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EPA penalizes Yakima companies $194,000 for violating federal rules aimed at preventing accidental chemical releases

EPA Air - Mon, 08/28/2023 - 19:00

 SEATTLE (August 28, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Congdon Packing Company, LLC, and D&H Properties Yakima, LLC, agreed to pay $194,302 for violations of Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act.   

Under the Clean Air Act, facility owners or operators handling or storing 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are required to develop and implement a risk management plan to prevent accidental chemical releases. 

In violation of this requirement, the owner and operator of the facility failed to:  

  • Keep safety information up to date  

  • Adequately address process hazard analysis recommendations 

  • Perform a timely process hazard analysis every five years  

  • Provide initial safety training for three employees 

  • Replace and maintain process equipment for safe operation   

“Ammonia is extremely dangerous, so risk management planning can save people’s lives,” said EPA Region 10 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Ed Kowalski. “By creating a solid plan and making it central to their business operations, companies can reduce the chances of a chemical release and lower risks to plant workers, first responders and the surrounding community – and minimize the risk of a hefty EPA penalty.” 

Exposure to ammonia may result in chemical-type burns to skin, eyes and lungs. Accidental ammonia releases can cause injuries and death to employees, emergency response personnel and people in surrounding communities.   

This settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, “Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities.” Additional details can be found in the Consent Agreement.  


Congdon Packing Company, LLC operated a cold storage facility in Yakima, Washington, which was owned by D&H Properties. In October 2021, Congdon Packing Company, LLC terminated operations at the facility. D&H Properties Yakima, LLC subsequently sold the ammonia refrigeration facility and removed ammonia from the refrigeration system. 

EPA Presents the 2023 President's Environmental Youth Awards

EPA Air - Fri, 08/25/2023 - 19:00

NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality presented plaques to the 2023 recipients of the President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program earlier this month.  Among the winners is Kaitlyn Culbert, a Toms River High School North rising senior from New Jersey.  From New York, Sam Nadol who will be a senior next school year at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY received an Honorable Mention award. The award underscores the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.   

“These student award winners embody the connection between STEM education and community engagement,” said EPA Senior Advisor for Equity and Chief of Staff Olivia Glenn. “I am excited to see what the future has in store for both Kaitlyn and Sam!  These PEYA awards are a great recognition of their incredible contributions to date.” 

PEYA Winner 

Known as the “Bee Girl,” Kaitlyn Culbert is determined to do her part, as both researcher and activist, to help save the honeybees! Working with Rutgers and Stockton Universities, Katie implemented a laboratory project and field study involving Varroa mites (the number one killer of honeybees) and essential oils. She is currently developing a regression analysis to predict Colony Collapse Disorder. Her hope is to one day provide a complete “Honeybee Health System” mobile app that incorporates essential oils and a CCD predictive analysis to combat Varroa. 

Equally important as research, is Katie’s commitment to community outreach. With her beekeeping certification in-hand, Katie secured land at Jakes Branch County Park and donations for beehives, equipment, and honeybees to establish the 4-H Busy Bees Beekeeping Club to teach young people about the world’s most important pollinator. Katie also serves as a Rutgers Pollinator Habitat Ambassador. 

She is currently serving as the New Jersey Honey Queen and travels around the state of New Jersey as an ambassador to educate the public about the beekeeping and honey industry.  She will be a proud senior at Toms River High School this upcoming school year. 

PEYA Honorable Mention 

Sam Nadol from Tarrytown, NY created a project called Reboot PC, which is an initiative to refurbish and recycle unused and non-working laptops and desktop computers.  The goal of his project is to reduce electronic waste (e-waste) and provide free technology resources to those in need. 

Sam started this project in 2017 and to date, he has refurbished and given away more than 380 computer systems (worth more than $87,000).  Community members and business owners in Sam’s community, in and near Tarrytown, NY, have contributed used and new computer parts for the Reboot PC effort.  Sam has collected used parts directly with weekly trips to local landfills and through donations and community green fairs.

The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-level environmental projects by K-12 youth that promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Each year, PEYA honors a variety of local projects developed by students, school classes, summer camp attendees and youth organizations to promote engagement in environmental stewardship and protection.   

To read more about the winning PEYA projects, visit: President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) 

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.  


EPA to Hold Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program Meeting in Metairie, La.

EPA Air - Fri, 08/25/2023 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (August 25, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold the next Management Conference meeting for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program (PRP) in Metairie, Louisiana, on September 5 at 2 pm. PRP stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the meeting.,

If your organization is interested in becoming an active and committed Management Conference member, please RSVP to this meeting at https://www.epa.gov/la/lake-pontchartrain-basin-restoration-program (via the Management Conference meeting form under current activities) by August 29, 2023. EPA will send additional information to interested parties prior to the September 5, 2023, meeting. Due to room capacity limitations, we can only accommodate one representative per organization.

Diverse stakeholders—including all levels of government, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, affected industries and the public—come together during the Management Conference to discuss issues and build consensus toward collaborative decision-making. The Management Conference also develops and implements the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP), and seeks to provide public input. The Management Conference and/or subcommittees meet regularly to ensure the PRP is accomplishing priority goals for the Basin and implementing the CCMP appropriately.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Amendment to Consent Decree for Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site in Kalamazoo, Michigan

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun a 30-day public comment period on a proposed amendment to the consent decree for the Allied Paper Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund site in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The amendment requires the responsible party, NCR Corp., to fund and complete the cleanup of a portion of the Kalamazoo River (known as Area 3 of Operable Unit 5) under EPA’s oversight. The cleanup will include soil and sediment remediation along the riverbank and floodplain.

The original consent decree gave NCR Corp. two options: The company could either perform the cleanup or reimburse EPA $52.5 million. NCR has decided to perform the cleanup at an estimated cost of $34 million.

The public comment period closes on Sept. 20. All comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and refer to United States of America and the State of Michigan v. NCR Corporation, D.J. Ref. No. 90–11–2–07912/11. Comments may be submitted:

  • By email:  pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov.
  • By mail:  Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044–7611.

For more information, please visit the Federal Register notice and the proposed Consent Decree Amendment on the Department of Justice website.

EPA awards Portland State University over $640,000 for research

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

SEATTLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Portland State University $649,492 to understand the environmental justice impacts of renewable energy storage infrastructure.  

“As our energy systems rapidly shift toward renewables, it is critical that we better understand the environmental justice implications of this transition,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller. “Portland State University’s community-engaged research will help fill this knowledge gap and ensure that decision making regarding the energy transition is more attentive to environmental justice and community concerns.”  

Energy storage systems for renewable energy, such as batteries and pumped hydropower, have significant impacts at each stage of the systems’ life cycles.  

This research takes a community-engaged approach to deepen the understanding of how renewable energy transitions can benefit underserved communities. Specifically, researchers will engage with communities in the western U.S. through interviews, community-engaged workshops, and other forums to explore the environmental justice impacts of renewable energy storage infrastructure across the system's life cycles. The project will also strengthen community capacity.  

Portland State University is one of 11 institutions nationwide to receive a total of $11 million in grant funding to address the drivers and environmental impacts of energy transitions in underserved and Tribal communities. 

Learn more about Portland State University’s research and the other funded grant recipients.  

EPA Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida Renews Commitment to Continue Environmental Cooperation with Newly Established Taiwan Ministry of Environment

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida was in Taipei, Taiwan, from August 21-22, to recommit to extending environmental cooperation between EPA and Taiwan.  Assistant Administrator Nishida joined former Taiwan Deputy Minister Ya-Fen Wang in providing keynote remarks for an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of EPA’s environmental cooperation with Taiwan, and nearly a decade of multilateral cooperation through the U.S. – Taiwan International Environmental Partnership (IEP).

“As we celebrate 30 years of partnership and the successes we have achieved together through IEP, it is important for us to identify future opportunities to strengthen this strong partnership and highlight Taiwan’s global environmental leadership,” said Jane Nishida, Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Taiwan to address critical environmental issues and build resilient communities through new and expanded programs on climate change and other priority challenges.”

The United States and Taiwan first started environmental cooperation in 1993 to exchange experiences in addressing air pollution, water quality, chemical safety, and other environmental challenges. Recognizing that pollution knows no borders and that lessons learned should be shared regionally, the IEP was launched in 2014 under the auspices of American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO).

Since then, EPA and the Taiwan Ministry of Environment have worked with more than 70 partners, including national and local governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and academia, in the Asia-Pacific region and globally to protect human health and the environment. Specifically, the IEP has established new and diverse networks of environmental practitioners who have been working together on a regional and global level to address environmental issues such as air quality, children's health, electronic waste management, environmental education, law enforcement, mercury monitoring, and site remediation.

While in Taiwan, Assistant Administrator Nishida delivered congratulatory remarks during the inauguration ceremony commemorating Taiwan EPA’s elevation to the Taiwan Ministry of the Environment. Assistant Administrator Nishida also delivered opening remarks for the Global Environmental Education Partnership Asia-Pacific Research Center’s (GEEP APRC) International Symposium and met with senior environmental experts and leading Taiwan partners.

EPA Cracks Down on Companies in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington State for Selling Illegal Auto Parts that Avoid Pollution Controls

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a series of settlements today with companies based in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington state that had illegally sold “defeat device” products throughout the United States that altered vehicle emissions control systems. These products are designed to “defeat” emissions controls, enabling increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious public health issues. Distribution and sale of defeat devices are violations of the Clean Air Act.

“Defeat devices enable more air pollution from vehicles to the detriment of Americans’ health, and EPA is vigilant about holding accountable the entities that sell these illegal products,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “These settlements demonstrate EPA’s commitment to enforcing critical environmental laws that protect clean air and public health.”

Settlement information:

  • Diamond Eye Manufacturing, Inc. (Athena, Ore.) sold 33,134 parts between 2017 and 2019 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. As conditions of a settlement with EPA, Diamond Eye confirmed that it has destroyed its inventory of illegal parts and notified its customers of the settlement and that the company no longer provides technical support or honors warranty claims for the illegal parts. The company will post on its website for eight weeks an announcement of the settlement and pay a $265,000 penalty.
  • Competition Specialties, Inc. (Auburn, Wash.) sold 227 parts or components between 2018 and 2020 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. The company paid a penalty of $225,368.
  • Maxon Auto Corp. (Chino, Calif.) sold 867 parts or components between 2018 and 2021 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. The company paid a penalty of $120,000.
  • Maxon Performance Parts Corp. (Pennsauken, N.J.) sold 148 parts or components between 2019 and 2021 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. The company paid a penalty of $30,000.
  • Remus Technology, Inc. (Emeryville, Calif.) sold over 900 aftermarket exhaust systems for motor vehicles from 2017 to 2018 that required the removal of catalytic converters. The company paid a $40,000 penalty.
  • SHJY Trading Corp. (Walnut, Calif.) sold 1,547 parts or components between 2018 and 2021 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. The company paid a penalty of $15,000.
  • WX Trading Corp. (Walnut, Calif.) sold 1,391 parts or components between 2018 and 2021 that allowed for the removal of a vehicle’s emission control components. The company paid a penalty of $15,000.

Except for Competition Specialties, Inc., the companies each paid or will pay a reduced penalty because of a demonstrated inability to pay a higher amount.

Stopping the sale of aftermarket defeat devices for vehicles and engines is one of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives. According to a study by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, known sales of defeat devices for certain diesel trucks after 2009 and before 2020 resulted in more than 570,000 tons of excess NOx and 5,000 tons of excess particulate matter over the lifetime of the trucks.

The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to set standards for emissions from a variety of types of vehicles and engines. Required emission controls often include filters and catalysts installed in the vehicles or engines’ exhaust systems, as well as calibrations that manage fueling strategy and other operations in the engines themselves. Federal law prohibits tampering with emissions controls, as well as manufacturing, selling, and installing aftermarket devices intended to defeat those controls.

The EPA has found numerous companies and individuals that have manufactured and sold both hardware and software specifically designed to defeat required emissions controls on vehicles and engines used on public roads as well as on nonroad vehicles and engines. Illegally modified vehicles and engines contribute substantial excess pollution that harms public health and impedes efforts by the EPA, tribes, states, and local agencies to plan for and attain air quality standards.

On August 1, Roseville, Calif.-based Sinister Mfg. Company, Inc., pleaded guilty to criminal charges in federal court in Sacramento, California, and agreed to pay a total of $1 million in criminal fines and civil penalties. The company also agreed to implement a compliance program and to not manufacture, sell or install any device that defeats a vehicle’s emissions controls. Additionally, an official for Fiat Chrysler corporation pled guilty to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act by misrepresenting information on vehicle emissions, fuel efficiency and compliance with U.S. emission standards.

Read more information about EPA’s work to stop the sale of defeat devices.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on X.

EPA Region 7 Presents $500K Check to City of St. Louis, Missouri, After Selection for Brownfields Grant

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00
EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister presents a $500,000 ceremonial check to the Community Development Administration (CDA) of St. Louis, Missouri, at City Hall on Aug. 24, 2023. Left to right: EPA Region 7 Press Officer Jonathan Klusmeyer, McCollister, CDA Executive Director Nahuel Fefer, and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. (U.S. EPA photo)

LENEXA, KAN. (AUG. 24, 2023) – Today, EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister presented a $500,000 ceremonial check to the Community Development Administration (CDA) of St. Louis, Missouri, as a Brownfields Assessment Grant selectee.

McCollister was joined by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and CDA Executive Director Nahuel Fefer.

The city plans to utilize the Brownfields Assessment Grant funding for community-wide actions, which include conducting 32 Phase I and 12 Phase II environmental site assessments, developing seven cleanup plans, and providing staff training.

The grant focuses on the neighborhoods of Fountain Park, Greater Ville, The Ville, Jeff Vanderlou, St. Louis Place, College Hill, Fairground Neighborhood, Wells Goodfellow, Walnut Park East, Hamilton Heights, and Chouteau’s Landing.

These 11 neighborhoods, out of a total 79 in St. Louis, represent only 10% of the total geographic area of the city, but account for approximately 53% of the total vacancy. Environmental site assessments will focus on vacant buildings – including abandoned corner gas stations – which depress home values and lead to further vacancy.

“EPA Region 7 has worked with many organizations in the St. Louis area through our Brownfields Program and we are proud to continue these efforts through a new partnership with the City of St. Louis,” McCollister said. “Together, EPA and St. Louis are creating a cleaner and more robust economy for one of our largest cities here in America’s heartland.”

“Cleaning up contaminated properties helps protect families while creating new opportunities for our neighborhoods,” Jones said. “St. Louis appreciates President Biden and the EPA for delivering these resources to our city.”

“Investments in our communities only make us stronger,” said U.S. Representative Cori Bush (MO-1). “That is why I am thrilled that the City of St. Louis is receiving $500,000 from the EPA for community and environmental cleanup efforts in the city. This funding will focus on assessing environmental cleanup needs in St. Louis and revitalizing Chouteau’s Landing and other neighborhoods in the northern part of the city. This funding is a step toward environmental justice and bolstering the well-being of our communities.”

“This EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant signifies the City of St. Louis - Community Development Administration's commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable St. Louis," Fefer said. "Cleaning up these sites not only revitalizes the city's physical landscape, but also creates opportunities for attracting businesses and strengthening neighborhoods to ensure the health and well-being of our neighbors.”


EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the recently announced awards, once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return dilapidated properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged over $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged nearly 260,000 jobs from both public and private sources.

Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leveraged an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.

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DEQ and EPA lead cleanup of wood preservative release in Sheridan

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

SHERIDAN (Aug. 23, 2023) - The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Sheridan and Stella-Jones Inc. established a unified command to coordinate the response to a spill of diesel-containing wood preservative at the Stella-Jones facility in Sheridan.

A mixture of diesel and dichlorooctylisothiazolinone (DCOI) spilled from a retort at the Stella-Jones facility at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. The preservative is approximately 97 percent diesel and 3 percent DCOI. DEQ and EPA are leading the response efforts and Stella-Jones responded by hiring a contractor to isolate the preservative and commence the cleanup activities.

The cause of the release is under investigation, and the facility will not operate the wood treating vessels until the investigation is concluded. There is no current threat to the nearby residents and no injuries have been reported. Based on Oregon Health Authority's review of DCOI, toxicologists do not expect DCOI to harm the health of on-site workers or community members passing near the site. Odors may be noticeable due to components of diesel that evaporate into the air.

Water, wastewater/sewer, storm water, and air quality are all being monitored by the EPA, DEQ, and the City in consultation with Stella-Jones and their hired clean-up crew and environmental management team.

The retort, or a high-pressure and high-temperature cylindrical vessel used to treat wood, held 24,000 gallons of the preservative. Secondary containment, or infrastructure at the facility designed to capture releases, stopped the spread of most of the spill. But an estimated 2,400 gallons either released past secondary containment or entered the City of Sheridan’s sewer system. Of the estimated 2,400 gallons of preservative which escaped containment, most extended onto an asphalt pad and gravel at the facility, which cleanup crews are remediating.

The City is working with DEQ, EPA and Stella-Jones to secure and protect utilities. The City of Sheridan plans on posting regular updates to its website, Facebook page as well as the outdoor bulletin board at City Hall and the indoor bulletin board at the Sheridan Library.

The Stella-Jones facility in Sheridan produces treated wood poles for electrical utilities and telecommunication companies. The facility is located at 22125 SW Rock Creek Road in Sheridan.


Idaho Diesel Parts Companies and Owner Plead Guilty to Selling and Installing Illegal Defeat Devices and Agree to Pay $1 Million

EPA Air - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Diesel performance parts retailers GDP Tuning LLC and Custom Auto of Rexburg LLC, dba Gorilla Performance, as well as the companies’ owner Barry Pierce, pleaded guilty to criminal charges today in federal court in Pocatello, Idaho, and agreed to pay a total of $1 million in criminal fines. The companies also agreed to implement compliance programs and to not manufacture, sell or install any device that defeats a vehicle’s emissions controls.

GDP Tuning pleaded guilty to an information charging it with conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act (CAA). Gorilla Performance and Pierce pleaded guilty to an information charging them with violating the CAA by tampering with the monitoring device of an emissions control system of a diesel truck. Under the plea agreement, the companies and Pierce agree to pay a $1 million criminal fine. Pierce also faces up to two years in prison.

“Nearly a decade after EPA began cracking down on illegal defeat devices that violate the Clean Air Act, there is no excuse for companies to be continuing to cheat on vehicle emissions and putting the health of the environment and our communities at risk,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will continue to pursue criminal charges against companies like Gorilla Performance, which broke the law brazenly and repeatedly, until this egregious criminal activity comes to a stop once and for all.”

“Tampering with vehicles’ on-board diagnostic devices isn’t just a violation of federal law – it’s a major health hazard,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “People are harmed as a direct consequence of the many air pollutants that would be removed by emissions controls systems absent the illegal tampering. We have made progress in curbing harmful emissions, but that progress is undermined by sellers and distributors of defeat devices. We are committed to enforcing the Clean Air Act and holding accountable businesses and individuals that violate federal law.”

“The defendants in this case purposefully violated laws that protect air quality and the overall quality of life for Idahoans, especially vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and those who suffer from respiratory conditions,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit for the District of Idaho.  “My office will continue to partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute those who seek illegal profits at the expense the public’s health and our shared environment.”

According to court documents, GDP Tuning conspired with Pierce and others to violate the CAA by purchasing and selling tens of thousands of tuning devices and accompanying software which, when used together, tampered with vehicles’ on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems. OBDs normally detect any removal and malfunction of a vehicle’s emissions control equipment and record a diagnostic trouble code which will illuminate a vehicle’s “check engine light.” If the malfunction is not remedied, some vehicles can go into “limp mode,” where the maximum speed is limited to 5 mph as an incentive to have the vehicle repaired.

GDP Tuning bought and sold devices and software that allowed customers to reprogram or “tune” a vehicle’s OBD. This reprogramming tampers with emissions monitoring built into the diagnostic system and allows removal of the vehicle’s emissions control equipment without detection by the OBD. Removing a vehicle’s emissions controls is typically referred to as a “delete” and is accompanied by a “delete tune.”

In addition to GDP Tuning’s national wholesale operation, Gorilla Performance and Pierce operated a retail shop and auto repair facility in Rexburg, Idaho, where customers’ trucks were deleted and tuned.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of air pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide and non-methane hydrocarbons, among other hazardous air pollutants. Factory-standard emissions control equipment dramatically reduces these emissions.

Deleting a diesel truck causes its emissions to increase dramatically. For a fully deleted truck with all emissions equipment removed, EPA testing has quantified the increased emissions as follows: NOx increased 310 times, non-methane hydrocarbons increased 1,400 times, carbon monoxide increased 120 times and PM increased 40 times. EPA’s Air Enforcement Division released a report in November 2020 finding that more than 500,000 diesel pickup trucks in the United States – approximately 15% of U.S. diesel trucks that were originally certified with emissions controls – have been illegally deleted.

Diesel emissions contain multiple hazardous compounds that harm human health and the environment. Diesel emissions have been found to cause and worsen respiratory ailments such as asthma and lung cancer. One study found that 21,000 American deaths annually are attributable to diesel particulate matter. Additionally, exposure to polluted air in utero has been associated with a host of problems with lifelong ramifications including low birth weight, preterm birth, autism, asthma and brain and memory disorders.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 8 before U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill for the District of Idaho. Though the corporate defendants agreed to pay $1 million in criminal fines under the plea agreements, they face a maximum fine per count of $500,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, and Pierce faces up to two years in prison. The defendants’ sentences will be determined at the discretion of the court after application of statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which consider a number of variables.

The criminal case stemmed from an investigation by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit for the District of Idaho, Senior Trial Attorney Cassandra Barnum of the Environment and Natural Resources' Environmental Crimes Section and EPA Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel Karla Perrin are prosecuting the case.

Stopping the manufacture, sale and installation of illegal delete devices is a priority for EPA. To learn more, visit www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-compliance-initiative-stopping-aftermarket-defeat-devices-vehicles-and-engines.

Statement from EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker: EPA opens additional Butte Superfund meetings for public observation in latest step to enhance transparency

EPA Air - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 19:00

Butte, Mont. (August 23, 2023) - Earlier this year, following my fourth visit to Butte, I made a commitment to invest more in community engagement and transparency related to ongoing Superfund activity. While engagement takes time and resources to bear results, the steps we have taken over the past several months represent an unprecedented set of efforts and investments to connect with the community. Today, I am announcing that the EPA Butte Superfund team will be making additional meetings -- the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) remedial action materials management meetings, remedial design and remedial action meetings, and the site-wide groundwater modeling meetings -- available for virtual observation through the end of the year. EPA will share details for each of these meetings in the Butte newsletter and on our website ahead of time.  EPA staff will also continue to share information from these technical meetings at future community meetings.  

I recognize that this is a critical time in implementing work under the 2020 BPSOU Consent Decree and it is important that the Butte community is included as we design key aspects of the cleanup. However, there are a lot of practical trade-offs and potential challenges that come with opening these meetings up to the public, including a risk of slowing down cleanup actions, which we know is also a priority for the community. There are also concerns about accessibility, frequency and ensuring that there are not misunderstandings resulting from complex and nuanced technical discussions. We are going to use the next four months to determine whether the benefits of opening these meetings for virtual observation are the best way to ensure that we are meeting the overall goals of the cleanup, which include both a timely cleanup and community support.      

EPA will continue to be responsive to the Butte community throughout the cleanup process. Our first step to enhance transparency was bringing in more EPA staff so we could better share information and address questions and concerns from individuals across the community more effectively. I’m proud that in less than six months we’ve more than doubled EPA’s Butte site team, which has been devoted to making website improvements, developing a regular newsletter for the site, providing written explanations to outstanding questions, and helping synthesize and organize meetings involving various partners and stakeholders.   

At the same time, I also directed staff to distribute clear and updated messages about key meetings and cleanup topics. In June, I traveled to Butte with EPA senior managers for meetings with Butte Silver Bow, Atlantic Richfield, Montana DEQ and the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program. Following this meeting, EPA issued a press release and a comprehensive summary of the topics discussed to make sure key information from the meeting was shared widely. Also, last week, EPA’s site team issued a position paper on a topic that has been a particular source of confusion, the proposed reuse of onsite material at the BPSOU. We will be following up on the paper with a community meeting on August 30 to get feedback and share more information.  Each of these efforts reflect improved community engagement, and we will continue to develop and share this type of information as we move forward in developing remedial design and cleanup plans for specific areas of the site. 

EPA is invested in completing the tasks before us. The hard-earned and widely celebrated 2020 BPSOU Consent Decree establishes a science-based framework that is guiding remaining actions to protect public health and the environment, and the resources we are now devoting to community engagement will help us work within that framework to achieve our goals in a clear and transparent manner.  I look forward to the upcoming months as a time of progress as we look toward a healthy, vibrant post-Superfund future for the people of Butte.  

EPA Joins Minnesota Leaders to Highlight Climate Pollution Reduction Grants

EPA Air - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 19:00

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined Minnesota leaders at the Metropolitan Council’s Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant in Shakopee, Minnesota, to highlight how organizations in the state are using more than $4 million in federal Climate Pollution Reduction Grants to develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution.

“Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda, EPA is able to provide funding for large-scale greenhouse gas reduction to mitigate climate pollution at the source,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Our partners will use this funding to reduce harmful air pollution in our most vulnerable communities, while supporting our overall greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

The CPRG planning grants will support the creation of comprehensive, innovative strategies for reducing pollution, especially for low-income and disadvantaged communities. Grant recipients include Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Metropolitan Council, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association.

“Environmental conservation is a fundamental part of Minnesota’s heritage and we need to come together to combat climate pollution,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “These grants will help organizations across the state continue to preserve Minnesota’s natural beauty and protect our communities for generations to come.”

“Taking action on climate is a win-win situation: it presents enormous and exciting opportunities while helping to prevent an economic, environmental and public health disaster,” said Sen. Tina Smith. “I was thrilled to hear about the grants Minnesota recently received from the Climate Pollution Reduction program. This funding, which was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, will help Minnesota build on all the great work we’re doing to cut greenhouse emissions, reduce air pollution, lower energy bills, and build out a clean energy economy. I look forward to working with state and local leaders to make sure everyone in Minnesota, especially low-income and other overburdened communities, benefits from these investments.”

“The new Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program, created when Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, helps states, local governments, and tribes reduce emissions and air pollution,” said Rep. Betty McCollum. “These investments help protect clean air for our families and give communities flexibility to tackle their most pressing needs. It takes all of us to fight climate change, and I’m proud to help bring these strategic investments to Minnesota.”

“In Minnesota, we're taking bold steps to address the climate crisis. The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants represent a milestone in our ongoing efforts to create a greener future,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar.  “These grants, funded through the Inflation Reduction Act, will make a tangible impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the overall quality of our environment through decarbonization. As the world faces the undeniable challenges posed by climate change, the collective efforts of Minnesotan organizations, fueled by this grant, serve as a beacon of progress.”

“Our tribe is committed to being a good steward of the Earth, and we hope to build on this work as we look to a carbon-neutral future,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Keith Anderson. “Climate action plans are an important step in this process. We are honored to receive this support as we plan for future generations.”

“The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program will empower cities, towns, tribal nations, low-income communities, and communities of color to chart their own course for a healthier future,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “These partnerships, with support from the EPA, present an exciting opportunity for Minnesota to accomplish our climate goals and achieve the vision of Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework.”

"We at the Met Council are very grateful to the EPA for the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “These flexible planning resources will increase our capacity to collaborate with partners. Together we can drive transformative, scalable decarbonization efforts, especially for the benefit of low-income and underserved communities. Our local government partners are already doing great climate work, and this will allow us to further identify strategies to impact our region sooner.”

MTERA is leveraging its collective strength to coordinate the CPRG planning deliverables for eight of our 21 Member Tribes. This is a great example of how intertribal collaboration can benefit Tribes in the Midwest,” said Charlie Lippert, Treasurer of the Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association.

Speaking as Air Quality Specialist for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Charlie Lippert added, “Mille Lacs is excited to begin our climate pollutant reduction planning activities with our two-pronged approach: as a lead agency on our Tribal lands, and as a partner agency to state and regional agencies for all other Band-owned properties.”

Through the CPRG program, EPA will support the development and deployment of technologies and solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution, as well as transition America to a clean energy economy that benefits all Americans. The program provides support to states, local governments, and tribes regardless of where they are in their climate planning and implementation process. Planning funds can be used to update existing climate, energy, or sustainability plans, or to develop new plans.

More information on the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants 

EPA to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Prospective Purchaser Agreement with Flint Commerce Center, LLC, for Redeveloping the Former Buick City Site in Flint, Michigan

EPA Air - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 19:00

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting in Flint, Michigan, next week to explain the Prospective Purchaser Agreement, or PPA, that was negotiated with Flint Commerce Center, LLC, to community members.

Flint Commerce Center, LLC, plans to redevelop roughly 330 acres of the former Buick City manufacturing facility, located at 902 E. Leith St. in Flint, Michigan, consistent with the PPA with EPA. The agreement clarifies Flint Commerce Center, LLC’s environmental liabilities and obligations in regard to the proposed construction of buildings suitable for warehousing, distribution, and light manufacturing.

EPA will give a presentation on the PPA followed by an open question-and-answer session with members of the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, or EGLE, in addition to representatives from Flint Commerce Center, LLC, and RACER Trust. An additional public comment period has been opened through September 13, and written comments will be accepted at the meeting.

When:            August 29

Where:           Hasselbring Senior Center
                         1002 W. Home Ave.
                         Flint, Mich.

Time:              5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


A copy of the Prospective Purchaser Agreement is available to review here.

EPA Seeks Nominations for Public Participation in Red Hill Community Representation Initiative

EPA Air - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 19:00

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with the Department of the Navy and Defense Logistics Agency, is seeking individuals to submit self-nominations to represent their community as part of the Red Hill Community Representation Initiative (CRI). The nomination period begins Wednesday, August 23, 2023, and closes Wednesday, September 6. Members of the public who are selected to participate will meet monthly with government agencies to provide input into and exchange information on defueling, closure, and drinking water protection at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

The 10 CRI members and alternates will be selected at a hybrid (in-person and virtual) meeting on September 16. Once the CRI is formed, members will create internal ground rules and hold their first meeting with EPA and Navy representatives in late September/early October.

As the aim of the Community Representation Initiative is to bring a diverse set of voices to the table, nominations from a broad range of community groups are encouraged. The CRI should represent, among others, military and civilian-affected communities, residents living in or displaced from impacted areas, Oʻahu residents, neighborhood board members, business leaders, educators, individuals with a historical perspective, and all generations, including kūpuna and youth. Seats on the CRI are open for affected residents (2 seats), Oʻahu residents (4 seats), Community-Based Organizations/Activists (2 seats), and those representing Native Hawaiian interests (2 seats).

Interested parties may nominate themselves by submitting their name, email, phone number, chosen affiliation, and bio on EPA's Red Hill Community Representation Initiative webpage.

For questions about the CRI formation process, please contact the Red Hill Environmental Justice Coordinator, Dominique Smith at (808) 541-2724 or RedHill@epa.gov.

For more information, please see EPA's Community Representation Initiative Summary of Scoping Process Fact Sheet.

Read the Final 2023 Consent Order and Statement of Work on EPA’s website.

Read about EPA’s work at Hawai'i's Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

Learn more about EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on X.

Atlantic Richfield Company Agrees to $2.2 Million Cleanup at ACM Smelter and Refinery Superfund Site in Montana 

EPA Air - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 19:00

Great Falls, Mont. — The Atlantic Richfield Company and ARCO Environmental Remediation, L.L.C. (collectively, Atlantic Richfield) have agreed to the cleanup of community soils—including both residential and non-residential yards and soil affected by the refinery’s operations—at the ACM Smelter and Refinery Superfund Site (Site) in Black Eagle, Montana, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Under the proposed consent decree, Atlantic Richfield is required to pay for past response costs and implement a multi-million-dollar cleanup for community soils at the Site.  

“This proposed consent decree between EPA and the Atlantic Richfield Company represents a new chapter in the effort to protect human health and the environment in the community of Black Eagle,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I applaud those who worked diligently to obtain this agreement, which will address decades of soil contamination and provide a safer, more healthful environment for generations to come.” 

The former smelting and refining facility, referred to as the Great Falls Refinery, operated for nearly 80 years near the unincorporated community of Black Eagle. The smelter and refinery’s operations produced large quantities of slag, tailings, flue dust and other smelter and refinery wastes containing lead, arsenic and other metals that contaminated soil, groundwater and surface water resources at the Site. EPA placed the Site on the Superfund National Priority List in March 2011. 

The proposed consent decree requires Atlantic Richfield to implement remedial design and remedial action in the community soils portion of one of the Site’s three operable units, OU1, at an estimated cost of $2,286,000 and pay $464,475.12 for past response costs incurred by EPA through September 30, 2022.  

“I am pleased that the EPA and the Atlantic Richfield Company have reached this agreement to clean up contamination from the decades-long operation of the former smelter and refinery in Black Eagle,” said U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich for the District of Montana. “I am hopeful that this consent decree will restore the natural resources and lead to a healthier and safer environment for the people of Great Falls.”  

"This is an exciting milestone for the cleanup in Black Eagle," said Amy Steinmetz, waste management and remediation division administrator for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). "MDEQ looks forward to working with the EPA and Atlantic Richfield, on behalf of Montanans, as the cleanup in Black Eagle and at the former smelter and refinery site move forward." 

The consent decree filed today in U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Montana, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department’s website.  

Under Montana state law, the Department of Environmental Quality is separately required to put the proposed consent decree out for public comment, which will be available on DEQ’s website. The state’s public comment period will run concurrently with the federal public comment period.  

Information about operable units, past time-critical cleanup efforts, and the Site’s history is available on the EPA Superfund site page.

EPA and Hershey together commit $2 Million to Land O’Lakes Member Dairy Farms in PA

EPA Air - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON BORO, PA - August 22, 2023 - The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Hershey Company (Hershey) announced today the joint commitment of $2 million to support local dairy farmers. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance), in collaboration with Land O’Lakes, Inc., will use funds to promote the adoption of practices that support local and regional environmental goals with dairy farmers in Land O’Lakes’ eastern region milk shed. 

The Alliance, Hershey, and Land O’Lakes have been working together since 2021 on an initiative called “Sustainable Dairy PA.” The initiative takes a collaborative, industry-led, and public sector-supported approach to accelerate on-farm conservation efforts for local eastern region dairy farmers.

The $2 million in funding is part of a commitment between the EPA and Hershey. These funds, $1 million of which will be funded by the EPA and a matching $1 million of which will be committed from Hershey, will be used to support the Alliance and Land O’Lakes in implementing agricultural conservation practices on Land O’Lakes member dairy farms. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will administer the portion of the funds provided from EPA to the Alliance.

“Dairy farmers are critical to our supply chain and our local communities,” said Leigh Horner, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Hershey Company. “We are proud to support the work of Sustainable Dairy PA and the farmers participating as they drive meaningful impact on clean water and conservation efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay.”

As a key partner and funder in this work, EPA understands the need to support corporate initiatives like these. The Alliance has been developing agriculture supply chain programs since 2018, leveraging approximately $16M in public and private funding to assist over 150 farmers. Dairy farming is an essential component of the economy and a source of wholesome local food. Supporting farmers with funding and expertise to help them improve water quality and reduce the environmental impacts of dairy farms is essential. These practices also help improve the long-term sustainability of the farms with the goal of improving soil health and the overall efficiency of the operations.

"EPA's funding commitment to Hershey, Land O'Lakes, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay brings $2 million of much-needed support to Pennsylvania dairy farmers to scale up conservation practices that are good for our farms, climate, local streams, and the Bay." said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. "With this funding, we are not only investing in the current environment, but into the long-term viability of Pennsylvania farmers - our frontline environmentalists."

Thanks to prior funding provided by EPA, NFWF, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Alliance has created a model that local companies are now adopting in an effort to increase sustainability in their dairy supply chain and help bring cleaner water back to their communities.

“American farmers continually rise to the challenge of feeding a growing global population in an increasingly sustainable and efficient manner,” said Tim Leviny, Land O’Lakes Senior Vice President of Global Dairy Ingredients & International. “Collaborative initiatives like Sustainable Dairy PA provide the necessary incentives to drive voluntary practice changes that not only help contribute to the health of the planet, but also help better position farmers for success in a challenging operating environment.”

As a cooperative, and largely enabled by their ag sustainability businesses Truterra, Land O’Lakes has taken a leadership position in on-farm sustainability by helping customers achieve their environmental goals, while keeping farmer profitability at the forefront. The collaboration at the heart of this work brings significant funding, technical support, and incentives to help farmers prioritize conservation while navigating difficult dairy market conditions.

 “Hershey’s, EPA’s, and Land O’Lakes’ leadership to support our Pennsylvania dairy farmers and local ecosystems is revolutionary.” said Jenna Mitchell Beckett, Agriculture Program Director at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “This effort is helping to create a paradigm shift in which an entire supply chain works together to support work on the ground rather than farmers being expected to carry the load alone. We believe this model is the future of how we will overcome the environmental hurdles we face.

EPA announces agreement with prospective purchaser of the former plant at the Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Superfund Site in Pascagoula, Mississippi

EPA Air - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 19:00

Pascagoula, Miss. (August 22, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are proposing to enter into a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Agreement (Agreement) with Seven Seas Terminals, LLC (Seven Seas) associated with the purchase of the former plant portion of the Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) Superfund Site (Site), located at 601 Industrial Road in Pascagoula, Miss. The agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period ending on September 20, 2023.

Seven Seas plans to purchase and redevelop the former MPC manufacturing plant area as a dry bulk storage and tank terminal operation. The demolition and construction work will require several years and is anticipated to create 25-30 jobs when complete. Under the agreement with EPA, DOJ and MDEQ, Seven Seas will conduct a Removal Action under EPA oversight that includes:

  • Demolition of the sulfuric acid plants;
  • Demolition and/or re-use of the phosphoric acid plant, diammonium phosphate (DAP) plant and two bulk storage warehouses;
  • Installation of an impermeable cap as a containment control for the area proposed as a tank terminal operation;
  • Sampling of soils under demolished structures and slabs;
  • Removal, treatment or containment of contaminated soils outside of the capped area; and        
  • Payment of EPA’s oversight costs.

Seven Seas will also allow the EPA continuing access to the water treatment plant, laboratory, shops and other buildings/equipment at the plant to support EPA response actions on other portions of the Site. The agreement will provide Seven Seas with legal protections against Superfund liability for legacy contamination at the Site.

MPC manufactured DAP fertilizers at its Pascagoula facility from the late 1950s until it filed for bankruptcy in October 2014. As a result of former phosphate ore processing operations, including phosphoric and sulfuric acid plants, the soil at the Site is contaminated, primarily by heavy metals, radium-226 and low pH. Groundwater beneath the former plant contains elevated metals concentrations and low pH, generally located in the central portion of the property. The EPA placed the Site on the Superfund National Priorities List in January 2018 and is overseeing the ongoing cleanup of the Site. 

The federal register notice and instructions for submitting public comments are posted at: www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/08/21/2023-17943/mississippi-phosphates-corp-superfund-site-pascagoula-mississippi-notice-of-proposed-settlement

More information about the MPC Superfund Site: www.epa.gov/superfund/ms-phosphates-corp


EPA deletes portion of Eagle Mine Superfund site in Colorado from National Priorities List

EPA Air - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 19:00

Minturn, Colo. (August 21, 2023) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the deletion of a portion of the Eagle Mine Superfund site in Minturn, Colorado, from the National Priorities List (NPL), benefitting the environment, nearby communities and the people of Colorado. The deleted portion of the site consists of 5.31 acres of soils at what is known as Operable Unit 3 North Property Redevelopment: Trestle Area. 

“This partial deletion of the Eagle Mine Superfund site reflects the cooperation between EPA, Colorado, the community and private industry to secure the site and protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “EPA will conduct five-year reviews at the property to ensure the remedies in place remain protective.”

EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) have determined all appropriate response actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or the Superfund law, have been completed. Institutional controls to prevent activities that could lead to exposure to contamination will remain in place on the property. These site controls and use restrictions are in effect under the State Environmental Covenant Statute and will ensure the long-term protectiveness of cleanup and response actions.

Remaining portions of Operable Unit 3 are not currently eligible for deletion from the NPL. EPA and CDPHE will continue to monitor, evaluate and ensure the protectiveness of completed actions through operations and maintenance activities, including annual inspections and five-year reviews. 

For more information about the Eagle Mine Superfund site, visit the EPA Eagle Mine webpage and the Partial Deletion Justification. Additional information about EPA’s NPL deletions and information about these and other NPL sites are available online.

EPA deletes portion of Anaconda Superfund site in Montana from National Priorities List

EPA Air - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 19:00

Anaconda, Mont.– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced deletion of a portion of the Anaconda Co. Smelter site from Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL), benefitting the environment, the community of Anaconda and the people of Montana. This deletion includes operable unit (OU15) of the site. NPL site deletion helps communities move forward in reusing and redeveloping properties by making it clear that cleanup is complete.

“EPA has worked hard to ensure Anaconda and surrounding areas are safe for people, the environment and beneficial reuse,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “This deletion represents a major milestone in the transformation of the Superfund site. The agency will conduct five-year reviews of the property to ensure that completed cleanup and response actions remain protective.”

EPA and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) determined that no further response is necessary at OU15, which includes a total of 160 acres of surface and subsurface soils. This area includes the former Mill Creek subdivision and 70 acres formerly owned by the Anaconda Minerals Co. After completion of the permanent relocation of residents, most of this area was transferred by Atlantic Richfield to Anaconda Deer Lodge County for commercial and industrial use. All response activities at OU15 are complete, and the Operable Unit poses no unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. Therefore, the EPA and Montana DEQ have determined that no further response is necessary at OU15. 

EPA deletes sites from the NPL when no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment. This important milestone indicates that cleanup is complete and that sites are protective of human health and the environment. EPA and Montana DEQ will continue to monitor, evaluate and ensure the protectiveness of completed actions through operations and maintenance activities, including annual inspections and five-year reviews. 

More information on the Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund site is available on the EPA Anaconda Co. Smelter webpage. Additional information about EPA’s NPL deletions and information about these and other NPL sites are available online.


EPA Initiates New Review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards to Reflect the Latest Science

EPA Air - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 19:00

WASHINGTON - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new review of the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to ensure the standards reflect the most current, relevant science and protect people’s health from these harmful pollutants. EPA Administrator Michael Regan reached this decision after carefully considering advice provided by the independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In October 2021, EPA announced a reconsideration of the previous Administration’s decision to retain the NAAQS for ozone. EPA is incorporating the ongoing reconsideration into the review announced today and will consider the advice and recommendations of the CASAC in that review. The Agency will move swiftly to execute this new review of the underlying science and the standards – prioritizing transparency, scientific integrity, inclusive public engagement, and environmental justice.

“After carefully reviewing the advice of the independent scientific panel, I am convinced that a full and complete review of the ozone NAAQS is warranted to ensure a thorough and transparent assessment of the latest science,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.  “From the start, I committed that EPA will uphold the integrity of independent, robust processes to ensure that air quality standards reflect the latest science in order to best protect people from pollution. As we initiate a new review, EPA will continue to work closely with our partners at the state, tribal and local levels to fully implement the existing standards, consistent with our Clean Air Act obligations.”

Exposure to ground-level ozone can cause respiratory issues, aggravate asthma and other lung diseases, and may lead to missed days of work or school, emergency room visits, and premature deaths. These costly public health impacts can be especially harmful to children and older adults, disproportionately affecting people of color, families with low-incomes, and other vulnerable populations.

Nationally, due in part to strong EPA emission standards that reduce air pollution, ozone air quality is improving. Between 2010 and 2022, national average ozone air quality concentrations have dropped 7 percent. In many of the areas designated as not meeting the current 2015 standards, work remains. To continue progress in reducing ozone, EPA has initiated important regulatory actions including strong new federal emissions standards for cars and trucks and strengthening rules to reduce pollution from the oil and natural gas industry – a leading source of ozone forming volatile organic compounds.  Taken together, the projected benefits of these and other actions addressing industrial and power sector emissions, such as with the Good Neighbor Plan, would cut emissions of ozone precursors by hundreds of thousands of tons with estimated health benefits adding up to billions of dollars.

The new review will allow EPA to consider fully the information about the latest ozone science and potential implications for the ozone NAAQS provided by the CASAC and the Ozone Review Panel. EPA will conduct the review according to well-established best practices and processes that embrace scientific integrity and the role of the public to provide input at multiple steps along the way.

Concrete, transparent and public next steps include: 

  • Issuing a call for information in the Federal Register in the next few days;
  • convening a public science and policy workshop in spring 2024 to gather input from the scientific community and the public;
  • in summer 2024, EPA will summarize the proceedings of the workshop to consider how the information gathered can be used to inform the next review, including specific areas of science that warrant particular focus and analytic enhancements;
  • in fall 2024 the agency plans to release its Integrated Review Plan, Volume 2 to guide CASAC consideration and development of the Integrated Science Assessment. 

EPA established the current standards at a level of 70 parts per billion in 2015 and retained them in 2020, after concluding that there was little new information to suggest the need for revision. The CASAC, however, has identified studies published more recently and also recommended that EPA conduct additional risk analyses that might support more stringent standards. EPA has determined that incorporating the ongoing reconsideration into a new review will best ensure full consideration of this new information and advice.

More information about ground-level ozone and the most recent review of the ozone NAAQS

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