EPA issues new regulation for stormwater permitting

US EPA regulations have required that operators of construction activity that involves more than one acre must control stormwater leaving the construction site through use of a Construction General Permit (CGP) and a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).  On January 11, 2017 EPA issued the new 2017 CGP regulation which still require compliance with effluent limits and other historical permit requirements, including the development and maintenance of a SWPPP, but an updated set of requirements for stormwater runoff at construction sites took effect on February 26, 2017.  Additional information is available at https://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater-discharges-construction-activities#cgp.

Senate confirms Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

On Friday February 17, 2017, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt, an American lawyer and Republican politician from the state of Oklahoma , as the 14th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In response to the nomination, Pruitt said, “I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

Most Democrats and environmental groups are fiercely opposed to Mr. Pruitt, who has often sued the EPA as Oklahoma’s attorney general to block clean air and water regulations from being enforced. They also have questioned his close ties to the fossil fuel industry, which has donated to Mr. Pruitt’s various political action committees.

Republican leaders have cheered Pruitt as someone who can strike a balance between protecting the environment and ensuring that economic growth isn’t slowed by onerous regulations.

Edward Scott Pruitt was born in Danville, KY in 1968 and grew up in Lexington. He attended Georgetown College (KY) and graduated in 1990 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications. Mr. Pruitt then moved to Tulsa where he attended the University of Tulsa (OK) to earn a Juris Doctor in 1993.  Mr. Pruitt entered into private practice in Tulsa where he specialized in constitutional law, contracts, insurance law, labor law, and litigation and appeals.  He entered in politics in 1998, representing Tulsa and Wagoner Counties in the Oklahoma Senate from 1998 until 2006 and serving as Attorney General of Oklahoma from 2010 to date.

References:
– http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/17/scott-pruitt-epa-confirmation-vote-senate/98039318/
– http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/2016/12/07/donald-trump-scott-pruitt-environmental-protection-agency/95104512/
– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Pruitt

Environmental Legislation, Immediate Affect of New Administration

EPA has identified 30 regulations that will be “frozen” until March 21, 2017, as directed by President Trump’s executive order issued last Friday.  The notice is expected to be published in the Federal Register today.  Most of the legislation delayed are air regulations but there are a few in the waste realm.  A link to the FR notice is below

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-01822.pdf

Spokane Stage 1 Burn Ban Lifted Effective Immediately

Effective Immediately: The restriction on the use of uncertified wood heating devices is now lifted, due to improved weather conditions allowing for greater dispersion of air pollutants. The ban on outdoor burning is also lifted. 

Although the burn ban has been lifted, there are program requirements that must be followed at all times:

New EPA Hazardous Waste Rule – Marking, VSQGs and More

The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (Rule), finalized on November 28, 2016, will require hazardous waste large quantity generators (LQGs) and small quantity generators (SQGs) to make many changes as to how they manage their hazardous waste.

Pretransport Marking – The Rule requires generators to mark the applicable U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hazardous waste numbers (i.e., EPA hazardous waste codes) on each container before transporting them off-site.

Satellite Accumulation Area Containers Marking – A container holding hazardous waste in a satellite accumulation area must be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste,” and an indication of the hazards of the contents (e.g. DOT labels or placards, an OSHA hazard statement or pictogram, or an NFPA 704 diamond).

VSQGs – Under the new rule, industrial entities previously called conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQCs), are now termed very small quantity generators (VSQGs). This change reflects the actual regulatory language since the other two generator categories—small quantity generators (SQGs) and large quantity generators (LQGs)—are also conditionally exempt from some requirements. VSQGs are potentially affected by only two of the new provisions: (1) VSQGs may send hazardous waste to LQGs under the control of the same person; and (2) QGs may also maintain their existing regulatory status if they have an episodic event that generates additional amounts of hazardous waste that would have resulted in them moving into a higher generator category for a short period of time.

Miscellaneous Other Provisions – Other revisions and new provisions in the rule affect disposal of liquid hazardous waste in a landfill, clarify generator waste counting, clarification of what is acceptable knowledge for hazardous waste determinations, requirement that SQCs notify EPA every 4 years of generator status, and the LQCs attempt to make arrangements with the local police department, fire department, and other emergency response teams; emergency response contractors; equipment suppliers; and local hospitals.

The federal Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule becomes effective May 30, 2017.

Spokane Stage 1 Burn Ban Effective TODAY at 3 p.m.

A ban on the use of uncertified stoves, inserts and fireplaces begins at 3 p.m. today, January 11, 2017, in the Spokane County Smoke Control Zone until further notice. 

Spokane Clean Air is issuing the Stage 1 / “Yellow” burn ban because weather conditions are contributing to a build-up of wood smoke.  Under a Stage 1 “yellow” burn restriction:  

  • The use of uncertified wood stoves, fireplaces, inserts and other uncertified wood-burning devices is prohibited in the Smoke Control Zone, unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat.
  • The use of EPA-certified wood stoves, pellet stoves and other certified wood-burning devices is allowed.
  • All outdoor burning is banned throughout Spokane County.  

This temporary restriction is due to increasing levels of smoke and stagnant weather conditions expected over the next several days. 

*If you don’t have an adequate source of heat, contact Spokane Clean Air for an exemption.  Click here for details.

Spokane: Stage 1 Burn Ban effective 3PM 12/16/2016

A ban on outdoor burning and the use of uncertified stoves, inserts and fireplaces begins at 3 p.m. today (December 16, 2016) in the Spokane County Smoke Control Zone until further notice.

Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency is calling the Stage 1, condition “Yellow” temporary burn ban due to increasing levels of smoke and stagnant weather conditions expected over the next couple of days

Under a Stage 1 “yellow” burn restriction:

  • The use of uncertified wood stoves, fireplaces, inserts and other uncertified wood-burning devices is prohibited
    unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat.
  • Certified wood stoves, pellet stoves and other certified wood-burning devices are allowed.
  • All outdoor burning is banned in Spokane County.

If you don’t have an adequate source of heat, contact Spokane Clean Air for an exemption. Click here for details.

Managing Seasonal Stress

Along with the holidays can come unwelcome guests — stress and depression. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic (plus some) for dealing with the stress so that you can face the upcoming holidays with more “Ho Ho Ho!” than “Oh No!”

Be Realistic

The holidays do not have to be perfect or the same as last year. Families grow and change. Be open to creating new traditions.

Set Aside Differences

Try to accept family and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to your expectations. Be understanding if others get upset when something goes awry

See Mayo Clinic Tips for Holiday for the remaining 9 tips.

Ecology Offers Grants to Upgrade Oil Spill Response Equipment

In an effort to help emergency responders buy oil spill response equipment, the Washington Department of Ecology is offering $777,000 in grants to public agencies and tribal governments starting Oct. 1. The grant program will help first responders purchase oil spill, hazardous materials response, and firefighting equipment they could not otherwise afford. To apply for a grant, attend a workshop, or learn more about the program, visit the website at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/OilMovement/EquipCacheGrant.html.

Spokane: Burn ban lifted within city limits

The city of Spokane Fire Department said it has lifted a burn-ban restriction within the city limits that had been put in place on July 29. Burning still might be restricted temporarily at times by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency due to increased fine particle levels and air stagnation.