The Acid Rain Program: A Success Story

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By Christopher Grundler

This May, as EPA celebrates “Improving the Nation’s Air” Month, we salute the resounding success story of the Acid Rain Program (ARP). Since its inception in 1995, the ARP has earned widespread acclaim due to dramatic reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, extensive environmental and human health benefits, and far lower-than-expected costs. The ARP’s SO2 cap and trade program, the first nationwide experiment in emissions trading, has been a victory for policy innovation, stakeholder collaboration, and human health and the environment.

Congress created the ARP in Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, in response to deterioration of ecosystem health in lakes, streams, and forests across the United States and Canada, particularly in northeastern North America. To achieve this goal, the SO2 program set a permanent cap on the total amount of SO2 that can be emitted by power plants in the contiguous U.S. and allows emissions trading so sources can choose their preferred method of compliance. The final cap for SO2 emissions was set at a very ambitious target in 2010: 8.95 million tons, or about half of the 1980 level of 17.26 million tons. The ARP also required NOx emission reductions under a more traditional rate-based regulatory program, representing about a 27% reduction from 1990 levels. Just five years into ARP implementation in 2000, SO2 emissions were already down to 11.2 million tons and NOx emissions reductions had exceeded their target.

Bean Pond, a Long-Term Monitoring site in Somerset Co., Maine, is one of twenty-six lakes in the New England region that shows improving sulfate trends from 1990-2018.

Bean Pond, a Long-Term Monitoring site in Somerset Co., Maine, is one of twenty-six lakes in the New England region that shows improving sulfate trends from 1990-2018.

EPA is proud of the successes of the ARP and its subsequent interstate emission reduction programs and the marked progress those programs have achieved in cleaning up SO2 and NOx. In 2019, annual SO2 emissions measured only 0.97 million tons, a 94% reduction from 1990 levels. Annual NOX emissions measured 0.88 million tons, a reduction of 86% from 1990 levels. While market forces in the power sector – including significant increases in the availability of low-cost natural gas – have put downward pressure on emissions, by 2019, 82% of coal-fired power plants had installed advanced SO2 controls and 68% had installed advanced NOX controls.

For those of you who don’t have memories of the 1980s, allow the data to explain how the ecosystem and air quality have improved over the last 40 years. The national average of SO2 annual ambient concentrations decreased 93% between 1980 and 2018. Wet sulfate deposition – a common indicator of acid rain – decreased 86% reduction from 2000-2002 to 2016-2018. During that same time period, data from EPA’s Long-Term Monitoring program showed an 81% improvement in the number of monitored streams and lakes that experienced critical load exceedances, an indicator that reveals when acid deposition levels are causing harmful effects.

The human health benefits have been just as significant. A 2011 analysis of the benefits and costs of the 1990 Clean Air Act estimated that adult mortality risk decreased significantly due to the improved air quality, with up to 230,000 premature deaths avoided in 2020 as a result of lowered SO2 and NOx pollution levels.

Emissions trading programs have evolved over time to address changing industry and environmental challenges. These programs have been successful, producing near-perfect compliance, along with emissions and operations data at an unprecedented level of accuracy and detail. Annual Progress Reports and numerous tools enable anyone from power plant operators to students to access and analyze data to provide insights from the national level to our own backyards. EPA just posted the latest data, for the first quarter of 2020.

The core principles of accountability, transparency, and results have characterized every iteration of our regulatory efforts since the ARP started it all. By using ARP as a model, these foundational elements should and will guide EPA’s programs as they continue to fulfill the Agency’s primary mission of protecting human health and the environment.

 

About the author: Christopher Grundler is the Director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs. He has held multiple senior leadership positions during his forty years of service with the agency, including his recent tenure as the Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Happy Memories of EPA’s Earth Days Past

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By Joanne Amorosi

Earth Day comes and goes, but for me, I can say I have had some memorable and exceptional celebrations as a result of my 26 years at the EPA.

25th Earth Day celebration at the National Zoo with Flossie Fluorescent, Green Lights Program.

25th Earth Day celebration at the National Zoo with Flossie Fluorescent, Green Lights Program.

When I came to work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one of the first things I was asked to do was to create an environmental character that could help to promote the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. I came up with the idea for creating Flossie Fluorescent, a 6 ft. 3 in. light bulb with long eyelashes and lightning bolts on her high-top tennis shoes.

After being trained on how to interact with children while wearing a costume, to do the princess wave, and talk about lighting efficiency, I was ready to assume this new persona and jumped right into appearing at Earth Day events and in elementary school classrooms.

During the 25th Earth Day anniversary I had the opportunity to appear as Flossie at the National Zoo, and on the Georgetown waterfront with Dennis Weaver, a famous actor and environmentalist supporting our agency’s efforts.

Over the years I have dressed up as the Garbage Gremlin, talking about landfills and waste prevention while I threw fast food containers that were attached to my fur costume on the floor. I donned the Pandy Pollution Panda costume and simply waved, as characters with their faces covered are not supposed to talk, but I usually did.

There were years spent in a humble tent on the National Mall battling severe rainstorms common to Washington, D.C., in the springtime, trying to prevent our handouts from getting wet while eating soggy hot dogs. However, a spring storm couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm and mission to spread the word about Earth Day!

Some of my most memorable Earth Day events on the National Mall were the amazing people who turned out for the occasion. I was thrilled to hear James Taylor perform, but had to hold back my daughter from rushing the stage when Leonardo DiCaprio spoke! It was always nice and a great learning experience to have my daughter attend and help me at these events.

Some years the events were smaller, held primarily for EPA employees and tourists that passed by our display tables outside EPA’s Headquarters building.

40th Anniversary on the National Mall as Slim Bin, EPA’s recycling environmental character.

40th Anniversary on the National Mall as Slim Bin, EPA’s recycling environmental character.

I particularly loved being Slim Bin, a happy go lucky recycling bin. Probably my fondest memory was during the 40th anniversary. EPA had a large tent and presence on the National Mall. I spent most days in the hot sun dressed up as a recycling bin competing with Woodsie the Owl for attention. But when the characters from the Avatar movie showed up on stilts, and they posed for photos with both me and Woodsie, I knew the little recycling bin had finally made the big time!

No matter when or how I celebrated Earth Day, I never forgot its purpose in encouraging environmental stewardship and highlighting EPA’s efforts to protect the environment! Although this year’s Earth Day celebration looks different than in years past, I am so encouraged by EPA employees who have stepped up to keep our tradition going by sharing their at-home celebrations online. Earth Day has even given me the opportunity to share my own backyard environment with the world! I hope everyone takes time this Earth Day to pause and reflect on the past 50 years and all the progress that has been made for our planet.

 

EPA@50 icon with "Progress for a Stronger Future" theme

About the author: Joanne Amorosi is the Communications Director for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. She has worked at the EPA for 26 years in eight of its program offices and for The Chesapeake Bay Program in Region 3.  

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Get the Facts on EPA’s TSCA Risk Evaluations

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

It’s important to get as many facts as you can when making a decision. It’s no different for us in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. When we make a decision about whether or not a chemical poses unreasonable risks to public health or the environment, it’s imperative that we consider all kinds of facts like the effects of the chemical on humans or the environment, the severity of the hazard, who is exposed (including any sensitive subpopulations like children), and how people or the environment are exposed under the uses of the chemical.

We also must follow the law. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to determine whether chemicals in the marketplace present unreasonable risks to health or the environment. It also requires that our risk evaluations are transparent and include a robust systematic review of the available science.

EPA is working as quickly as possible to develop and issue our risk evaluations in accordance with the law. The 2016 amendments to TSCA and its implementing regulations set new, higher standards for EPA to follow when evaluating the potential risks from existing chemicals. Ensuring that our risk evaluations meet the highest standards will help expedite any necessary future risk management actions.

While we’re only in the beginning stages of our risk evaluation efforts, the fact is that the findings we’ve made so far may change. After publishing a draft risk evaluation, we get comments from the public and through our scientific peer review process and then we issue a final risk evaluation. This final risk evaluation may differ from the draft as we account for the peer review and public input. After completing the final risk evaluation, the law gives us up to two years to issue regulations to address identified unreasonable risks.

You also might be wondering, why doesn’t EPA just ban some chemicals immediately. TSCA does allow us to place restrictions on chemicals that are an imminent hazard, meaning the chemical could cause widespread injury to human health or the environment. The fact is, the information we’ve reviewed for the draft risk evaluations we’ve completed so far, doesn’t indicate that this action is necessary.

It is worth noting however, we did take decisive action in March 2019, when we banned consumer sales of paint and coating removal products containing methylene chloride to protect public health.

Another fact is that if you’re concerned about using any chemicals, there are things you can do right now to limit your exposure. We strongly recommend that users carefully follow all instructions on the product’s label/safety data sheet. To the extent that consumers want to avoid exposure to certain chemicals, they should consider not using products that contain those chemicals. But the fact remains, that because all our risk findings to date are still preliminary, the public and regulated community are not required to take any action based on our draft risk evaluations.

And, the last fact I’ll share with you is that the health and safety of people and the planet is always at the heart of our decision-making and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as our chemicals continue to go through these risk evaluations.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Increasing Innovation and Access to Information on New Chemicals

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

By Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Innovation is essential to our everyday lives. It allows our economy to grow and thrive. It creates efficiencies and increased value for businesses. And, for all of us, a lot of products like smart phones, detergents, and automobiles keep getting better because companies develop new chemical substances that improve the performance of materials and products.

In the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, part of our job is working with stakeholders to bring new chemistries to market in a way that balances the safety of public health and the environment without stifling innovation and ensuring the right level of information transparency. We are committed to providing the public with information on chemicals, including how they are used, any potential risks, and steps we’re taking to prevent those risks. Over the past year, we’ve taken unprecedented steps to ensure we’re meeting our legal requirements while increasing the amount of information made publicly available on new chemicals.

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – our nation’s primary chemical management law – we’re required to review and decide on new chemical submissions within 90 days of receipt. TSCA gave us an aggressive goal to strive towards, and I’m proud to say we’re making great progress. Our new chemicals statistics reflect a significant improvement from just one year ago:

  • 38% decrease in cases over 180 days (229 current; 370 one year ago)
  • 76% decrease in cases over 90 days (32 current; 131 one year ago)

We have worked diligently to improve the quality and quantity of chemical information shared with and available to the public, including posting all new chemical determinations on our website, developing a new status tracker for individual cases, and implementing process changes to expedite the publishing of information related to new chemical notices.

Starting in May 2019, we began new chemicals submissions in EPA’s ChemView tool. This includes the original submission and any updates and attachments submitted to EPA, including health and safety studies, safety data sheets, and confidential business information (CBI) substantiation documents. We have committed to publishing the submissions within 45 days of receipt and have consistently done so since May 30, 2019.

We’re also working hard to ensure that the information companies claim as CBI meets the legal criteria laid out in TSCA. This is an important issue because we’re legally obligated to keep some information confidential, and we must ensure that we’re complying with those requirements. Last December, we published information on all the final CBI determinations we’ve made under TSCA and committed to updating this information quarterly. The information on CBI determinations published in December 2019, included the results of CBI determinations on 262 new chemicals submissions.

I’m proud of the work our dedicated expert staff have done to enhance transparency around our processes for approving new chemicals. More information is available online on new chemicals today than ever before, and it’s our goal to continue to improve processes, increase efficiency, and keep this trend going.

Learn more about our new chemicals program at https://www.epa.gov/reviewing-new-chemicals-under-toxic-substances-control-act-tsca.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Join EPA in Observing National Pesticide Safety Education Month

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

February is National Pesticide Safety Education Month, a good reminder about the importance of safely and appropriately using pesticides like insect repellents, weed killers, and many household cleaning products.

Since pesticides are meant to keep pests away, we need to be careful when using them in and around our homes. EPA assesses the risks and benefits of all pesticides before we allow them to be sold or distributed in the United States, and EPA requires instructions on each pesticide label for how to use the pesticide safely.

One of the most important steps you can take to ensure pesticide safety at home is to only use pesticides when necessary. Pesticides are designed to address different problems, so one important approach is to consider integrated pest management.  Under “IPM”, your pesticide choices are informed by an effective and environmentally-sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices, using pesticides only as needed.

If you do choose to use a pesticide, reading the pesticide label and following instructions is key. Even if you use the same pesticide often, be sure to read the label each time. If you do choose to use a pesticide, reading the pesticide label and following instructions is key. Even if you use the same pesticide often, be sure to read the label each time. This is important because EPA routinely re-evaluates pesticides to ensure they are safe and the instructions for safe use may have changed.

Here are a few other tips for using pesticides safely in and around your home:

  • Use the amount specified on the label. Using more will not be more effective and may harm you, your loved ones and the environment.
  • Keep pesticides away from food and dishes.
  • Don’t let children and pets enter sprayed areas while they are still wet.
  • Store pesticides out of the reach of children and pets, preferably locked up.
  • Store pesticides in their original containers with proper labels.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using a pesticide.
  • Wash clothes that have been in contact with pesticides immediately and separately from other items.

Tell us how you keep yourself safe when using a pesticide by sharing a photo or tip on our Twitter account @EPAChemSafety .

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Celebrating America Recycles Day: A Stronger Recycling System Supports a Stronger Economy

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Andrew Wheeler, U.S. EPA AdministratorBy Andrew Wheeler
U.S. EPA Administrator

America has a long-standing commitment to conservation and stewardship. As a nation, we are blessed with abundant resources; and we are all looking for ways to maximize the inherent value of those resources so that future generations can continue to enjoy and benefit from them for many years to come.

We also understand that recycling is one of the most widely available ways for each and every one of us to have a long-term impact on the environment. From a child in pre-school, to a mom in a small town, to urbanites in the big cities, to Fortune 500 companies, we can all do our part to conserve valuable materials and keep them from filling up our Nation’s landfills.

When EPA was established in 1970, the national recycling rate was less than 10 percent. In 1980, the first curbside recycling program was launched in Woodbury, New Jersey. And today, recycling programs can be found in communities big and small across the country, and the national recycling rate has grown to more than 35 percent.

Under President Trump, we have made it a priority to engage with stakeholders and work together to address environmental challenges such as recycling. In doing so, we can reduce the roughly $9 billion of materials Americans throw away each year.

As much as we have increased the amount we recycle, there is much room to grow. That is why last year at EPA, we held our first America Recycles Summit, which brought together stakeholders from across the recycling system to sign the America Recycles Pledge. Signatories of the Pledge are committed to working with EPA in identifying solutions to improve the nation’s recycling system.

EPA has brought some of the most innovative, forward thinking organizations to the table to solve some key challenges in the recycling system. In addition to keeping valuable materials out of landfills, recycling is an important economic driver that provides more than 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages. Together we are working to turn billions of dollars of waste into products that can drive our economy and protect our environment.

Our role at EPA has always been to help develop best practices, provide data the public needs to monitor their recycling efforts, and incentivize action through our programs. But we need to work together with our partners to move beyond our current recycling rate of 35 percent and really make a positive impact on recycling in the United States.

I’m pleased to say that over the past year, through our coordinated efforts we’ve taken many important steps to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills. We are working closely with our government partners and private companies to reduce the amount of food waste across the country; our list of signatories to the recycling pledge has more than tripled from 45 to more than 160; and we have a wealth of efforts underway to enhance public education and outreach, increase our investment in recycling infrastructure, develop markets for recycled materials, and improve measurement and data collection.

On this America Recycles Day, I challenge you to do your part, by taking steps to reduce the amount of food we waste, the amount of garbage we put in the trash, and the amount of contaminated materials that end up in the recycle bins. Other ways to improve on our nation’s recycling challenges is to learn more about recycling in your community; to look for opportunities to recycle beyond the bin, such as used electronics drop-off events or store collection bins; and to buy American-made products made with recycled content.

Together we can build a stronger, more resilient recycling system that provides needed materials to fuel our economy, creates jobs, and most importantly conserves our precious natural resources while also protecting our environment.

 

About the author: Andrew Wheeler is the U.S. EPA Administrator. The U.S. Senate confirmed him as the fifteenth Administrator of the agency on February 28, 2019. President Donald J. Trump announced his appointment as the acting EPA Administrator on July 5, 2018. Wheeler was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the EPA Deputy Administrator on April 12, 2018. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

A New Role for EPA’s Water Reuse Action Plan

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Conservation/TecH2O Manager Anai Padilla and Chief Technical Officer Gilbert Trejo give EPA’s Jeff Lape a tour of El Paso Water’s TecH2O Learning Center. (Photo by Carlos A. Briano)

Conservation/TecH2O Manager Anai Padilla and Chief Technical Officer Gilbert Trejo give EPA’s Jeff Lape a tour of El Paso Water’s TecH2O Learning Center. (Photo by Carlos A. Briano)

By Jeff Lape
National Program Leader for Water Reuse, U.S. EPA

As I write this blog post, I am currently on a water reuse mission in New Mexico and Texas, learning about the array of opportunities with agriculture, industry, academia, and others to consider how water reuse can expand our portfolio of water sources. Promoting the reuse of water for beneficial purposes instead of treating it as waste has been a priority in EPA’s Office of Water. Under the direction of Assistant Administrator for Water, Dave Ross, I’m now just a few days into my newly minted role—serving as EPA’s first National Program Leader for Water Reuse.

With 80 percent of states anticipating some freshwater shortages in the next decade, all levels of government have a responsibility to ensure that Americans have access to reliable sources of clean and safe water. Water reuse has become a rapidly expanding means of improving our water portfolio and has already shown how communities, farmers, and industry can benefit in achieving environmental and public health protection, as well as assuring the security, resiliency, and sustainability of the nation’s water resources.

That’s why EPA and our federal partners facilitated development and recently released the draft National Water Reuse Action Plan in close collaboration with communities, utilities, industry, agriculture, and others. The draft Action Plan identifies priority actions and the leadership and collaboration that is needed between governmental and nongovernmental organizations to implement these actions. Our draft Action Plan, which we are seeking comment on by December 16, 2019 (https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0174), embraces a holistic approach and, when issued in February 2020, will include clear commitments and milestones for actions that will further water reuse.

It’s encouraging to see water reuse already becoming integrated into our agency’s water resource efforts. For instance, just last month, EPA invited 38 new projects in 18 states to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. Eight of the selected applicants represented water reuse or recycling projects.

In my new role, I will work to finalize the Water Reuse Action Plan and then launch its implementation with support and contributions from our water sector stakeholders. I will also work across EPA to ensure our agency’s contributions and commitments are compelling and robust. And, I plan to identify ways to institutionalize water reuse in EPA’s culture so it becomes an enduring priority.

I’m excited for the challenge ahead, given that addressing future water resource challenges will necessitate more holistic thinking that embraces the “convergence of water” through more integrated action.

About the author: Jeff Lape has served as Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water since 2010 and is now on detail as EPA’s National Program Leader for Water Reuse.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA: Taking Charge on Asbestos

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Recently, EPA has been accused of wavering in its commitment to protect the people in our country from asbestos. This is certainly not the case. In April 2019, for the first time in 30 years, EPA strengthened safeguards related to asbestos. EPA’s new rule creates a legal framework by which EPA can restrict the use of more asbestos products or prohibit them entirely. This means that no manufacturer can revive discontinued asbestos products without first consulting EPA, which can then restrict or prohibit that use.

Prior to our April rule, asbestos products that were no longer on the market could come back without any EPA review, without any EPA restrictions, and without any opportunity for EPA to prohibit that use. In other words, previous administrations failed to take steps to ensure that certain dangerous asbestos products would not be reintroduced into the market.

Our April 2019 rule closed this dangerous loophole in the law and made sure that these products could not come back on the market without EPA review and the opportunity to restrict or prohibit use of the products. Combined with our ongoing risk evaluation of a few remaining industrial uses of asbestos, EPA is using our full suite of authorities to protect public health from domestic and imported asbestos products and ensuring we can prohibit dormant asbestos products from reentering the market.

EPA is not allowing new uses of asbestos under this rule. Quite the contrary. Those who are subject to the rule are required to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing any manufacturing, importing, or processing of asbestos or asbestos-containing products covered under the rule. These uses are absolutely prohibited until EPA conducts a thorough review of the notice and puts in place any necessary restrictions, including prohibiting use.

Certain uses of asbestos that were prohibited in 1989 remain banned. Some people say that EPA should immediately ban all remaining asbestos products. Under TSCA, as revised by a bipartisan Congress in 2016, EPA can’t do that in one simple step. By law, with public input and scientific peer review, EPA must evaluate the risk of remaining asbestos uses before it can restrict or ban these products. And that’s exactly what we’re doing for asbestos. EPA included asbestos as one of the first 10 chemicals to undergo this risk evaluation process. This process will be open and transparent, will be available for public comment as well as for scientific peer review and will follow the timetable established by Congress.

If the Agency determines there is unreasonable risk to health or the environment from any conditions of use of asbestos we are evaluating, we are compelled by statute to take actions necessary and authorized by TSCA to ensure the use of asbestos no longer presents an unreasonable risk. These actions would be proposed within one year and finalized within two years.

EPA is covering ALL bases to be able to protect people’s health from asbestos exposure. Addressing asbestos risk remains a priority and I’m proud of the strides EPA has made in protecting the American public from asbestos exposure.

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Pest-Free Homes = Healthy Environments for Healthy Kids

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Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

October is Children’s Health Month, making it a perfect time to highlight the steps we’re taking in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) to protect their health, particularly at home. Children are more sensitive to environmental hazards than adults. We have an important responsibility to keep their home environment healthy and pest-fee, while also preventing children from being exposed to potential harmful products, including pesticides.

Some common household pesticides include rodent bait, mothballs, insect repellents, weed killers, and bath and kitchen disinfectants. While they are helpful in keeping your home free of pests, if used or stored improperly, pesticide products can potentially harm you or your children.

Before registering a pesticide, EPA evaluates the product to ensure that, when used according to label directions, no unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment will occur. The Agency develops human health and ecological risk assessments, researches alternative pesticides that are already registered, and determines if any measures or label specifications are needed to reduce risk.

Consider these tips to keep children safe from household pesticides:

  • Always read the product label and follow all directions when using pesticides.
  • Never store pesticides in containers that may be mistaken for food or drink.
  • Store pesticide products out of the reach of children.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
  • Safely use rodent bait products by placing them only in locations where children cannot access them and keeping them in the bait stations in which they are sold.
  • Avoid illegal household pesticide products, including unregistered mothballs that can easily be mistaken for candy.
  • In case of accidental poisoning, keep the number for the Poison Control Center’s national helpline number readily available (1-800-222-1222).

In addition to following best practices to poison-proof your home, be mindful of the products you select. Products with EPA registration numbers have been reviewed by scientists at EPA. For products used on pests of significant public health importance, such as ticks and mosquitoes, EPA requires data that shows the product works on that pest and works effectively as claimed on the label. EPA is working to make more options available to choose from. For example, after thoroughly reviewing the science, we recently proposed to register a new rodent poison called alphachloralose to control house mice. It acts by putting mice to sleep and is not harmful to children when used according to the label.

To further protect children at home, you can also consider different approaches to pest management. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, focuses on pest prevention and using pesticides only when needed. IPM is better for the environment and saves money in pesticide treatment and energy costs by improving insulation as a result of sealing cracks and adding door sweeps.

Whether at home or out in the world, let’s work to create healthy environments for all children!

 

About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Engaging Partners in Clean Water

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by Tom Damm 

To appreciate how the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is helping communities improve their local waters and lands – and ultimately the Bay – all you need is a quick look at the list of project summaries:

  • Assistance to seven townships in Pennsylvania with barnyard improvements, stream-side buffers and manure storage to manage agriculture runoff.
  • Outdoor classroom construction in Prince George’s County, Maryland, engaging teachers, students and building supervisors in stormwater management.
  • Eastern oyster restoration in Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River in Virginia.

Throughout the list of 47 projects, you can see how the Stewardship Fund is engaging farmers, homeowners, churches, businesses and municipalities in efforts to improve water quality and restore habitat across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Stewardship Fund is a partnership between EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).   EPA provided $9.7 million of the nearly $12.7 million awarded in 2019, attracting almost $21 million in matching contributions.

Those gathered for the recent announcement of this year’s grants got to see the benefits of the program up close.  The backdrop for the speakers was one of the rain gardens installed with a 2017 grant at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and School in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Students from the school’s Environmental Club stood front and center for a photo opportunity at the end of the ceremony.

The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy – the organization that worked with the school on the green infrastructure project – received another grant this year to expand its Clear Creeks Project.

The $200,000 grant will allow the group to provide discount funding in Baltimore County for “Bay-Wise” practices that reduce stormwater into local waterways, such as rain barrels, rain gardens and stream cleanup events.

At the announcement, EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office Director Dana Aunkst emphasized the importance of programs like the Stewardship Fund, saying “local projects by groups and communities will continue to be critical to our success in achieving clean water.”

 

About the Author:  Tom Damm works in the Office of Public Affairs at EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, contributing strategic communications in support of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.