early release of 2003 Toxics Release Inventory data; Administrator named to oversee EPA Region 2; EPA removes chemicals from regulated pollutants list; EPA annual report for FY2004 out...

In other EPA activities, also see the following below:
-- Agency releases data on High Production Volume Chemical Challenge Program
-- Agency releases notice of data availability for Clean Air Mercury Rule
-- Agency publishes proposed regulations for cooling water intake at Phase III facilities
-- U.S. Senate confirms four EPA appointees
-- Agency clarifies compliance sampling requirements of Lead and Copper Rule
-- Early release of 2003 Toxics Release Inventory data
-- New administrator named to oversee EPA Region 2
-- After extensive analysis, EPA removes chemicals from regulated pollutants
-- EPA releases annual report for fiscal year 2004
-- Agency honors communities, tribes for balancing growth, environment, quality of life
-- Collaboration with manufacturing sector results in environmental, economic benefits
-- Agency updates EPA Homeland Security Strategy
-- Grants worth $4 million to research environmental impact of nanotechnology
-- Trading handbook helps water quality managers achieve cleaner watersheds
-- National Homeland Security Research Center created by EPA

Environmental officials convene to sign Great Lakes Declaration
CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 2004 -- In an unprecedented display of intergovernmental and multi-state collaboration, dozens of government officials and tribal representatives signed a Great Lakes Declaration and a framework document for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration to restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Officials in attendance included members of Pres. Bush's cabinet and senior staff, U.S. senators and congressmen, Great Lakes governors, tribes, mayors, state senators and representatives.

"This is the largest formal collaboration of its kind focused on the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes Basin," commented Mike Leavitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Today, we are committing our collective organizations to protecting and improving this national treasure."

The signers of the Great Lakes Declaration pledged to collaboratively work together toward a common goal of protecting, restoring and improving the Great Lakes ecosystem in order to address the new and continuing challenges and ensure a healthy ecosystem for future generations.

The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Framework establishes strategy teams, made up of government, quasi-government and other regional stakeholders, as the working bodies responsible for drafting action plans that will be used for the draft Great Lakes strategy. The teams will use the nine priorities identified in October 2003 by the Great Lakes Governors and since adopted by the Great Lakes Mayors and ratified by the Great Lakes Commission as their organizational foundation. This strategy will be presented to the members of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration for resolution of final issues and adoption at Summit I, scheduled for the summer of 2005.

In May 2004, Pres. Bush signed Executive Order 13340 creating a Cabinet-level Task Force to accelerate the coordination for protection and restoration of the Great Lakes system. The Executive Order directed the Task Force to help convene and establish "a regional collaboration of national significance for the Great Lakes" among the U.S. federal government, the Great Lakes states, local communities, Tribes and other interests in the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes constitute the largest freshwater system on earth, containing roughly 20% of the world's fresh water supply. In addition to their natural beauty, the Great Lakes serve as a source of drinking water for more than 30 million people, support the culture and life ways of native communities, form the backbone for billions of dollars in shipping, trade, and fishing and provide food and recreational opportunities for millions of American and Canadian citizens.

For additional information about this meeting, the Great Lakes Declaration and the framework document, visit: www.epa.gov/greatlakes/collaboration.

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In other agency developments that may interest you, see the following...

EPA Releases Information on High Production Volume Chemical Challenge Program: Dec. 1, 2004 -- EPA is releasing a report that highlights accomplishments of a collaborative partnership between the agency, chemical industry and environmental community in making data publicly available on high-production volume (HPV) chemicals. The report, "Status and Future Directions of the HPV Challenge Program" showcases the extensive voluntary participation by companies that have agreed to provide data to EPA on chemicals they manufacture or import, and outlines a preliminary strategy for how EPA will deal with chemicals that are not yet sponsored. More than 400 chemical manufacturing companies, either individually or as part of 100 groups of companies that joined together for this program, voluntarily agreed to sponsor more than 2200 HPV chemicals by committing to make basic health and environmental data publicly available for these chemicals. HPV chemicals are manufactured in or imported into the United States in amounts over one million pounds per year. The HPV Challenge Program began in 1998 after multiple studies in the mid-1990s showed that the American public lacked basic data related to high-production volume chemicals that are prevalent in the United States. EPA worked with the Environmental Defense, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute to form the HPV Challenge Program. More information about the report and the High Production Volume Chemical Program is available at: www.epa.gov/chemrtk/hpvstatr.htm.

EPA Releases Notice of Data Availability for Clean Air Mercury Rule: Nov. 30, 2004 -- The EPA today released a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) for its proposed Clean Air Mercury Rule. The NODA summarizes the more than 680,000 public comments received during the comment period and solicits further comment on new data and information to help the agency evaluate which regulatory approach will best reduce mercury emissions from power plants. The NODA is part of the agency process toward delivering a final mercury rule by March 15, 2005. Initially proposed on Jan. 30, 2004, the Clean Air Mercury Rule would reduce mercury emissions from power plants for the first time ever.

EPA received a number of modeling analyses from various groups, including both industry and environmental groups. In some cases, the agency and commenters modeled the same or similar policy scenarios, sometimes using the same model, but obtained substantially different results due to differences in the assumptions employed. In these cases, model-input assumptions can be better understood by comparing and contrasting the modeling performed. The NODA shares these analyses and seeks additional comment on the models and assumptions used.

Administrator Mike Leavitt has outlined five guiding principles that provide context for additional inquiry and that narrow the focus of the Agency's deliberations. The five principles will ensure that the final mercury rule: 1) concentrates on the need to protect children and pregnant women from the health impacts of mercury; 2) stimulates and encourages early adopters of new technology that can be adequately tested and widely deployed across the full fleet of U.S. power plants utilizing various coal types; 3) significantly reduces total emissions by leveraging the $50 billion investment that CAIR will require; 4) considers the need to maintain America's competitiveness; and 5) comprises one of many agency actions to reduce mercury emissions.

In December 2003, EPA proposed two alternatives for controlling mercury. One approach would require power plants to install controls known as "maximum achievable control technology" (MACT) under section 112 of the Clean Air Act. If implemented, this proposal would reduce nationwide mercury by 14 tons or about 30% by early 2008. Currently, nationwide mercury emissions from power plants are about 48 tons per year.

A second approach would create a market-based "cap and trade" program that, if implemented, would reduce nationwide power plant emissions of mercury in two phases. Beginning in 2010, the first phase would reduce power plant mercury emissions by taking advantage of "co-benefit" controls -- mercury reductions achieved by reducing SO2, and NOx emissions under the Clean Air Interstate Rule. In 2018, the second phase of the mercury program sets a cap of 15 tons. When fully implemented, mercury emissions would be reduced by 33 tons (nearly 70%).

This rule, when combined with Bush Administration actions to reduce NOx and SO2 emissions from power plants, make diesel a clean-burning fuel, regulate nonroad diesel vehicles, and implement the most-protective ozone and fine particles standards, will ensure that the next decade will be among the most productive periods of air quality improvement in our nation's history.

The agency will take comment on this action for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information on the NODA, visit: www.epa.gov/mercury/control_emissions/noda.htm; on the Clean Air Mercury Rule, visit: www.epa.gov/air/mercuryrule/; and on the Clean Air Interstate Rule, visit: www.epa.gov/interstateairquality/.

Proposed Phase III 316(b) Rules Published in Federal Register: Nov. 24, 2004 -- The EPA published in the Federal Register its proposed regulations to establish requirements for cooling water intake structures at Phase III facilities under Clean Water Act, Section 316(b) rules governing such structures and their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. This sets the clock ticking on a 120 day public comment period.

Phase III governs existing facilities including all manufacturing, power plants below 50 million gallons per day (mgd) and new offshore and coastal oil and gas extraction facilities. The proposed final rule, which is available at www.epa.gov/waterscience/316b/ph3.htm, however, only proposes to address existing manufacturing facilities at or above 50 mgd and new offshore and coastal oil and gas extraction facilities. The three options presented may even limit that to only those facilities above 200 mgd for cooling tower intake water. At least 25% of the water has to be used for cooling purposes for the facility to be affected. The proposal calls for similar entrapment and entrainment prevention as was set forth in Phase II rules earlier this year.

The Phase II rules, governing existing large electric generating plants that withdraw above 50 mgd, were released in July and are being contested in court for allegedly not being rigid enough in a suit brought by the attorneys general of six Northeast states and the environmental activist group, Riverkeeper.

Phase I rules, governing new facilities, was released in 2001 and finalized in June 2003 after a court case on the matter was decided in a consent decree in Riverkeeper Inc. vs. Whitman.

For an earlier notice with additional details on this published to this website, see the PennWell Water Group website.

U.S. Senate Confirms Four EPA Appointees: Nov. 23, 2004 -- On Nov. 19, the U.S. Senate confirmed four presidential appointees to senior positions within the EPA. Stephen Johnson, deputy administrator; Ann Klee, general counsel; Charles Johnson, chief financial officer; and Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for the office of water.

Stephen L. Johnson -- Deputy Administrator: Johnson was sworn in as EPA deputy administrator in August 2004 upon a recess appointment by Pres. George W. Bush. Along with EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, he oversees implementation and enforcement of all of the nation's environmental laws and regulations, as well as EPA's 18,000 employees and $8 billion budget. Prior to being named acting deputy administrator in July 2003, he spent more than two years as assistant administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. He has more than 20 years of EPA service.

Ann Klee -- General Counsel: Klee was sworn in as EPA's general counsel in May 2004 upon a recess appointment by Pres. Bush. She's responsible for providing legal analysis and guidance to the administrator and the agency's program offices. Prior to joining EPA, Klee was counselor to the secretary of the Department of the Interior. She has served as chief counsel to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Drinking Water, Fisheries and Wildlife, and as a partner in the law firm of Preston, Gates & Ellis.

Charles Johnson -- Chief Financial Officer: Johnson is EPA's chief financial officer. He'll oversee EPA's more than $8 billion operating budget. He's also responsible for developing, managing and supporting a goals-based management system within the Agency. Prior to joining EPA, Johnson was president of Huntsman Cancer Foundation and vice president of Huntsman LLC. He also served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents and was chief of staff to Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt from 1992-97.

Benjamin Grumbles -- Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water: Grumbles is EPA's assistant administrator for the office of water. He oversees the agency's water quality activities, which represent a coordinated effort to restore the nation's waters. Prior to being appointed acting assistant administrator for water, he served as deputy assistant administrator of water and acting associate administrator for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations. Prior to joining EPA, he was deputy chief of staff and environmental counsel for the House Science Committee.

EPA Clarifies Compliance Sampling Requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule: Nov. 23, 2004 -- The EPA is issuing guidance for the states that helps to clarify how the collection and management of lead and copper samples is conducted to carry out regulations that control lead in drinking water.

"This guidance is the direct result of working with our national drinking water partners to provide clarity on critical elements in implementing our regulations that help safeguard the public's drinking water," said Ben Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water. "Early next year, we will determine if the lead rule needs additional guidance or some targeted changes."

Earlier this year, the Agency discovered lead levels in certain cities across the country that prompted a review of how the lead and copper rule was being implemented. EPA collected and evaluated data that it requested from the states and, as part of this ongoing review, the Agency convened national expert workshops on monitoring, lead service line replacement, public education and compliance. The guidance issued today comes as a result of information gathered at those workshops.

Key elements of the guidance issued today include: what samples are used to calculate the 90th percentile concentration (which is the basis for determining if water suppliers need to take action); how to manage sampling programs; what states should do with samples that are taken outside of a specific compliance time frame; what states should do if the minimum number of samples are not collected; what is a proper sample; how utilities can avoid sampling problems; and on what basis a sample may be invalidated.

EPA will continue its review to help determine whether additional guidance or training is needed and whether changes may be needed to parts of the regulation.

Information on the Lead and Copper Rule and EPA's national review of implementation is available on EPA's website at: www.epa.gov/leadcopperrule.

Early Release of 2003 Toxics Release Inventory Data: Nov. 23, 2004 -- To better inform communities, EPA today for the first time is releasing facility information about toxic chemical releases as reported to the agency. In the past, this data was received, quality-checked, analyzed and released in the annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report that resulted from the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. The TRI program requires industrial facilities to publicly report quantities of toxic chemicals annually released into the air, water and land. TRI is an important tool that gives Americans public information on chemical releases for their community, so that they can make informed decisions about protecting their environment. The United States is an innovator in providing this level of openness in chemical reporting, and other nations are using TRI as a model. Many stakeholders have requested that the agency share TRI data sooner and in the basic format received, without waiting for further analysis. In response to these stakeholder concerns, EPA today is launching the first annual electronic release of facility-level TRI data, the Electronic-Facility Data Release (e-FDR). The data is presented for each facility received by EPA, one reporting form for each chemical. Increased electronic reporting allowed EPA to publish the earlier e-FDR, and is part of EPA's initiative to modernize and streamline the TRI program. Electronic reporting also supports data accuracy with built-in quality checks, and makes reporting easier for industry. The eFDR provides facility-by-facility reporting for reporting year 2003. The traditional Public Data Release, which includes more quality checks, national trends and analysis, is expected in Spring 2005. The e-FDR is now available at: www.epa.gov/tri-efdr.

Administrator Chosen to Oversee EPA Region 2: Nov. 23, 2004 -- Deputy Regional Administrator Kathy Callahan will assume responsibilities as Region 2 acting administrator for the EPA replacing outgoing Regional Administrator Jane Kenny. Kenny previously announced her resignation, which was effective Nov. 26.

Callahan has been with EPA since 1971, building a career within the Agency's Region 2 office that began in the enforcement division and saw her rise to deputy regional administrator in November 2003. Prior to serving as deputy, she was the director of the region's divisions of Environmental Planning and Protection and Superfund. She also served as assistant regional administrator for New York City Response and Recovery Operations -- a position she assumed after playing a vital role in directing EPA's environmental response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

As acting regional administrator, Callahan will oversee close to 1,000 EPA employees and an annual budget of about $750 million. EPA's Region 2 administers federal environmental programs in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally recognized Indian Nations.

After Extensive Review, EPA Removes Chemicals from Lists of Regulated Pollutants: Nov. 18, 2004 -- The EPA has finalized several actions that will create incentives for industry to use solvents that are less toxic and may help decrease the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Each of these actions is based on extensive scientific and technical review over a period of years. These reviews concluded that the chemicals pose less risk than previously thought and that reclassifying them would not compromise public health, and may even benefit public health if they are substituted for more toxic or environmentally damaging chemicals.

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA has delisted or exempted six chemicals: the solvent ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether (EGBE) has been removed from the list of air toxics (also known as hazardous air pollutants) and the chemical t-butyl acetate (TBAC) and four others exempted from control as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Delisting an air toxic is a rigorous process, involving independent scientific peer review, to demonstrate there are adequate data to determine that emissions may not reasonably be anticipated to cause adverse effects. Public comment was received and considered in making this determination. EPA last delisted an air toxic (caprolactam) in 1996. [Note: The air toxic EGBE being delisted today remains regulated as a VOC and therefore will continue to be reported in the Toxics Release Inventory.]

Exempting a VOC requires a demonstration that the compound is negligibly reactive, meaning the compound forms less ground-level ozone than ethane. EPA has exempted 48 VOCs since 1977.

EGBE Delisting: EGBE is used in hydraulic fluids and in water-based coatings for various industries including metal can manufacturers. It is also used in varnishes, vinyl and acrylic paints, and as a solvent for varnishes, enamels, spray lacquers, dry cleaning compounds, textiles and cosmetics. EPA received a petition in 1997 from the American Chemistry Council to delist EGBE. After extensively reviewing the levels of EGBE in the air and the health and environmental impacts associated with those levels, EPA has concluded that potential outdoor exposures to EGBE may not reasonably be anticipated to cause human health or environmental problems. This action follows two detailed reviews on the sufficiency and technical merit of a 1997 petition to remove EGBE from the list. Although EGBE use (and, therefore, emissions) may increase as a result of this action, this action creates incentives for industry to use EGBE instead of other more toxic solvents. Firms must still report EGBE under the Toxics Release Inventory and EPA will continue to regulate it as a VOC.

TBAC Exemption: TBAC is a chemical that is currently used to make pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and other products and that also can be used as a solvent in a variety of applications. EPA received a petition from Lyondell Chemical (formerly ARCO Chemical) in 1997 asking EPA to consider excluding TBAC from the VOC definition. After extensive review, EPA has determined that TBAC meets the criteria used to define a compound as "negligibly reactive." Exclusion of this compound as a VOC will help states focus on controlling emissions of those pollutants that are demonstrated to be ozone precursors. In addition, a number of manufacturers of paints, inks, and adhesives have indicated that if TBAC were excluded from regulation as a VOC, they would use it in their products in place of other compounds that are as much as 20 to 30 times more likely to form ground-level ozone, or smog. Such substitutions will help decrease ground-level ozone formation, generating public health benefits.

Additional Compounds: EPA is excluding HFE-7000, HFE-7500, HFC 227ea and methyl formate from control as VOCs. These compounds, which are used as refrigerants, fire suppressants, and propellants, contribute little or nothing to ground-level ozone formation. All four of these compounds are environmentally preferable substitutes for CFCs and HCFCs, which contribute to the destruction of Earth's stratospheric ozone layer.

In a separate action, EPA is taking phosmet off the "Extremely Hazardous Substance" (EHS) list under section 302 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) and will no longer be subject to reporting requirements under that section (e.g. notifying their State Emergency Response Commission and Local Emergency Planning Committee that they are subject to the emergency planning provisions of EPCRA section 302 for the chemical phosmet). Phosmet is a non-systemic organophosphate insecticide used for agricultural crop protection of fruit, nut and certain field crops. Phosmet is still a "hazardous chemical" under section 311 and 312 requirements, except when it is used in routine agricultural operations, such as a pesticide applied on crops. Therefore, facilities that process or distribute phosmet would still be subject to EPCRA section 311 and 312 reporting requirements (inventory and material safety data sheets) if they have phosmet present in amounts equal to or greater than 10,000 pounds. This action does not alter EPA's ongoing regulation of phosmet under the Agency's existing pesticide regulatory program. Forty-six chemicals have been deleted from the list since its inception because they did not meet the toxicity criteria.

FYI
-- EBGE: Copies of the original petition and its supporting information are available for public inspection and copying at www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks1.html.
-- TBAC: Interested parties can download the rule from the EPA's website on the Internet under "recent actions" at www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks1.html.
-- Additional Compounds: Interested parties can download the final rule from EPA's website on the Internet under "recent actions" at www.epa.gov/airlinks/airlinks1.html.
-- Phosmet: For more information on phosmet, go to: www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/phosmet.htm.
-- Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act: For more information go to: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oswer/ceppoweb.nsf/content/epcraOverview.htm.

EPA Releases Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2004: Nov. 17, 2004 -- EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt released the agency's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2004 Nov. 15, meeting the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act and other management legislation. The 1993 legislation requires each agency to report annually to Congress on the results of its activities in each fiscal year. The agency received an unqualified or clean audit opinion on its financial statements from the EPA inspector general. Among the report's highlights:
* EPA announced a suite of clean air rules for mercury, smog, fine particles and interstate air pollution.
* EPA issued a new rule classifying communities by the severity of their smog conditions and establishing a deadline for state and local governments to reduce ozone levels.
* The agency promulgated the Clean Air Non-Road Diesel Rule, requiring strong pollution controls on diesel engines used in construction, agriculture, mining and other industries. This regulation will reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuel by 99% and cut emission levels from non-road diesel equipment by more than 90%. The program is expected to provide dramatic health benefits each year, preventing 12,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of respiratory problems.
* In May 2004, the president signed an executive order directing Administrator Leavitt to establish the Great Lakes Federal Task Force, made up of nine Cabinet agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Council on Environmental Quality to coordinate the federal effort to improve water quality in the Great Lakes. The order calls for regional collaboration to develop action plans to address priorities, identify resource needs, develop an implementation schedule and make possible a cohesive management process.
* The percentage of Americans served by U.S. community water systems that meet all EPA health-based drinking water standards increased from 79% in 1993 to 90% in 2003, the last year for which all numbers are available.
* The agency issued industrial water pollution control permits that prevented the discharge of approximately 136 million pounds of pollutants into the nation's waters. Part of this success came from states and EPA issuing permits at animal feeding operations to protect surface water from waste.

The report title is "Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency" and the publication number is: EPA-190-R-04-001. It's available at: www.epa.gov/ocfo/finstatement/2004ar/2004ar.htm.

EPA Honors Communities, Tribes for Balancing Growth, Environment, Quality of Life: Nov. 17, 2004 -- In Washington, D.C., EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt presented the agency's 2004 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement to five communities in three states for innovative approaches to development that strengthen community identity and protect the environment. Smart Growth is development that serves the economy, public health and the environment. Communities can use Smart Growth to help them grow in ways that protect and enhance their natural environments and create prosperity. Smart growth development practices help protect the environment by preserving open space and parkland, protecting critical habitat, improving transportation choices to reduce emissions from automobiles, cleaning up and reusing brownfields, and reducing paved surfaces to minimize polluted run-off. The award categories and winners are:
-- Overall Excellence: Town of Davidson, N.C., Planning Department received the award for superior implementation of their planning ordinance and land plan. Davidson is setting a high standard for creating healthy and vibrant neighborhoods in an historic setting. The town is revitalizing existing buildings, and has issued design guidelines that preserve its small-town atmosphere. New neighborhoods feature parks within a five-minute walk of residents, along with a variety of lot sizes and housing types, including affordable housing.
-- Built Projects: City of Greensboro, N.C., Department of Housing and Community Development received the award for the Southside Neighborhood, located just one-and-a-half blocks from Greensboro's historic main street. New development and revitalization of existing structures transformed this blighted area into a thriving, attractive district.
-- Policies and Regulations: City of Santa Cruz, Calif., Department of Housing and Community Development received the award for its Accessory Dwelling Unit Program. Santa Cruz, south of San Jose, is increasing and diversifying housing choices by making it easier to build accessory units, which are separate residences that are created by converting all or part of a garage or by building new structures on a homeowner's property.
-- Community Outreach and Education: Sacramento Area Council of Governments received the award for its Sacramento Region Blueprint: Transportation/Land Use Study. The blueprint study changed how the Sacramento region approaches growth. It brought together more than 5,000 citizens, 30 agencies, and private businesses to help plan how and where the region will grow. Over the course of two years, participants tried out and debated explored various land use, housing, and transportation choices, then evaluated and voted on four proposed scenarios. The chosen scenario became the basis for a regional plan that extends until 2050.
-- Small Communities: The Office of the Governor of the San Juan Pueblo Tribe, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received the award for a Master Land Use Plan that honors Native American heritage while encouraging economic growth and providing needed housing. The first of its kind for a Native American community, the plan and process by which it was developed are a valuable model for tribes and communities around the country. In 2003, a 40-unit, mixed income, rental housing project was completed, exhibiting a culturally appropriate, affordable design.

The 2004 call for entries drew 98 applications from 32 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its third year, the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement has recognized an impressive array of projects, policies, and programs that promote healthy, vibrant communities. Winners were selected based on how effectively they advanced Smart Growth, how easily their projects could be replicated, and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships and special interest participation or partnership.

For more information about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and this year's winners, visit: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm .

For more information on EPA's Smart Growth program in general, visit: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/index.htm.

Collaboration With Manufacturing Sector Will Result in Environmental and Economic Benefits: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Nov. 17, 2004 -- EPA and the U.S. Department of Commerce will meet with several pharmaceutical and healthcare companies Nov. 18 to promote their involvement in a program designed to increase their productivity, reduce waste, boost profitability and improve environmental performance. The program, Green Suppliers Network, is an innovative collaboration between industry in various manufacturing sectors and government, aimed at working with all levels of the manufacturing supply chain to achieve environmental and economic benefits. Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Deputy Administrator, will give a keynote speech at the meeting. Pfizer Inc., one of the leaders in promoting the Green Suppliers Network in Puerto Rico, will host the meeting. Abbott Laboratories, Baxter International, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Wyeth, among others, are also actively engaged in the program and helped sponsor the meeting. Other speakers at the meeting include: Kevin Carr, Director of the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program; Esteban Mujica Cotto, President of Puerto Rico's Environmental Quality Board; and Jenni Cawein, Manager of Environmental, Health and Safety at Baxter International. Several local government officials and suppliers to the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industries will also be in attendance. More information about the Green Suppliers Network is available at: www.epa.gov/p2/programs/gsn.htm.

EPA Updates Homeland Security Strategy: Nov. 17, 2004 -- EPA's updated Homeland Security Strategy, which describes the agency's ongoing initiatives and activities to protect our country from and/or respond to the consequences of terrorist attacks, has been released. EPA's initial strategy, released shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, described the agency's vision to prevent, prepare for and respond to additional catastrophic terrorist attacks. Today's update takes this initial effort one step further by addressing EPA's available resources, recent Homeland Security presidential directives and expectations, and the evolving role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The strategy also explains how EPA will collaborate with federal, state and local public and private sector partners to accomplish the strategy's goals. The updated strategy, which will remain in place through 2005, describes how EPA's scientific and technical expertise can be utilized by the nation to prepare for, respond to and recover from a potential chemical, biological or radiological attack. EPA's homeland security roles and responsibilities include coordinating protection of the drinking water and wastewater sector, providing federal emergency response and recovery support in the event of a terrorist attack, providing forensic evidence collection assistance to law enforcement, conducting research for enhanced methods of detection and decontamination of biological and chemical warfare agents and safeguarding EPA employees and facilities nationwide. More information on EPA's Homeland Security Strategy is available at: www.epa.gov/ohs/htm/ohs-sp.htm .

Grants Worth $4 Million to Research Environmental Impact of Nanotechnology: Nov. 12, 2004 -- EPA has awarded grants to 12 universities to investigate the potential health and environmental impacts of nanomaterials: unusually small man-made particles that are measured in billionths of a meter (nanometers). Nanotechnology allows scientists to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create materials and structures with fundamentally new functions and characteristics. Nanotechnology is a promising new field that may lead to great advances in environmental protection. For example, filter systems for drinking or waste water could be designed at the nanoparticle level to remove even the most minuscule of impurities. Nanoscale materials are being used in a wide range of products, such as sunscreens, composites, medical devices and chemical catalysts. As new nanomaterials are manufactured, there is the potential of human and environmental exposure from waste streams or other pathways entering the environment. Currently there is very limited scientific information on the effects of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. Six of the grants awarded will investigate if manufactured nanomaterials could have any negative health effects or environment impacts. The other six grants will study the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment. The grants were awarded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research grants program. More information on the nanotechnology STAR grants and the 12 recipients is available at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/352.

Trading Handbook Helps Water Quality Managers Achieve Cleaner Watersheds: Nov. 12, 2004 -- Water quality trading has gained attention as an effective market-based approach for state and local governments to achieve cleaner water. Because the concept of water trading is new and not commonly practiced, water quality managers may want to know if trading will work in their local watershed. EPA's "Water Quality Trading Assessment Handbook" is designed to help determine if trading can be used to make cost-effective pollutant reductions and determine if trading may be the appropriate tool. Using a hypothetical river basin, the handbook illustrates a framework that may be used as a model in any watershed to evaluate problems and determine if trading could effectively address those local conditions. The handbook also illustrates how to assess the relative costs of controlling key pollutants and helps the user decide if trading would be financially attractive to watershed participants. General information about water quality trading and the handbook is available at: www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/trading.htm.

National Homeland Security Research Center Created by EPA: Nov. 12, 2004 -- EPA has established a permanent National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the NHSRC was initially authorized under a temporary charter to perform research and provide technical assistance for first responders and decision makers in a relatively short time frame. NHSRC has been successful in addressing building decontamination, drinking water protection, and rapid risk assessment of air-borne contaminants. Since the temporary charter, EPA has been given increased responsibility by Homeland Security Presidential Directives and received requests for expert support by the Department of Homeland Security. Due to these new responsibilities and continuing research and technology needs, EPA has decided to make the NHSRC a permanent organization. This action enables EPA to continue to provide the scientific expertise, advice and guidance on homeland security issues to emergency personnel, decision makers and government officials that will result in improved protection for all citizens. NHRSC will be organized into three divisions: threat and consequence assessment, decontamination and consequence management and water infrastructure protection. As an example of the products produced, NHSRC developed a list of Standardized Analytical Methods (SAM) environmental laboratories can use to analyze biological and chemical samples. SAM provides a standard by which to measure specific types of contamination for state and local government laboratories that are preparing to analyze samples associated with homeland security event. More information on NHRSC is available at: www.epa.gov/ordnhsrc/index.htm.

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