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EPA Proposes Federal Plan to Cut Pollution

Following clear Clean Air Act requirements and meeting a court deadline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a federal plan that would cut pollution from power plants and industrial sources that significantly contribute to unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone, or smog, for millions of Americans who live downwind. Relying on a longstanding regulatory framework and commonly used, affordable pollution controls, this action would help states fully resolve their Clean Air Act “good neighbor” obligations for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), enhancing public health and environmental protections regionally and for local communities.

Beginning in 2023, EPA is proposing to include electric generating units in 25 states in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) NOX Ozone Season Group 3 Trading Program, which would be revised and strengthened for the 2015 ozone NAAQS. And, beginning in 2026, EPA is proposing emissions standards for certain industrial sources in 23 states that have a significant impact on downwind air quality. EPA’s proposed limits on health-harming pollution from power plants and industrial sources reflect the installation and operation of proven, cost-effective emission controls, which in many cases have been implemented for years in numerous states.

This proposal implements the Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor” or “interstate transport” provision, which requires each state to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) that ensures sources within the state do not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in other states. Each state must make this new SIP submission within 3 years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS.

EPA is in the process of reviewing and acting on SIP submissions from the relevant states covered by this proposal.  EPA will take comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The Agency also will hold a virtual public hearing.

For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-proposes-good-neighbor-plan-cut-smog-across-much-united-states

 

New Toxics Release Inventory Data Show Decline in Releases of Certain Toxic Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that environmental releases of TRI chemicals by facilities covered by the program declined by 10% between 2019 and 2020. The 2020 TRI National Analysis summarizes TRI chemical waste management activities, including releases, that occurred during calendar year 2020. More than 21,000 facilities report annually on over 800 chemicals they release into the environment or otherwise manage as waste. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management.

For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/new-toxics-release-inventory-data-show-decline-releases-certain-toxic-chemicals

To view the 2020 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis

 

 

Additional REsources

Featured Article

Invasive Bamboo to Biochar: A carbon removal initiative in Puerto Rico

By Steve Sletten, Senior Consultant, Tetra Tech

In the southwest of Puerto Rico, in the small town of Hormigueros, a start-up called Bio-Restorative Ideas (www.bri.earth) plans to convert bamboo to biochar on the site of a former sugar cane factory.

Bio-Restorative Ideas (BRi) will initially transform about 7,000-10,000 metric tons of waste and invasive bamboo into 3,000-4,000 metric tons of high-quality biochar via Pyrolysis, while creating about 15-20 local jobs as production continues to ramp up. The resulting biochar will be used primarily to heal soils – improving water retention, drought resilience, and food production yields – and other applications are also under consideration.

When adequately grown and managed, this grass can produce beautiful landscapes, inviting shadows, and has the potential to assist communities as a building material and many other uses. Conversely, unmanaged bamboo growing wildly along the riparian buffer zones generates several problems in Puerto Rican society:

  • Flooding – Unmanaged clumps of bamboo results in large amounts of dead biomass accumulating in small rivers and creeks, and most frequently creating barriers under small bridges, generating constant flooding situations on roads and in nearby communities.
  • Roads and Power Lines – Its rapid-growing nature creates challenges on roads, invading transit lanes and creating havoc in power grid lines.
  • Landfills – There are approximately 29 operating landfills in Puerto Rico, the majority of which are beyond capacity. Most of the efforts to cut down fast-growing problematic bamboo end up either burning the biomass or accumulating it in landfills.

Biochar is charcoal-looking material made from biomass. In soil, biochar increases nutrient retention, supports microbial functions, and enhances water availability. Biochar is found in soils around the world because of both natural vegetation fires and historic soil management practices like those of the indigenous Amazonians who created the black soils known as Terra Preta. Modern biochar production promises additional benefits in the form of increased carbon sequestration and co-production of renewable energy. Energy can be captured in the form of oil and/or gas released by the biochar production process.

The carbon in biochar resists degradation and remains in soils for hundreds to thousands of years. Because this carbon came from biomass that would otherwise have decomposed into greenhouse gasses within a few years, biochar is a carbon sequestration method with many side benefits. Added to soils, compost piles, and other wastes, biochar can also reduce emissions of nitrous oxide and methane, two potent greenhouse gasses.

Check out this video produced by Nasdaq/Puro.Earth featuring the carbon removal attributes of biochar and the project in Puerto Rico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhIjd7UTbiw

Contact Information

Steve Sletten, steve.sletten@tetratech.com

Jacek Chmielewski, jacek.chmielewski@bri.earth

 

 

Job Postings

Environmental Specialist

  

Environmental Specialist: U.S. Venture is seeking an Environmental Specialist that can be based out of the Appleton or Madison area.  Please reach out to Nicole Carter with any questions at ncarter@usventure.com or (920) 840-8305.  Applications may be submitted to https://careers.usventure.com/us/en/job/REQ-009752/Environmental-Specialist

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Develop, measure and evaluate environmental compliance programs, especially an Environmental Management System or Environmental Information Management System
  • Conduct training of company associates to ensure they understand their role and duties in environmental programs
  • Conduct or arrange environmental audits of corporate assets and contracted waste handlers. Communicate deficiencies and develop recommendations for deficiencies
  • File all environmental reports such as SARA 311, 312 and 313, Hazardous Waste Activity and NPDES Reports accurately and by established deadlines
  • Coordinate remediation of company owned properties
  • Conduct or arrange property acquisition audits and develop recommendations based on findings
  • Act as corporate contact in response to inquiries from regulatory agencies, lawmakers, professional groups, news agencies, planning committees and the general public in a fashion consistent with company policies and philosophies
  • Obtain permits, licenses, appraisals and exemptions as required to comply with regulations
  • Monitor environmental laws, regulations and technologies and keep the Company abreast of changes
  • Assist with developing and maintaining emergency response plans such as SPCC, Facility Response under OPA-90, and Hazardous Waste Contingency Plans
  • Arrange for contract services such as hazardous waste disposal, emissions monitoring and testing, system design and engineering
  • Create and maintain environmental records according to retention policies

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Life Sciences or related field
  • 1-5 years experience in an environmental field, regulatory agency or combination
  • Must be willing to travel up to 50% of the time
  • Knowledgeable about the creation and maintenance of environmental management systems preferred
  • Knowledge of petroleum marketing operations a plus
  • Knowledgeable in environmental regulations (air, water, waste, EPCRA), pollution control and remediation technology, environmental auditing
  • Good functionality with PC programs including spreadsheets and database management
  • Good communication and public relations skills are required

The link to apply is https://careers.usventure.com/us/en/job/REQ-009752/Environmental-Specialist

U.S. Venture, Inc. maintains a drug-free workforce, including pre- and post-employment substance abuse testing pursuant to a Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Our company is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to inclusion and diversity. We take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or other protected characteristic. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may call Human Resources at (920) 739-6101.

Jobs Available ads are placed in the FET monthly newsletter EnviroNotes, and online for two consecutive months at a cost of $400 per ad ($300 for FET  patron member companies).

Jobs Desired ads are free of charge for anyone who is searching for a position in the environmental field.  

Additional questions can be directed to FET at juliejansett@fetinc.org

Copy submitted for the ads are subject to editing in accordance with technical and policy guidelines and space requirements.