Category Archives: USEPA

UST regulation history

Do you remember where you were 30 years ago this month when you received word that President Reagan signed amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)? Robert from PEI recaps UST regulation history:

Subtitle I of those amendments specifically provided for regulation of underground storage tank (UST) systems. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) was created the following year (1985) to carry out the Congressional mandate to develop and implement a new regulatory program for USTs. It resulted in the most comprehensive regulatory program PEI members have ever participated in.

Leaking tanks became a problem before 1984. PEI predicted in 1975 that state and federal controls related to tank and piping leaks would proliferate. At about the same time, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API’s) Operations and Engineering Committee recognized that UST leaks presented a growing industry problem and formed a task force to recommend procedures for detecting and dealing with them. By 1981, less than 10 percent of all USTs in the ground were protected from corrosion.

Emphasis shifted in the early 1980s from tank regulations for safety reasons (i.e., fire codes) to regulations for protecting the environment and public health. Pressure to deal with the impact of leaking USTs on groundwater mounted when 60 Minutes aired a disturbing segment on leaking underground service station tanks. Shortly after that, Congress stepped in with the 1984 Subtitle I RCRA amendments.

There were over two million USTs in 1984. Many of them were bare steel that were corroding and leaking fuel into the ground. When President Reagan signed the law, more than 85 percent of the USTs were still made of unprotected steel. By 1988, somewhere from 10 to 48 percent of existing tanks failed a tank tightness test, depending on which study you believed. And when you consider that from 8 to 20 percent of all USTs had releases, UST regulators back then had their hands full.

The U.S. EPA’s UST program has made significant contributions to the environment during the last 30 years. The program’s accomplishments are real, and there is much that regulators and the regulated community can point to with pride.

Part of the reason this governmental program works so well after three decades is because Ron Brand and other founders of the UST program involved everyone in the process of protecting our environment from UST releases. States, territories, tribes, industry, owners/operators, service providers, equipment manufacturers and trade associations were called partners. PEI and its members were treated that way back then and continue to feel that way today. This is a unique program with unique relationships that has produced quantifiable results.

I think successful managers and leaders should continuously focus on what can be, rather than what is. And I also believe that the best leaders are always focused on improving. From the equipment and contractor side of this unique partnership—and in that spirit—this is what I see still needs to be addressed to make a great UST program even greater:

  • Let’s figure out what is causing the metal components of our UST systems to corrode in the presence of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel.
  • Let’s get that last 25 percent of underground tank systems in the U.S. into compliance with release prevention and leak detection requirements. That will reduce the number of newly confirmed releases.
  • Let’s work together to determine why equipment is deteriorating in sumps containing ethanol and/or ethanol vapors.
  • Let’s find ways to clean up the releases in the backlog before state cleanup funds sunset or are diverted.
  • And let’s kick off an inspection and testing program that will identify equipment that no longer works as it was supposed to work.

Here’s to another 30 years. Let’s continue the good work.

TAIT is a longstanding member of PEI. Learn more about the Petroleum Equipment Institute and all they do by visiting their website http://www.pei.org/.

EPA Logo Seal

EPA Pushes Back Final Regulation on USTs to Fall 2014

Looking for updates on the EPA UST Regulations?

We expect to hear more later this year. Here is an article that explains more. Copied from: http://pcmala.org/2014/04/epa-pushes-back-final-regulation-on-usts-to-fall-2014/ TAIT’s 50 year experience with USTs and all fuel system related regulations and work can help answer many questions for you. Reach out to us for additional information.

EPA Logo Seal

EPA Pushes Back Final Regulation on USTs to Fall 2014

By Anthony AdragnaBloomberg ReportApril 17 (BNA) — The Environmental Protection Agency now expects to finalize regulations in fall 2014 expanding monitoring and inspection requirements for certain underground storage tanks, and will take into account comments on the potential impacts on small businesses as it finalizes the rule, the agency has told Bloomberg BNA.

“We consciously developed our 2011 proposed underground storage tank (UST) regulation to avoid provisions that would require costly retrofits to UST systems,” the agency said April 16. “We are carefully considering all of the comments as we develop the final UST regulation.”

Industry groups and members of Congress have consistently and repeatedly criticized the proposed regulation as underestimating the compliance costs and impacts it would have on small businesses (74 DER A-21, 4/18/12).

EPA proposed revisions to underground storage tank requirements in November 2011 and previously said it expected to finalize the regulations in summer 2014. The proposed rule would apply to tanks holding petroleum or hazardous chemicals that are regulated under Subtitle I of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Tanks regulated under Subtitle C of RCRA would not be affected.

According to the agency, there are more than 590,000 underground storage tanks around the country at 210,000 sites. Compliance costs for the proposed rule were $210 million, according to the regulatory impact analysis, but it said the regulation would lead to $300 million to $740 million in annual avoided remediation costs.

The 2011 proposed rule (76 Fed. Reg. 71,708) would create rules for backup containment of the substances in tanks and extend training requirements to more tank operators and owners. EPA says the proposed rule would enable better prevention and detection of leaks in storage tanks, which can cause groundwater contamination.

If finalized, the rule would be the first major revision to federal underground storage tank regulations since 1988.

Longstanding Concerns About Cost

Despite EPA assurances that it had taken into account the impact the proposed rule would have on small businesses, both industry groups and Congress have adamantly disagreed.

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America says EPA’s estimate of $900 in average annual compliance costs per facility is drastically wrong. The group estimates annual compliance costs would actually be $6,100.

Bipartisan groups of 11 senators and 58 House members sent separate letters in July 2013 raising concerns about the cost of the proposed regulation (144 DER A-31, 7/26/13).

“We are concerned that the Agency’s estimated annualized compliance costs of $900 may be significantly underestimated,” the Senate letter said.

TAIT Civil Engineering

EPA Releases Top 25 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings

TAIT has a presence in or near many of the cities listed below. If you have questions about civil engineering and architecture, contact us today to learn more about TAIT’s services and ensuring your buildings and projects exceed expectations!

TAIT Civil Engineering
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014

EPA Releases Top 25 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings

Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York, San Francisco make top five, cutting energy costs while increasing efficiency, protecting health, reducing pollution

WASHINGTON
– Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the sixth annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star certified buildings. The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings.

The Top 10 cities on the list are: Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New York; San Francisco; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Philadelphia; and Houston.

“Not only are the Energy Star top 25 cities saving money on energy costs and increasing energy efficiency, but they are promoting public health by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Every city has an important role to play in reducing emissions and carbon pollution, and increasing energy efficiency to combat the impacts of our changing climate.”

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Energy Star certified office buildings cost $0.50 less per square foot to operate than average office buildings, and use nearly two times less energy per square foot than average office buildings.

The data also show that more than 23,000 buildings across America earned EPA’s Energy Star certification by the end of 2013. These buildings saved more than $3.1 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use from 2.2 million homes.

First released in 2008, the list of cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings continues to demonstrate how cities across America, with help from Energy Star, are embracing energy efficiency as a simple and effective way to save money and prevent pollution. Los Angeles has remained the top city since 2008 while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year. Atlanta moved up from the number five to number three. For the first time, Philadelphia entered the top 10, ranking ninth.

Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Many types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, hotels, and retail stores.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved an estimated $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 38 million homes. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the Energy Star label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants have earned the Energy Star label.

The 2014 Energy Star Top Cities are:

1. Los Angeles
2. Washington, DC
3. Atlanta
4. New York
5. San Francisco
6. Chicago
7. Dallas-Fort Worth
8. Denver
9. Philadelphia
10. Houston
11. Charlotte
12. Phoenix
13. Boston
14. Seattle
15. San Diego
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul
17. Sacramento
18. Miami
19. Cincinnati
20. San Jose
21. Columbus, Ohio
22. Riverside, Calif.
23. Detroit
24. Portland, Ore.
25. Louisville

More on the 2013 top cities: www.energystar.gov/topcities

More on Energy Star certified buildings:
www.energystar.gov/buildinglist

More about earning the Energy Star label for commercial buildings:
www.energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

EPA Logo Seal

EPA Strategic Plan Charts Direction for Next Four Years

One thing that stood out to me in their five strategic initiatives was Protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance. This brings the upcoming underground storage tank regulations to mind. Though in the news and discussions throughout the industry for the past year and a half, the “rest of the country” (outside of CA) is just now beginning to see the effects of local regulators enforcing the Energy Act of 2005.

TAIT’s long history of experience with the stricter regulations in California is one reason we are the trusted advisor to many national clients. More than a knowledge base, TAIT has “boots on the ground” in the form of technicians that perform routine inspections, maintenance, testing and repairs. Our design and construction of new fuel systems begins the process, and we serve until the end, removing, closing permanently in place and remediating fuel system sites. Contact us to learn more about how we can help to educate and assist you in transitioning to be in compliance to avoid NOVs and fees.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014

EPA Strategic Plan Charts Direction for Next Four Years

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2014 to 2018 Strategic Plan today, which provides a blueprint for advancing EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment across the country.

The plan envisions a new era of partnerships with state and local governments, tribes, federal agencies, businesses, and industry leaders to achieve environmental benefits in a pragmatic, collaborative way.

“EPA will address the increasingly complex array of environmental challenges we face by advancing a rigorous research and development agenda that informs and supports our policy and decision making with timely and innovative technology and sustainable solutions,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are heeding President Obama’s call for action on climate change, the biggest challenge for our generation and those to come by building strong partnerships at home and around the world. We are working to mitigate this threat by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse-gas emissions and by focusing on efficiency improvements in homes, buildings and appliances.”

The five strategic goals in EPA’s plan include:

• Addressing climate change and improving air quality;
• Protecting America’s waters;
• Cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development;
• Ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and
• Protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.

The agency will continue to deliver significant health benefits to the American public through improved air quality and reduced emissions of toxic pollutants, and will take action to keep communities safe and healthy by reducing risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in commerce, our indoor and outdoor environments, products, and food.

The agency will also continue efforts to improve water quality, given the nation’s significant water infrastructure needs, focusing on common sense, flexible approaches that rely on sustainable solutions, such as green infrastructure, and build resiliency to help us adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

The plan prioritizes environmental justice, continuing to focus on urban, rural, and economically disadvantaged communities, to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, race, economic status, or ethnicity, has access to clean water, clean air, and the opportunity to live, work and play in healthy communities.

To achieve the outcomes articulated in the FY 2014-2018 Plan, the agency outlined four cross-agency strategies:

• Working toward a sustainable future;
• Working to make a visible difference in communities;
• Launching a new era of state, tribal, local, and international partnerships; and
• Embracing EPA as a high-performing organization.

The EPA developed the FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010. Reflecting the agency’s interest in reaching out to stakeholders and communities, the EPA requested input on a draft plan last winter from over 800 organizations and individuals and issued a Federal Register Notice to solicit broad public feedback. As appropriate, the EPA incorporated suggestions and comments received in the final Plan.

More information on the Strategic Plan is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/planandbudget/strategicplan

EPA Proposed FY 2015 Budget

The EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy discussed the requested budget for 2015. Below are her remarks, and I bolded many statements regarding what money would be spent on, and what budgets were being cut. There is a very large focus on climate change – climate change and air quality $1.03 billion. Clean water and drinking water – $1.775 billion to lead to the design, construction, and support of sustainable water infrastructure. $1.33 billion to continue to apply the most effective response approaches for cleanups under RCRA, Superfund, Leaking Underground Storage Tank, etc. I also thought this was very interesting, it sounds like the EPA is investing $56 billion in security technology and BI (business intelligence)

“56 billion opportunity, growth, and security initiative. This initiative—split evenly between defense and non-defense funding—shows how additional discretionary investments in FY 2015 can spur economic progress, promote opportunity, and strengthen national security.”

 

 

 

“One important area of emphasis isimproving freedom of information act (FOIA) and records management.”

The most critical issues facing the Agency were identified as, “advance chemical prioritization and predictive toxicology, help communities make sustainable decisions regarding environmental protection and resilience, and inform regional and community level strategies for the use of green infrastructure and other innovative alternative practices.”

—————————————————————————————–

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2014

Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Proposed FY 2015 Budget

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today at a hearing to discuss EPA’s proposed FY 2015 budget.

Administrator McCarthy’s remarks:

Chairman Boxer, Ranking Member Vitter, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed FY 2015 budget. I’m joined by the Agency’s Acting Chief Financial Officer, Maryann Froehlich.

EPA’s budget request of $7.890 billion for the 2015 fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 reflects our ongoing efforts to meet the challenges facing the agency today and into the future. Despite these challenges, we remain dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, and we know we must target staff and resources and find new ways to fulfill our mission. We will focus those resources in a way that will allow EPA to be more effective and efficient.

The FY 2015 budget reflects a strategic approach to our budget planning process, looking toward the future rather than continuing to simply react to tough budget choices with cuts across the Agency. The FY 2015 budget request does this in the following ways:

  • It reflects EPA’s incorporation of new technologies and new regulatory and non-regulatory approaches that can help us maintain our efficiency and effectiveness.
  • It strengthens EPA’s partnership with public health and environmental protection partners in states, tribes and local communities with a focus on aligning our resources, avoiding duplication, and identifying and closing any gaps in the broader environmental enterprise system.
  • It invests our funds and leverages funds of our partners where it makes the most sense and gets the biggest bang for the buck.

Following the framework of priorities laid out in the FY 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan and working within our budget, we are committed to ensuring the staff we have in program areas and regions make the most sense and will have the most impact.

EPA has already taken steps toward proactive management of our operating budget. Through the VERA/VSIP process, we have begun to accelerate attrition within EPA both at headquarters and the regions toward a ceiling of 15,000 nonrefundable FTE’s.

Our FY 2015 budget relies on a reduced workforce focused on programs, policies, and regulations that matter most to public health and the environment. This is not simply about cutting the workforce to save costs. We are reshaping the workforce and our work to meet current and future challenges. Doing this includes making key investments.

It makes long-term fiscal sense to invest the cost savings achieved — through a smaller workforce and improved use of technology — to work smarter and more effectively. This approach will keep EPA strong, focused on science and the law, and transparent in addressing environmental challenges and the results we have achieved.

This budget will provide the support we need to move forward by targeting real progress in priority areas: communities, climate change and air quality, toxics and chemical safety, and clean water.

Building on current work on the ground in our communities, we are asking for $7.5 million and 64 staff in FY 2015 to work toward efforts that will make a difference in people’s everyday lives and in their communities. Those efforts include providing green infrastructure technical assistance for up to 100 communities that will promote cost-effective approaches to water management.

This budget request furthers our environmental justice efforts. The protections provided by our national environmental laws must be accessible to everyone. We will do more to partner with states, tribes, and local governments and other federal agencies to better coordinate and leverage resources supporting community efforts.

Addressing the threat from a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges of this and future generations. The request for climate change and air quality is $1.03 billion—over $41 million more than fiscal year 2014. And it designates $199.5 million specifically for climate change work.

Building on existing efforts and base budget resources, the Agency has added $10 million and dedicates 24 FTE’s in FY 2015 to support the President’s climate action plan. $2 million is designated for technical assistance for adaptation planning for water utilities at greatest risk from storm surges. Research and development efforts will focus on support tools for at-risk communities and tribes in preparing for the impacts of climate change.

The Agency will focus resources on the development of common sense and achievable greenhouse gas standards for power plants—the single largest source of carbon pollution. The President’s budget provides support for the states to help them meet their obligations under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act with regard to cutting carbon emissions.

This request also supports the President’s interagency methane strategy and the President’s recently announced directive to EPA to develop phase 2 fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty vehicles. EPA also will be implementing a range of activities in support of the President’s call to cut energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories.

Chemicals and toxic substances are prevalent in our everyday lives. The EPA budget requests almost $673 million to support work to reduce the risk and increase the safety of chemicals and prevent pollution for all Americans and especially children.

We are requesting $23 million and 24 FTE in FY 2015 to support activities under the President’s executive order on chemical safety, as well as Agency efforts on chemical prioritization, air toxics, radon, and volatile organic compounds in drinking water. $5 million in resources for air toxics work will enhance our capabilities to design effective regulations and continue developing the national air toxics assessment.

The nation’s water resources are the lifeblood of our communities. The FY 2015 budget recognizes the long-term benefits of healthy aquatic systems for all aspects of our daily lives.

The Agency is directing $8 million and 10 FTE to advance clean water. Resources are also proposed for the municipal separate storm sewer systems program for technical support to communities that must develop effective stormwater permits for the first time.

We are requesting $1.775 billion for the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds. Although this is a more than a $580 million decrease over FY 2014 levels, federal capitalization of the SRFs totals over $22 billion since FY 2009, if you include the FY 2015 request. The FY 2015 budget seeks to ensure that federal dollars provided through the fund lead to the design, construction, and support of sustainable water infrastructure.

The EPA is looking toward future ways to better serve the American people by employing technology where it can be used more effectively. E-Enterprise is a major joint initiative between EPA and states to modernize our business practices and to increase responsiveness. This effort holds the promise of increased effectiveness and savings for businesses as well as government. The agency is expanding efforts in the second year of the multi-year E-Enterprise business model including focusing people and resources to accelerate development of the E-Manifest system and associated rule-making work. For example, the benefits of implementing the E-Manifest system include annual savings estimated at $75 million for over 160,000 waste handlers. Transitioning from a paper-based system saves time and effort for every person who used to handle that paper.

In addition, EPA is making changes to long-standing business practices such as contracts, grants management, and the regulation development process. One important area of emphasis is improving freedom of information act (FOIA) and records management.

In FY 2015, the Agency is requesting over $1.33 billion to continue to apply the most effective response approaches for cleanups under RCRA, Superfund, Leaking Underground Storage Tank, and other authorities. This strategy will help ensure land is returned to beneficial use in the most effective way. $1.16 billion is requested for Superfund which includes a $43.4 million increase for remedial work and an increase of $9.2 million for emergency response and removal.

In this budget, we hold firm our priority support for state and tribal partners, the primary implementers and front line of environmental programs. Funding for state and tribal assistance grants – or STAG – is once again the largest percentage of the EPA’s budget request and prioritizes funding for state categorical grants.

The FY 2015 budget includes a total of $1.13 billion in categorical grants – a net $76 million increase over FY 2014.
• Within that total is over $96 million for tribal general assistance program grants – a $31 million increase over FY 2014.
• We also included an $18 million increase for pollution control (Section 106),
• There is a $16 million increase for environmental information grants.
• There is a $15 million increase for state and local air quality management in our request.

Science is the foundation of our work at the EPA. And science is supported by the President’s request of $537.3 million. In FY 2015, the EPA is focusing research on the most critical issues facing the Agency.

These include efforts to: advance chemical prioritization and predictive toxicology, help communities make sustainable decisions regarding environmental protection and resilience, and inform regional and community level strategies for the use of green infrastructure and other innovative alternative practices.

The EPA continues to focus on reducing its physical footprint and achieving greater energy efficiency. Since 2006, the EPA has released approximately 428 thousand square feet of space nationwide, resulting in a cumulative annual rent avoidance of over $14.6 million.

The EPA continues to eliminate programs that have served their purpose, accomplished their mission, or are duplicative. The FY 2015 budget eliminates a number of such programs totaling nearly $56 million. These include beaches protection categorical grants, state indoor radon grants, and diesel emissions reductions assistance grants.

Recognizing the importance of the two-year budget agreement congress reached in December, which the President’s budget adheres to, levels are not sufficient to expand opportunity to all Americans or to drive the growth our economy needs.

For that reason, across the federal government, the budget also includes a separate, fully paid for $56 billion opportunity, growth, and security initiative. This initiative—split evenly between defense and non-defense funding—shows how additional discretionary investments in FY 2015 can spur economic progress, promote opportunity, and strengthen national security.
• Within the initiative is $1 billion for a climate resilience fund, through which the budget will invest in research and unlock data to better understand and prepare for impacts of a changing climate. These investments will also fund breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.
• Within the climate resilience fund, EPA will support a nation better prepared for the impacts of climate change—with $10 million for protecting and enhancing coastal wetlands, and $5 million to support urban forest enhancement and protection.

We have made some very difficult choices in this budget. But we need to look realistically at challenges we face in the future and make sure we have the best tools and people in the right places to make the most difference. Our final FY 2015 budget reflects a balanced approach to accomplishing this.

Thank you for the opportunity to touch upon some of the highlights of EPA’s FY 2015 budget request in my testimony today. I look forward to answering your questions.

R069
—————————————————————————————–

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2014

Testimony of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Before House Appropriations Committee on Proposed FY 2015 Budget

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy testified today before the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee at a hearing to discuss EPA’s proposed FY 2015 budget.

Administrator McCarthy’s testimony:

Chairman Calvert, Ranking Member Moran, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed FY 2015 budget. I’m joined by the Agency’s Acting Chief Financial Officer, Maryann Froehlich.

EPA’s budget request of $7.890 billion for the 2015 fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 reflects our ongoing efforts to meet the challenges facing the agency today and into the future. Despite these challenges, we remain dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, and we know we must target staff and resources and find new ways to fulfill our mission. We will focus those resources in a way that will allow EPA to be more effective and efficient.

The FY 2015 budget reflects a strategic approach to our budget planning process, looking toward the future rather than continuing to simply react to tough budget choices with cuts across the Agency. The FY 2015 budget request does this in the following ways:

• It reflects EPA’s incorporation of new technologies and new regulatory and non-regulatory approaches that can help us maintain our efficiency and effectiveness.
• It strengthens EPA’s partnership with public health and environmental protection partners in states, tribes and local communities with a focus on aligning our resources, avoiding duplication, and identifying and closing any gaps in the broader environmental enterprise system.
• It invests our funds and leverages funds of our partners where it makes the most sense and gets the biggest bang for the buck.

Following the framework of priorities laid out in the FY 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan and working within our budget, we are committed to ensuring the staff we have in program areas and regions make the most sense and will have the most impact.

EPA has already taken steps toward proactive management of our operating budget. Through the VERA/VSIP process, we have begun to accelerate attrition within EPA both at headquarters and the regions toward a ceiling of 15,000 nonrefundable FTE’s.

Our FY 2015 budget relies on a reduced workforce focused on programs, policies, and regulations that matter most to public health and the environment. This is not simply about cutting the workforce to save costs. We are reshaping the workforce and our work to meet current and future challenges. Doing this includes making key investments.

It makes long-term fiscal sense to invest the cost savings achieved — through a smaller workforce and improved use of technology — to work smarter and more effectively. This approach will keep EPA strong, focused on science and the law, and transparent in addressing environmental challenges and the results we have achieved.

This budget will provide the support we need to move forward by targeting real progress in priority areas: communities, climate change and air quality, toxics and chemical safety, and clean water.

Building on current work on the ground in our communities, we are asking for $7.5 million and 64 staff in FY 2015 to work toward efforts that will make a difference in people’s everyday lives and in their communities. Those efforts include providing green infrastructure technical assistance for up to 100 communities that will promote cost-effective approaches to water management.

This budget request furthers our environmental justice efforts. The protections provided by our national environmental laws must be accessible to everyone. We will do more to partner with states, tribes, and local governments and other federal agencies to better coordinate and leverage resources supporting community efforts.

Addressing the threat from a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges of this and future generations. The request for climate change and air quality is $1.03 billion—over $41 million more than fiscal year 2014. And it designates $199.5 million specifically for climate change work.

Building on existing efforts and base budget resources, the Agency has added $10 million and dedicates 24 FTE’s in FY 2015 to support the President’s climate action plan. $2 million is designated for technical assistance for adaptation planning for water utilities at greatest risk from storm surges. Research and development efforts will focus on support tools for at-risk communities and tribes in preparing for the impacts of climate change.

The Agency will focus resources on the development of common sense and achievable greenhouse gas standards for power plants—the single largest source of carbon pollution. The President’s budget provides support for the states to help them meet their obligations under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act with regard to cutting carbon emissions.

This request also supports the President’s interagency methane strategy and the President’s recently announced directive to EPA to develop phase 2 fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty vehicles. EPA also will be implementing a range of activities in support of the President’s call to cut energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories.

Chemicals and toxic substances are prevalent in our everyday lives. The EPA budget requests almost $673 million to support work to reduce the risk and increase the safety of chemicals and prevent pollution for all Americans and especially children.

We are requesting $23 million and 24 FTE in FY 2015 to support activities under the President’s executive order on chemical safety, as well as Agency efforts on chemical prioritization, air toxics, radon, and volatile organic compounds in drinking water. $5 million in resources for air toxics work will enhance our capabilities to design effective regulations and continue developing the national air toxics assessment.

The nation’s water resources are the lifeblood of our communities. The FY 2015 budget recognizes the long-term benefits of healthy aquatic systems for all aspects of our daily lives.

The Agency is directing $8 million and 10 FTE to advance clean water. Resources are also proposed for the municipal separate storm sewer systems program for technical support to communities that must develop effective stormwater permits for the first time.

We are requesting $1.775 billion for the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds. Although this is a more than a $580 million decrease over FY 2014 levels, federal capitalization of the SRFs totals over $22 billion since FY 2009, if you include the FY 2015 request. The FY 2015 budget seeks to ensure that federal dollars provided through the fund lead to the design, construction, and support of sustainable water infrastructure.

The EPA is looking toward future ways to better serve the American people by employing technology where it can be used more effectively. E-Enterprise is a major joint initiative between EPA and states to modernize our business practices and to increase responsiveness. This effort holds the promise of increased effectiveness and savings for businesses as well as government. The agency is expanding efforts in the second year of the multi-year E-Enterprise business model including focusing people and resources to accelerate development of the E-Manifest system and associated rule-making work. For example, the benefits of implementing the E-Manifest system include annual savings estimated at $75 million for over 160,000 waste handlers. Transitioning from a paper-based system saves time and effort for every person who used to handle that paper.

In addition, EPA is making changes to long-standing business practices such as contracts, grants management, and the regulation development process. One important area of emphasis is improving freedom of information act (FOIA) and records management.

In FY 2015, the Agency is requesting over $1.33 billion to continue to apply the most effective response approaches for cleanups under RCRA, Superfund, Leaking Underground Storage Tank, and other authorities. This strategy will help ensure land is returned to beneficial use in the most effective way. $1.16 billion is requested for Superfund which includes a $43.4 million increase for remedial work and an increase of $9.2 million for emergency response and removal.

In this budget, we hold firm our priority support for state and tribal partners, the primary implementers and front line of environmental programs. Funding for state and tribal assistance grants – or STAG – is once again the largest percentage of the EPA’s budget request and prioritizes funding for state categorical grants.

The FY 2015 budget includes a total of $1.13 billion in categorical grants – a net $76 million increase over FY 2014.
• Within that total is over $96 million for tribal general assistance program grants – a $31 million increase over FY 2014.
• We also included an $18 million increase for pollution control (Section 106),
• There is a $16 million increase for environmental information grants.
• There is a $15 million increase for state and local air quality management in our request.

Science is the foundation of our work at the EPA. And science is supported by the President’s request of $537.3 million. In FY 2015, the EPA is focusing research on the most critical issues facing the Agency.

These include efforts to: advance chemical prioritization and predictive toxicology, help communities make sustainable decisions regarding environmental protection and resilience, and inform regional and community level strategies for the use of green infrastructure and other innovative alternative practices.

The EPA continues to focus on reducing its physical footprint and achieving greater energy efficiency. Since 2006, the EPA has released approximately 428 thousand square feet of space nationwide, resulting in a cumulative annual rent avoidance of over $14.6 million.

The EPA continues to eliminate programs that have served their purpose, accomplished their mission, or are duplicative. The FY 2015 budget eliminates a number of such programs totaling nearly $56 million. These include beaches protection categorical grants, state indoor radon grants, and diesel emissions reductions assistance grants.

Recognizing the importance of the two-year budget agreement congress reached in December, which the President’s budget adheres to, levels are not sufficient to expand opportunity to all Americans or to drive the growth our economy needs.

For that reason, across the federal government, the budget also includes a separate, fully paid for $56 billion opportunity, growth, and security initiative. This initiative—split evenly between defense and non-defense funding—shows how additional discretionary investments in FY 2015 can spur economic progress, promote opportunity, and strengthen national security.
• Within the initiative is $1 billion for a climate resilience fund, through which the budget will invest in research and unlock data to better understand and prepare for impacts of a changing climate. These investments will also fund breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.
• Within the climate resilience fund, EPA will support a nation better prepared for the impacts of climate change—with $10 million for protecting and enhancing coastal wetlands, and $5 million to support urban forest enhancement and protection.

We have made some very difficult choices in this budget. But we need to look realistically at challenges we face in the future and make sure we have the best tools and people in the right places to make the most difference. Our final FY 2015 budget reflects a balanced approach to accomplishing this.

Thank you for the opportunity to touch upon some of the highlights of EPA’s FY 2015 budget request in my testimony today. I look forward to answering your questions.

R072

 

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands

Agriculture’s Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) today jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act. The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.

Determining Clean Water Act protection for streams and wetlands became confusing and complex following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. For nearly a decade, members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, and the public asked for a rulemaking to provide clarity.

The proposed rule clarifies protection for streams and wetlands. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs. It does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s more narrow reading of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

“We are clarifying protection for the upstream waters that are absolutely vital to downstream communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Clean water is essential to every single American, from families who rely on safe places to swim and healthy fish to eat, to farmers who need abundant and reliable sources of water to grow their crops, to hunters and fishermen who depend on healthy waters for recreation and their work, and to businesses that need a steady supply of water for operations.”

“America’s waters and wetlands are valuable resources that must be protected today and for future generations,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy. “Today’s rulemaking will better protect our aquatic resources, by strengthening the consistency, predictability, and transparency of our jurisdictional determinations. The rule’s clarifications will result in a better public service nationwide.”

The health of rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters depend on the streams and wetlands where they begin. Streams and wetlands provide many benefits to communities – they trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. They are also economic drivers because of their role in fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy, and manufacturing.

About 60 percent of stream miles in the U.S only flow seasonally or after rain, but have a considerable impact on the downstream waters. And approximately 117 million people – one in three Americans – get drinking water from public systems that rely in part on these streams. These are important waterways for which EPA and the Army Corps is clarifying protection.

Specifically, the proposed rule clarifies that under the Clean Water Act and based on the science:
• Most seasonal and rain dependent streams are protected.
• Wetlands near rivers and streams are protected.
• Other types of waters may have more uncertain connections with downstream water and protection will be evaluated through a case specific analysis of whether the connection is or is not protecting similarly situated waters in certain geographic areas or adding to the categories of waters protected without case specific analysis.

The proposed rule preserves the Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture. Additionally, EPA and the Army Corps have coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop an interpretive rule to ensure that 53 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will not be subject to Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements. The agencies will work together to implement these new exemptions and periodically review, and update USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practice standards and activities that would qualify under the exemption. Any agriculture activity that does not result in the discharge of a pollutant to waters of the U.S. still does not require a permit.

The proposed rule also helps states and tribes – according to a study by the Environmental Law Institute, 36 states have legal limitations on their ability to fully protect waters that aren’t covered by the Clean Water Act.

The proposed rule is supported by the latest peer-reviewed science, including a draft scientific assessment by EPA, which presents a review and synthesis of more than 1,000 pieces of scientific literature. The rule will not be finalized until the final version of this scientific assessment is complete.

Forty years ago, two-thirds of America’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters were unsafe for fishing and swimming. Because of the Clean Water Act, that number has been cut in half. However, one-third of the nation’s waters still do not meet standards.

The proposed rule will be open for public comment for 90 days from publication in the Federal Register. The interpretive rule for agricultural activities is effective immediately.

More information: www.epa.gov/uswaters

Watch Administrator McCarthy’s overview: http://youtu.be/ow-n8zZuDYc

Watch Deputy Chief of Staff Arvin Ganesan’s explanation: http://youtu.be/fOUESH_JmA0

Federal Register image

Stage II Vapor Recovery in Texas

Federal Register imageThe EPA approved the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) to decommission Stage II Vapor Recovery. The final rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov  Docket # EPA-R06-OAR-2013-0439. The effective date for this rule is 4/16/14.

Should you have any questions, reach out to our Regulatory Affairs Manager, Brian Harmon. TAIT’s long history with fuel systems makes us an ideal candidate for consulting work and being an information resource for you.

The Federal Register Federal Register /Vol. 79, No. 51 /Monday, March 17, 2014 /Rules and Regulations lists the details, and you can learn more in our previous blogs:

TCEQ Publishes Changes Coming for Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems
TCEQ & Decommissioning Stage II
TCEQ Proposing to Decommision Stage II Vapor Recovery
Has Your State Waived Stage II Vapor Recovery Requirements?

UST Training course for AB Operators in Texas

UST Operator Training in Texas, TCEQ Notifications Mailed Statewide

TCEQ’s COMPLIANCE PUSH – UST OPERATOR TRAINING

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required AB UST Operator Training be completed by August 8, 2012. TAIT traveled across the state holding training courses, and still offers courses online or in the classroom for groups of 20+. The TCEQ has recently begun to send letters to over 10,000 UST facility owners regarding their compliance with the UST Operator Training requirements. They track compliance with the training requirement through the Self-Certification process – requiring owners to list the names and training certificate number or a copy of the certificate be included with the annual filing.

We are well versed in the Texas UST regulations, and regulations for other states across the country. More than a training company, we are a licensed UST installer/remover in Texas, and across the US – when there is a difficult fueling scenario or compliance issues, TAIT is the go-to company. TAIT makes it easy to meet the training requirement:

Click here to register online http://pstinstruction.com/collections/all/products/bulk-discounted-ust-operator-online-training

Call us to register via phone: 972-680-5120 

Here is a screenshot of the ordering system. When ordering multiple training courses, TAIT offers a discount. Ask us how we can coordinate your training program today!

UST Training course for AB Operators in Texas

EPA has requested the TCEQ verify the compliance rate since the TCEQ could only provide information that about half of the UST owners had proven compliance with the training requirement.

The TFFA, our training partner along with 360 training, prepared Regulatory Alert #546  so TFFA members could forward the information and the Regulatory Alert to their customers that own and operate underground storage tanks. It is likely the TCEQ will soon target enforcement against those facility owners who fail to respond to the agency’s letter.

334.603(b) – states 72 hours:Owners and operators of underground storage tank facilities (except unmanned facilities) must maintain required training certification documentation as described in §334.603(b) of this title (relating to Acceptable Operator Training and Certification Processes) on-site and must provide it upon request to a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or TCEQ-authorized investigator. Documentation may be maintained electronically off-site if that facility has the capability of producing a clear printed copy which can be provided to a TCEQ or TCEQ-authorized investigator within 72 hours of the time of the investigation. Owners and operators of unmanned facilities must provide documentation as requested by a TCEQ investigator or TCEQ-authorized investigator.

Adoption of the Texas UST Operator Training

TCEQ Approved UST AB Operator Training Course

Resources

What is the Future of Fuels?

NACS 2014 Report - The Future of FuelsNACS “Future of Fuels” Report

 

The newly released NACS “Future of Fuels” report offers an analysis  of U.S. government projections through 2040.


NACS
is the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing. NACS researches and writes reports for the fuel retailing market. If you’re interested in Liquid Fuels, Renewable Fuels, Non-Liquid Fuels, Natural Gas, Propane, Electricity, Hydrogen, there are details and even future pricing information included in the report.  The “Future of Fuels 2014” seeks to determine how EIA’s projections will directly affect the retail fuels market, consumer use of specific types of light duty vehicles, and the pace at which alternative fuels may gain market share.

A few key highlights are:

  •  Gasoline will remain the dominant fuel powering light duty vehicles through 2040
  • Liquid fuels — gasoline, diesel fuel and E85 — remain the overwhelmingly dominant energy sources for light duty vehicles, contributing more than 99% of total energy consumed by light duty vehicles, and they are projected to remain above 99% market share in 2040
  • In the vehicle market, the share dominated by gasoline-powered vehicles will drop 14% to 79.9%; market share will increase for diesel powered and flexible fuel vehicles (capable of running on gasoline and E85), reaching 4.1% and 10.7%, respectively
  • Current biofuels — ethanol and biodiesel — are forecast to increase from a 2012 supply of 13.58 billion gallons to 15.87 billion gallons in 2040. By 2040, EIA forecasts the availability of 225 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol
  • Non-liquid fuel alternatives — natural gas, propane, electricity and hydrogen — will increase their total contribution to the light duty vehicle energy consumption by 125%, but still only contribute 0.7% of the energy consumed by 2040
  • Electricity is projected to experience the strongest growth in the non-liquid market, increasing its share of non-liquid LDV energy from 2. 5% to 38.5%
  • Hybrid vehicles are forecast to capture the greatest share of the LDV market, growing from 1.1% to 4.4%

If you have questions, contact TAIT. We’ll be happy to provide additional information and to put you in touch with NACS. Going to the PEI/NACS Show? Meet us there! TAIT will have a booth and is scheduling meeting times with our clients and potential clients now.

2014 NACS Show image of 24,000 attendees to network with in the fueling industry

The Fuels Institute, founded by NACS in 2013, is a non-profit research-oriented think tank dedicated to evaluating the market issues related to consumer vehicles and the fuels that power them.Learn more about  The Fuels Institute – Pursuing sustainable transportation energy solutions.

NACS Demystifies the Fueling Experience –  The new 2014 NACS Retail Fuels Report is the largest and most comprehensive ever developed, with more than two dozen backgrounders examining every element of the retail fuels industry.  Learn More

 

EPA Revises Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing

EPA Revises Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing

WASHINGTON– Today [2/11/2014], the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released revised underground injection control (UIC) program permitting guidance for wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. EPA developed the guidance to clarify how companies can comply with a law passed by Congress in 2005, which exempted hydraulic fracturing operations from the requirement to obtain a UIC permit, except in cases where diesel fuel is used as a fracturing fluid.

EPA is issuing the guidance alongside an interpretive memorandum, which clarifies that class II UIC requirements apply to hydraulic fracturing activities using diesel fuels, and defines the statutory term diesel fuel by reference to five chemical abstract services registry numbers. The guidance outlines for EPA permit writers, where EPA is the permitting authority, existing class II requirements for diesel fuels used for hydraulic fracturing wells, and technical recommendations for permitting those wells consistently with these requirements. Decisions about permitting hydraulic fracturing operations that use diesel fuels will be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the facts and circumstances of the specific injection activity and applicable statutes, regulations and case law, and will not cite this guidance as a basis for decision.

image showing hydraulically induced fractures from www.kgs.ku.eduAlthough developed specifically for hydraulic fracturing where diesel fuels are used, many of the guidance’s recommended practices are consistent with best practices for hydraulic fracturing in general, including those found in state regulations and model guidelines for hydraulic fracturing developed by industry and stakeholders. Thus, states and tribes responsible for issuing permits and/or updating regulations for hydraulic fracturing may find the recommendations useful in improving the protection of underground sources of drinking water and public health more broadly.

Responsible development of America’s unconventional oil and natural gas resources offers important economic, energy security, and environmental benefits. The EPA is working with states and other key stakeholders to help ensure that extraction of these resources does not come at the expense of public health and the environment. In particular, the EPA is moving forward on several initiatives, such as the diesel guidance, to provide regulatory clarity with respect to existing laws and using existing authorities where appropriate to enhance public health and environmental safeguards.

EPA released a draft of the guidance in May 2012 and held a 105 day public comment period to gain input on the guidance from a wide range of stakeholders.

To read the guidance, visit: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/hydraulicfracturing/hydraulic-fracturing.cfm