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Category Archives: Community Watch

EPA Releases New Chemical Safety Guidelines Aimed at Curbing Animal Testing, Tracking Mercury Imports, and Facilitating the Sharing of Confidential Business Information

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WASHINGTON – On Friday, June 22, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it had once again met its yearly statutory requirements under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, which amended the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). On the two-year anniversary of the law, EPA released new guidelines and polices aimed at reducing animal testing, tracking mercury imports and manufacturing, and facilitating sharing of Confidential Business Information (CBI) with emergency responders. This marks the second consecutive year in which EPA has fulfilled its obligations under the law on time. These actions increase transparency and improve chemical safety.

On the second anniversary of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, EPA announced it had completed the following milestones and new guidelines:

  • Finalized strategy to reduce animal testing. The strategy promotes the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing. It also incorporates input from public meetings and written comments.
  • Final rule on reporting mercury manufacturing and imports. The information collected through the new reporting requirements will be used to develop future inventories of mercury and mercury-containing product supply, use, and trade in the United States.
  • Guidance for state, tribal, and local governments, and medical personnel and emergency responders on sharing Confidential Business Information (CBI). The guidance specifies the process that will enable other governmental entities and medical and emergency personnel to request CBI information.
  • Policy and procedures for assigning unique identifiers to better publicly track information on chemicals while protecting CBI. An identifier will be applied to a substance, whose identity is protected as CBI, as well as to other related information or submissions concerning the same substance. This will allow the public to connect information related to the same substance, even while the specific identity is protected as confidential.
  • Guidance on structurally descriptive generic names. This guidance will allow EPA to share more information with the public about the structure of substances while protecting the confidential elements of the substance’s specific chemical identity. TSCA submitters claiming the specific chemical identity of a chemical substance as CBI are required to supply a structurally descriptive generic name that can be disclosed to the public.

You can read more about EPA’s newest chemical safety milestones here: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-celebrates-new-chemical-safety-milestones-2nd-anniversary-lautenberg-chemical 

EPA Administrator Pruitt signs agency action documents under TSCA to mark the second anniversary of the Lautenberg Act, June 2018.Administrator Pruitt signs a guidance and policy on confidential business information, a strategy to reduce animal testing, and a final mercury reporting rule on the two-year anniversary of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act with the hardworking staff of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

EPA Proposes Biofuel Requirements for 2019; On Track to Meet Congressional Deadline

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WASHINGTON (June 26, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2019, as well as the biomass based diesel volume standard for calendar year 2020.

“I’ve traveled to numerous states and heard firsthand about the importance of the RFS to farmers and local communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Issuing the proposed rule on time meets Congress’s statutory deadlines, which the previous administration failed to do, and provides regulatory certainty to all impacted stakeholders.”

Some key elements of today’s action:

  •  “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, would be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019.
  • The advanced biofuel standard for 2019 would be increased by almost 600 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
  • The cellulosic biofuel standard for 2019 would be increased by almost 100 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
  • The biomass-based diesel standard for 2020 would be increased by 330 million gallons as compared to the standard for 2019.
  • Consistent with the Agency’s commitment to improve the program’s implementation, EPA is also taking comment on a host of ways to improve market transparency, including by limiting who can participate in the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and the length of time a RIN can be held.

Proposed and Final Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements for 2018-2020

Proposed and Final Renewable Fuel Volume Requirements for 2018-2020
*The biomass-based diesel standard for 2019 was set at 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 and cannot be changed.

​The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information on today’s announcement, go to: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/regulations-and-volume-standards-renewable-fuel-standards

EPA Highlights Permit Streamlining Success 06/26/2018

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WASHINGTON — Today, 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.

Watch the video and learn more about the project at: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors

What they are saying:

“South Carolina has reduced the average time it takes to issue South Carolina permits by about 40 percent since 2007,” said S.C. DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece. “That yields an estimated economic impact between 72 and 103 million dollars each year for the state and shows that protective permitting can be done quickly and fit well within the community.”

“This is a good example of a watershed approach to compensatory mitigation,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Biologist Nat Ball. “We like to see wetland mitigation projects adjacent to existing protected lands because that helps ensure the success of the restoration.”

“Although the Army Corps of Engineers issues the actual wetlands permit, EPA can provide support throughout the permitting process,” said EPA Region 4 Wetlands Regulatory Division Ecologist Kelly Laycock. “What I would say to other companies is: call us to request pre-application meetings. Once you file a permit application, the process becomes more formal. Everything must be documented in writing, and that takes longer. Engaging early in the process makes the permitting process work much more efficiently. Additionally, wetlands projects don’t have to be large; it’s more about functional ecological gain than it is about acreage.”

“When Boeing started talking about how to enable long-term growth on this site over time, including an immediate need for a facility where we could paint the 787s we build here, we realized we’d need additional land,” said The Boeing Company Senior Counsel Leah Krider. “We intended to acquire about 468 acres but were faced with a challenge – about 150 of those acres were wetlands. So, we started having extensive conversations internally and externally.”

“In terms of challenges, The Nature Conservancy was not the right long-term owner of the land,” said The Nature Conservancy South Carolina Chapter Executive Director Mark Robertson. “I think putting our heads together and communicating was what ultimately worked.”

“The hardest part was negotiating the property sale with the owners,” said Lowcountry Land Trust Board Chair David Maybank, III. “The good news is: after the land is transferred, it will be protected for all residents under the South Carolina Land Property Trust Act.”

“This project has changed the way we prioritize lands for future acquisition as part of National Forests,” said USFS Lands Program Manager Peggy Jo Nadler. “We have added mitigation potential into the equation. It’s important to point out that from a federal perspective, we worked together to find the flexibility to do this within our regulations.”

The Open Space Institute has worked on several projects since the completion of this project that had similar approaches to how we worked with Boeing,” said Open Space Institute Vice President Nate Berry. “It is definitely a best practice with a successful and replicable model.”

“AIA is proud to take part in EPA’s Smart Sectors Program, which provides the aerospace and defense industry an effective mechanism to engage with the government around shared environmental goals,” said Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning. “Boeing’s South Carolina permitting process efficiency is a prime example of how economic and environmental benefits can be accomplished by working together.”

Background

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.

To access the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLd3k7qbut8&feature=youtu.be

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

EPA Plans to Award $213,000 to Erie County, Pennsylvania for Water Quality Monitoring at Beaches

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Water Quality Monitoring at Beaches

PHILADELPHIA (June 27, 2018) – As peak beach season arrives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to award approximately $213,000 to Erie County Pennsylvania to develop and implement beach monitoring and notification programs along the shores of Lake Erie.

Enjoying the beach is a quintessential pastime for Americans every summer,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through EPA’s BEACH grants, we are ensuring communities across the country can keep their beaches safe and enjoyable for all.”

Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial and tribal applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches.

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic office expects to award the funds to Erie County contingent upon eligibility requirements and availability of funding.

“In addition to helping measure pollution in the water near beaches, EPA is pleased to help states, tribes, territories, and local governments inform people about the threats to beaches and opportunities to protect them,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Through this program, EPA is improving public access to information about the quality of water at our beaches.”

When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach.

Since 2002, state and local governments, territories, and tribes have used more than $157 million in EPA BEACH Act grants to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA. Grant funding under the BEACH ACT is part of a broader EPA effort to find and eliminate sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures.

For more information about what EPA is doing to protect America’s beaches: https://www.epa.gov/beaches/learn-epas-role-protecting-beaches

As EPA Repeals and Delays, Environmentalists Turn to Courts

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Environmental advocates say the federal courts are serving an increasingly critical role in protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Since Scott Pruitt took over as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, he has repealed or delayed more than 30 environmental regulations, including bedrock provisions of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to Patrice Simms, vice president for litigation at the environmental law firm EarthJustice, that organization already has filed 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration to try to preserve regulations that protect public health.

“The agency is undertaking this effort largely without the benefit of clear justifications and detailed records and data that explain what the agency is doing, why it’s doing it and what the impacts will be,” Simms said.

The administration claims that environmental regulations slow economic growth. But critics contend that the EPA disregards the economic value of preserving public health and the environment.

For example, 17 Pennsylvania counties are out of compliance with minimum standards set by the Clean Air Act. Simms said when the EPA rolls back regulations, creates loopholes or delays enforcement of clean air rules, communities and individuals pay the price.

“It will be harder for those counties to come into compliance,” he said. “And that non-attainment, that dangerous level of air quality, will last longer and end up affecting more people.”

Smog increases the risk of heart disease, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments.

Several states, including Pennsylvania, have joined in lawsuits challenging the repeal or delay of environmental regulations. Simms pointed out that non-governmental groups have turned to the courts as well.

“Our clients are often community groups, farmworker communities, sometimes other nonprofit environmental and public-health organizations, scientists,” he said; “and we will continue to hold the government accountable to the law.”

Simms added that the EPA is increasingly challenging the legal standing of those who file lawsuits against it, and bills introduced in Congress could block some legal challenges.

Small Business Supports Worker Retirement Option

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania small business owners are concerned that their workers aren’t saving for retirement, according to a new poll by AARP of Pennsylvania.

And the poll shows, the business owners think the state should help.

Nationally, only 1 in 20 workers opens a private retirement account, and the poll shows that almost three-quarters of small businesses in Pennsylvania don’t offer a retirement savings plan to their employees.

According to Ray Landis, advocacy manager for AARP Pennsylvania, 88 percent of those business owners agree that state lawmakers should support a state retirement savings proposal.

“They know that it’s an attraction to getting good employees and keeping good employees, but many small business owners find the costs and the administrative responsibilities of running a retirement savings plan to be prohibitive,” Landis states.

State Treasurer Joe Torsella and a bipartisan task force of state legislators and business leaders are considering options for improving retirement savings, including the creation of a state-run plan for private sector workers.

Landis points out that employees do want to save for retirement, but if that means making regular payments to an individual retirement account, other priorities are likely to come first.

“They are much more inclined to save when there is an automatic payroll deduction from their check,” he explains. “Even if it’s a small deduction, that means that people will save.”

Figures show that workers are 15-times more likely to save if a payroll deduction option is available at work.

States such as Oregon, Illinois and Connecticut have created state-run payroll deduction retirement plans.

Landis points out that plans that enroll everyone but give workers the option of not participating appear to work best.

“The research that AARP has done and the experience of other states shows the participation rate is so much higher in states that offer an opt-out instead of an opt-in,” he states.

There is currently no specific bill to create a retirement savings plan in Pennsylvania, but Landis is optimistic that one may be introduced in the next legislative session.

Lancaster County Homeowners May Pay Octorara Area School District $312 More in 2018-19 School Year

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Key Points:

Presented By: Jeffery Curtis at the work session

As of May total revenues were $53,393,594

Spending was $54,954,887

Resulting in a $1.56M deficit

Potential tax increases may result in Chester County where median homestead property homeowners in the Octorara Area School District may pay an additional $56 per year, and $312  in Lancaster County. “That’s just a guess” Curtis states.

For more, tune in to the meeting here:

 

FLOOD WARNING

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The National Weather Service in Mount Holly NJ has extended the

* Flood Warning for...
  Northwestern Camden County in southern New Jersey...
  Northern Burlington County in southern New Jersey...
  Southeastern Montgomery County in southeastern Pennsylvania...
  Southeastern Bucks County in southeastern Pennsylvania...
  Northeastern Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania...
  Philadelphia County in southeastern Pennsylvania...
  Northeastern Delaware County in southeastern Pennsylvania...

* Until 1030 AM EDT Monday.

* At 349 AM EDT, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated
  an area of very heavy rainfall fell across the warned area,
  resulting in a widespread rainfall between two and four inches,
  with some locations picking up close to five inches of rain.
  Although the heaviest rain has moved south of the region, it still
  is raining, and flooding continues. Parts of these counties also
  remain under a Flash Flood Warning with numerous road closures.
  Flooding will continue through at least the morning commute.

* Some locations that could experience flooding include...
  Philadelphia, Camden, Bensalem, Mount Laurel, Norristown,
  Willingboro, Medford, West Norriton, East Norriton, Lumberton,
  Burlington, Mount Holly, Riverside, Conshohocken, Palmyra, Ambler,
  Jenkintown, Narberth, Presidential Lakes Estates and Beverly.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Turn around...don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood
deaths occur in vehicles.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the
dangers of flooding.

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small
creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as
well as other drainage areas and low lying spots.

Please report flooding to your local law enforcement agency when you
can do so safely.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. All
interested parties should take necessary precautions immediately.

Chester County, PA > FLASH FLOOD WATCH 6:PM ON 6/10/2018 THROUGH MONDAY MORNING

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BROADCAST SOURCE: WLRI-LP 92.9 MHz Gap, Pennsylvania
FCC FACILITY ID 135143

FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM EDT THIS EVENING
THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...

The Flash Flood Watch continues for

* Portions of Delaware, northeast Maryland, southern New Jersey,
  and southeast Pennsylvania, including the following areas, in
  Delaware, Delaware Beaches, Inland Sussex, Kent, and New
  Castle. In northeast Maryland, Caroline, Cecil, Kent MD, Queen
  Annes, and Talbot. In southern New Jersey, Atlantic, Atlantic
  Coastal Cape May, Camden, Cape May, Coastal Atlantic, Coastal
  Ocean, Cumberland, Gloucester, Northwestern Burlington, Ocean,
  Salem, and Southeastern Burlington. In southeast Pennsylvania,
  Delaware, Eastern Chester, Eastern Montgomery, Philadelphia,
  Western Chester, and Western Montgomery.

* From 6 PM EDT this evening through Monday morning.

* Light to moderate rainfall will develop across the area this
  afternoon. The rainfall is expected to become heavier later this
  evening into the overnight hours. A total of 1 to 2 inches of
  rain are expected across portions of the area. Some
  thunderstorms may also occur and could be slow moving which
  could lead to locally higher amounts.

* Excessive rainfall within a short period of time can lead to
  rapidly rising waters and flash flooding, particularly in
  urban areas and along small creeks and streams.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Flash Flood Watch means that there is the potential for flash
flooding which can be life-threatening. Heavy rain is expected to
occur over a short period of time. Rapidly rising flood waters
may quickly inundate roadways and areas of poor drainage. Streams
and creeks could leave their banks, flooding nearby properties.

Please monitor the forecast, especially if you live in a location
that is prone to flooding. Be prepared to take action if a flash
flood warning is issued for your area.

Lancaster City Boil Water Advisory Lifted: LCHS Stadium Area

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DRINKING WATER PROBLEM CORRECTED

BOIL WATER ADVISORY LIFTED: WATER IS SAFE TO DRINK.

Este informe contiene informacion muyimportante sobre sy agua de beber. Traduzcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.

As of Friday June 8th, 2018 at 7:25 AM, the boil water advisory is lifted for customers residing at:

• 103, 115, 117, 121, 203, 205, 200, 202, 204, 208, 225, 227, 229, 237, 243, 245, 251, 253, 255, 257, 244, 246, 250, 252, 256, 259, 319, 260, 300, 310, 314, 316, 318 Pleasure Rd.
• 114, 116, 206, 218, 232, 109, 111, 209, 210, 211, 221, 236, 240, 248, 311, 315, 317 Forney Rd.
• 1350, 1346, 1340, 1336, 1351, 1341, 1331, 1321, Clearview Ave.
• 655 Stadium Rd Catholic High School Stadium.
• 1304 Rosemont Ave.
• 1309, 1305, 1301, 1308, 1304, 1300 Crown Ave.
Your water is safe to drink and we have lifted the boil water advisory.

We are pleased to report the problem has been corrected and you are no longer required to boil your water.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Run the cold water faucet or water fountain for 2-3 minutes. Flush out any automatic icemakers. Drain and refill hot water heaters set below 115 degrees and run water softener through a regeneration cycle.

For further information, please visit the City of Lancaster website at www.cityoflancasterpa.com or call the Water Quality Laboratory at 291-4818, Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-4:15 PM. At all other times, please call the Water Emergency number at 291-4816.

Notice provided by the City of Lancaster, Bureau of Water

Public Water Supplier ID#: 7360058