Tag Archives: EPA

EPA rebates fund cleaner schoolbuses in 5 New Jersey towns and 88 fleets around the US

Healthy-Buses-Healthy-Kids
Source: http://gasp-pgh.org

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded more than $7.7 million to replace or retrofit 401 older diesel school buses. The funds are going to 88 school bus fleets in 27 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.

In New Jersey, the five school systems that receiving retrofit funding are Orange, Lakewood, North Brunswick, Wall and Toms River.

“Thanks to DERA funding, we are protecting our children from breathing diesel emissions as they travel to school,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than six million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.”

Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation system (DOC plus CCV) to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $4,000.

EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems. 

The full list of 2016 DERA school bus rebate recipients are:

State  City     Selectee Funding   Buses
AZ Marana Marana Unified School District #6 $465,000  20
CA Moorpark Moorpark Unified School District $25,000 1
CA Soquel Santa Cruz City Schools  $155,000 9
CA Tulare Sundale Union Elementary School $20,000 1
CO Glenwood Springs Yampah Mountain High School $20,000 1
CT Ashford Town of Ashford $20,000 1
FL  Orlando School Board of Orange County, FL $240,000 20
FL Fort Pierce The School Board of Saint Lucie County $200,000 10
IA Bondurant Bondurant-Farrar Community School District $70,000 3
IA Lawton Lawton-Bronson Community School District $80,000 4
IA Sioux City Sioux City Community School District $20,000 1
IL St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 $20,000 1
IL Frankfort Lincoln Way Area Special Education District 843 $75,000 5
IL Mt Vernon Spring Garden School District 178 $20,000 1
IN Greensburg Decatur County Community Schools $75,000 3
IN Waterloo DeKalb County Central United School District $100,000 5
IN Goshen Fairfield Community Schools $40,000 2
IN  Gary Incandescent Transportation Solutions LLC $25,000 1
IN Versailles South Ripley School Corporation $55,000 3
KS Emporia Unified School District # 253 $40,000 2
KS  Sublette Unified School District # 374 $20,000 1
KS Ottawa      Unified School District # 290 $40,000 2
LA Alexandria Rapides Parish Schools Board $100,000 5
ME Kennebunk Regional School Unit 21 $160,000 8
ME Sullivan Regional School Unit 24 $40,000  2
MI Haslett Haslett Public Schools $60,000 3
MI Hudsonville Hudsonville Public Schools $60,000 3
MI Whittemore Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools $60,000 3
MO Jamestown Jamestown C-1 School $55,000 3
MO Louisiana Louisiana RII Schools District $25,000 1
MO  Sullivan Sullivan School District $40,000 2
MO Wheaton Wheaton R III School $40,000 2
NE Arlington Arlington Public Schools $20,000 1
NE Wahoo Wahoo Public Schools $20,000 1
NJ Orange Belair Transport Inc. $145,000 7
NJ Lakewood Klarr Transport Service Inc. $200,000 10
NJ North Brunswick North Brunswick Township Board of Education $85,000 5
NJ  Wall Student Transportation of America $200,000 10
NJ Toms River Toms River Regional Schools $180,000 9
NY Brocton Brocton Central School District $40,000 2
NY Belmont Genesee Valley CSD $20,000 1
NY Huntington Station Huntington Coach Corporation  $200,000 10
NY  Huntington Station Huntington Coach LLC  $200,000 10
NY Craryville Taconic Hills Central School District $20,000 1
NY  Verona Vernon Verona Sherrill Central Schools $60,000 3
NY Whitesboro Whitesboro Central School District $30,000 2
OH Sullivan Black River Local Schools $20,000 1
OH Rawson Cory-Rawson Local Schools $70,000 3
OH Lynchburg Lynchburg Clay Local Schools $60,000 3
OH Thornville Northern Local School District  $60,000 3
OH Andover Pymatuning Valley Local School $80,000 4
OH Canton Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities $60,000 3
OK Boswell Boswell Public Schools $20,000 1
OR  Lakeview Lake County School District #7 $40,000 2
OR Pendleton Mid Columbia Bus Co. Inc  $180,000 9
PA Carlisle Deitch Buses Inc. $80,000  4
PA Glenmoore George Krapf, Jr. & Sons, Inc. $60,000 3
PA Philadelphia School District of Philadelphia $165,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Anderson 1 School District) $100,000 5
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Charleston County School District) $200,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Chester County School District)  $40,000 2
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Colleton County School District) $140,000 7
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Dorchester 4 County School District)  $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Greenville County School District) $200,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Kershaw County School District) $100,000 5
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Lexington 4 County School District) $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Orangeburg 5 County School District) $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Spartanburg 3 County School District) $40,000 2
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Spartanburg 6 County School District) $80,000 4
SD Hayti Hamlin Public School District $20,000  1
TX Rockport Aransas County ISD $105,000 5
TX Uvalde Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District $20,000 1
UT St. George Washington County School District $250,000 10
UT West Haven Weber School District $100,000  5
VA Alexandria Alexandria City Public Schools $64,000 16
VA Charlotte Court House Charlotte County Public Schools $100,000  5
VA Norfolk Norfolk Public Schools $200,000 10
VA Salem Roanoke County Public Schools $215,000 10
WA Vancouver Evergreen Public Schools $235,000 10
WA Lind Lind-Ritzville Transportation Co-Op $20,000 1
WA Longview Longview Public School District #122 $95,000 4
WA Northport Northport School District $20,000 1
WA Quincy Quincy School District No. 144 $50,000 2
WA Sumner Sumner School District $20,000 1
WI Spencer Burnett Transit $40,000 2
WI Dousman Dousman Transport Co., Inc.  $200,000 10
WI Beloit  School District of Beloit Turner $40,000 2
WI Shell Lake School District of Shell Lake  $20,000 1

For more information about this rebate program, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates.

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EPA Quiz: Do you know how much climate change affects our health?

Climate change knowledge quiz
Source: EPA
Take the EPA’s quiz to find out how much you know about the health impacts of climate change.

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Breaking! EPA finalizes plan to decontaminate Newark Bay & lower Passaic River

After years of investigating safety issues involved with removing Agent Orange and other contaminants from the Newark Bay and lower Passaic River, the EPA has created a comprehensive plan to remove what is logistically feasible and cap the rest at the bottom of the waterway.

The plan includes:

  • 3.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment will be removed, bank- to-bank, by dredging the river bottom from Newark Bay to the Belleville/ Newark border.
  • This will result in the permanent removal from the river of approximately 13 pounds of highly toxic and persistent dioxin (2,3,7,8- TCDD), 24,000 pounds of mercury, 6,600 pounds of PCBs, and 1,300 pounds of DDT (a pesticide).

Here are highlights of the plan:

EPA Lower Passaic Cleanup Plan
Source: EPA

View the entire record of decision for the lower eight miles of the Passaic River.

DOJ Files Complaint Against Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche for Clean Air Act Violations

EPA actions against VW
Source: EPA website

Find out if your vehicle is affected and what to expect.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, today filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, Porsche AG, and Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States motor vehicles that are designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

“With today’s filing, we take an important step to protect public health by seeking to hold Volkswagen accountable for any unlawful air pollution, setting us on a path to resolution,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at EPA. “So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward. These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action.”

“Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust, endanger public health and disadvantage competitors,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to redress the violations of our nation’s clean air laws alleged in the complaint.”

“VW’s illegal defeat devices have resulted in thousands of tons of excess NOx emissions in California, a state where more than 12 million people live in areas that exceed air quality standards set to protect public health,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The California Air Resources Board is fully coordinating its investigation with the federal EPA and DOJ to address the environmental harm VW has caused.”

Consistent with EPA’s Notices of Violation, issued on September 18, 2015 for 2.0 liter engines, and November 2, 2015 for certain 3.0 liter engines, the complaint alleges that the defeat devices cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards during normal driving conditions. The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution. Motor vehicles equipped with illegal defeat devices cannot be certified.

The complaint alleges that Volkswagen equipped certain 2.0 liter vehicles with software that detects when the car is being tested for compliance with EPA emissions standards and turns on full emissions controls only during that testing process. During normal driving situations the effectiveness of the emissions control devices is greatly reduced. This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory and at the test site, but during normal on-road driving emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at levels up to 40 times the EPA compliance level. In total, the complaint covers approximately 499,000 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States since the 2009 model year.

The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen also equipped certain 3.0 liter vehicles with software that senses when the vehicle is undergoing federal emissions testing. When the vehicle senses the test procedure, it operates in a “temperature conditioning” mode and meets emissions standards. At all other times, including during normal vehicle operation, the vehicles operate in a “normal mode” that permits NOx emissions of up to nine times the federal standard. In total, the complaint covers approximately 85,000 3.0 liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States since the 2009 model year.

NOx pollution contributes to harmful ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. These pollutants are linked with asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses. Exposure to ozone and particulate matter is also associated with premature death due to respiratory-related or cardiovascular-related effects. Children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory disease are particularly at risk of health effects from exposure to these pollutants. Recent studies indicate that the direct health effects of NOx are worse than previously understood, including respiratory problems, damage to lung tissue, and premature death.

Today’s filing of a civil complaint under Sections 204 and 205 of the Clean Air Act seeks injunctive relief and the assessment of civil penalties. A civil complaint does not preclude the government from seeking other legal remedies. The United States will seek to transfer its case and fully participate in the pretrial proceedings now initiated in the related multi-district litigation in the Northern District of California. The United States’ investigation is ongoing, in close coordination with CARB. EPA and CARB have been in active discussion with Volkswagen about potential remedies and recalls to address the noncompliance, and those discussions are ongoing.

Affected 2.0 liter diesel models and model years include:

Jetta (2009-2015)
Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
Beetle (2013-2015)
Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
Audi A3 (2010-2015)
Golf (2010-2015)
Golf Sportwagen (2015)
Passat (2012-2015)

Affected 3.0 liter diesel models and model years include:

Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
Audi A8 (2014 – 2016)
Audi A8L (2014-2016)
Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
Audi Q7 (2009-2015)

More at Mother Jones

Information about EPA actions on Volkswagen at epa.gov/vw

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Free EPA webinars on safe chemical waste disposal

Chemical disposalWe should all be aware by now that many of the chemicals we use are poisonous. Bottle labels from pesticides to paint thinners carry skull-and-crossbones and “dispose of properly” warnings. Repair facilities and manufacturing businesses work with many dangerous chemicals that, obviously, need to be discarded after use.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s job is protecting the environment in which we all live, work, and play. This charge includes regulating the manufacture, handling, and disposal of useful but dangerous chemicals. President Clinton’s executive order in 1994 made environmental justice part of the EPA mission. The EPA Web site explains:

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

The EPA is holding two webinars this month on reducing the risks of the use of chemicals that are recognized as having a high impact on environmental justice communities.

You must register to attend EPA webinars. Registrants have the option of just listening in but can also ask a question, share information or make a statement.

Environmental Justice Public Consultation on trichloroethylene (TCE) Webinar
Date: 27 May 2015
Time: 1-2pm EDT
Register

Environmental Justice Public Consultation on paint removers NMP and methylene chloride Webinar
Date: 27 May 2015
Time: 1-2pm EDT
Register

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EPA’s pollution assessment tool in beta

The EPA released a beta version of the new Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST). It will increase the availability and accessibility of science and data for evaluating impacts of pollutants and local conditions, understanding the overall environmental health consequences of your community and ranking risks. The tool will enable communities to identify environmental health issues, rank and prioritize issues, make informed and cost-effective decisions to improve public health, and promote actions.

Feedback is needed to finalize development, so please give C-FERST a test drive and share your experiences. More information here.

Tell the EPA to clean up Ford’s mess in Ringwood

Journalist Jan Barry started the research on the tragic and intentional pollution of a housing development which was home to members of a tribe of Ramapough Indians in Ringwood, NJ, and collaborated with HBO to create Mann v. Ford, a moving documentary about the crushing impact this has had on the health of tribe members as well as the water source for the entire region. The site was prematurely de-listed by the EPA from its Superfund cleanup status, and several years later became the first site to be listed for a second time. Ford has resisted taking responsibility for the poisonous effects on tribe members of the toxic paint sludge it trucked in under cover of nightfall every day for many years, and has also resisted funding the cost of cleanup.

Make sure the EPA knows you support the clean-up of the Ramapough Indian’s by (Action 1) signing the Change.org petition and (Action 2) sending a letter to the EPA (download sample below).

Action 1

Sign the Change.org petition

The United States Environmental Protection Agency will soon decide how Ford Motor Company should clean up the 500-acre Ringwood (New Jersey) Superfund Site, where Ford Motor Company dumped tens of thousands of tons of paint sludge into old abandoned mine shafts, leaching landfills, the lawns of the Ramapough Mountain Indians, and the very trails of Ringwood State Park five decades ago.

All options are on the table – from doing absolutely nothing to controversially capping the sludge in place and leaving it there forever to completely removing all of the toxic waste. The people in Upper Ringwood are still suffering from devastating health impacts, staggering rates of premature deaths, rare cancers, and autoimmune diseases believed to be linked to the witches’ brew of toxins left in their homes, yards and community.

Astronomically high levels of lead and dioxin have been found in attics and yards, while the neighboring mines – including those in Ringwood State Park – sit just upstream from the drinking water source for one to two million people.

Action 2

Send a letter to the EPA! Be part of the EPA’s public comment process by customizing this sample letter and sending it to the EPA’s New York Office (the address is at the top of the letter). Just do it by the May 18 deadline! The original letter, with minor changes, was found on the Edison Wetlands Watch site but no author attribution appeared together with it, so I don’t know who to credit with its creation.

Resources
Mann v. Ford Facebook Page
Edison Wetlands Watch has good information too but it’s on a poorly coded web page which makes it very difficult to access.

Dangers of Fracking – Fracturing Shale With Water

Update: See separate post on actions for moving towards a permanent ban on fracking

The New York City Council has a great synopsis about why fracking shouldn’t be allowed in the Delaware River Basin where the Marcellus Shale formation sits

The Delaware River is the critical water source for over 15 million people — five percent of the U.S. population — including residents of New Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia, and 8 million New Yorkers. Furthermore, experts agree that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate drinking water, causing irreparable harm and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), an agency composed of representatives from four states and the federal government, is taking steps to finalize regulations for hydraulic fracturing in the area near the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. While thousands of gas wells have been developed in Pennsylvania in recent years, development of hydraulic fracturing has been much more limited in the area near the Delaware River due to the area’s status as a critical drinking water source for five percent of the U.S. population.

On September 29th, Councilmember James Gennaro introduced a resolution calling on the DRBC to halt the issuance of regulations for gas production using hydraulic fracturing for water withdrawal for the purpose of hydraulic fracturing within the Delaware River Basin until a cumulative impact study is completed to assess the risks and inform the development of adequate regulations for hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin.

New York Times writer Eliza Griswold reports on the local environmental dangers of fracking, a practice which in the regions it takes place is ruining water supplies in locations across the country, corroding home and business water delivery pipes and appears to be killing pets and farms animals too. Griswold was directed by a Range Resources spokesman to move away from a “fracking pond” containing chemically treated waste water that had been used in the company’s fracking process which Griswold observed to be sitting in a catch basin at the top of a watershed (EPA definition).

Griswold points out

In Amwell Township, your opinion of fracking tends to correspond with how much money you’re making and with how close you live to the gas wells, chemical ponds, pipelines and compressor stations springing up in the area. Many of those who live nearby fear that a leak in the plastic liner of a chemical pond could drip into a watershed or that a truck spill could send carcinogens into a field of beef cattle. (According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 65 Marcellus wells drilled this year have been cited for faulty cement casings, which could result in leaks.) But for many other residents, including Haney’s neighbors, the risks seem small, and the benefits — clean fuel, economic development — far outweigh them.

One of her escorts through Amwell Township was 64 year old farmer and science teacher Ray Day of who, “like most of his neighbors, trusted the companies to use best practices. A man’s word means a lot here. After all, without regulation or oversight, he and other farmers worked together to do things like fence streams to keep cattle out of them.”

I first learned of the danger to water supplies caused by fracking when my friend, Sabastian Belfon, returned from visiting family in Arizona. “Kimi, I kept seeing all these pickups driving around with huge tanks in their beds in the back, so I asked my family what was going on.” They told me that’s how most people have to get their water now – by trucking it in. Because of hydrofracking, groundwater’s contaminated now. Just Google the phrase arizona people truck drinking water frack to produce a long list of problems people in that state are having with their drinking water, which some apparently can ignite simply by putting a flame near the water as it runs out of their kitchen sink faucet. Bob Donnan of Pennsylvania blogs about the water in his region turning putrid due to fracking,

TDS, or total dissolved solids in our drinking water were blamed for its chunky state. But water company officials were quick to tell us that even though it may spot glasses in your dishwasher, there is nothing to worry about — the water is safe to drink. Sure, if you can get past drinking something tasting nearly as bad as the prep for your last colonoscopy!

Turns out some of the low river flow, and much of the TDS chunkiness, resulted from the Marcellus Shale gas boom. Unless you have been sleeping, or residing on Mars for the past year, you know about this madhatter gas drilling boom that’s going on, with the epicenter in Hickory, Pennsylvania. Estimates indicate the Marcellus Shale holds enough gas to supply the entire US for 14 years, so main players ante up like it’s the California Gold Rush.

Water is pumped out of streams anytime, anywhere . . . The Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law is supposed to protect drought- stricken streams from de-watering, but is this law being enforced?

Mark Ruffalo stood with Occupy Trenton at the huge anti-fracking rally in Trenton yesterday (on 11/21) with Josh Fox, creator of the movie Gasland, to address the hundreds of protestors and Green Drinks co-host Sally Gellert was there too.