Volume 20, Issue 3 – 4, March & April 2019
In The Works is a monthly newsletter providing Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) news and regulatory updates. The newsletter is provided by Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc. of Plainville, Connecticut. In this Issue you will find links to the following articles:
United States EPA Takes Next Step in Review Process for Herbicide Glyphosate, Reaffirms No Risk to Public Health
WASHINGTON – On April 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step in the agency’s review of glyphosate. As part of this action, EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The agency’s scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies. While the agency did not identify public health risks in the 2017 human health risk assessment, the 2017 ecological assessment did identify ecological risks. To address these risks, EPA is proposing management measures to help farmers target pesticide sprays on the intended pest, protect pollinators, and reduce the problem of weeds becoming resistant to glyphosate.
“EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s proposed action includes new management measures that will help farmers use glyphosate in the most effective and efficient way possible, including pollinator protections. We look forward to input from farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the draft management measures are workable, realistic, and effective.”
“If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “USDA applauds EPA’s proposed registration decision as it is science-based and consistent with the findings of other regulatory authorities that glyphosate does not pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in U.S. agriculture and has been studied for decades. Glyphosate is used on more than 100 food crops, including glyphosate-resistant corn, soybean, cotton, canola and sugar beet. Non-agricultural uses include residential areas, aquatic areas, forests, rights of way, ornamentals and turf.
Once the Federal Register notice publishes, the public will be able to submit comments on EPA’s proposed decision at www.regulations.gov in docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0361. Public comments will be due 60 days after the date of publication in Federal Register. EPA’s responses to the comments received on the draft ecological and human health risk assessments and the benefits assessment will be in the docket.
For more information about glyphosate, including today’s proposed interim decision and supporting documents, visit:
The glyphosate draft risk assessments and supporting documents can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/draft-human-health-and-ecological-risk-assessments-glyphosate.
US EPA Announces Availability of $87 Million in Funding to Improve Drinking Water for Schools and Small and Disadvantaged Communities
Pacific Southwest states, territories eligible for $10.6 million in funding
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the availability of nearly $87 million in grant funding to assist states, tribes, and territories with improving drinking water.
The following funding amounts are available in the Pacific Southwest:
- Arizona is eligible to receive $1,385,000
- California is eligible to receive $7,648,000
- Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive $150,000 each
- American Samoa is eligible to receive $154,000
- Hawaii is eligible to receive $554,000
- Nevada is eligible to receive $749,000
- Nationally, American Indian and Alaska Native water systems are eligible to receive $3,690,000
“EPA is committed to ensuring all Americans, regardless of their zip code, have access to safe and clean drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With these grants, EPA is fulfilling its core mission of providing states, tribes, and territories with the resources needed to protect children from lead exposure and other contaminants and ensure all American families have safe drinking water.”
States, tribes, and territories are eligible to receive funding from two new EPA drinking water grant programs established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN):
- Under EPA’s new Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program, EPA will award $43.7 million in grants to fund testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs. Testing results carried out using grant funds must be made publicly available.
- Under EPA’s new Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grant program, EPA will award $42.8 million in grants to support underserved communities with bringing public drinking water systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Funding can also be used for conducting household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.
Under the Trump Administration, EPA has taken significant actions to modernize aging water infrastructure and reduce exposure to contaminants in drinking water:
- In 2018 the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds committed $9.6 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure.
- Over the past year, EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program has issued eight loans totaling over $2 billion in WIFIA credit assistance to help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure projects.
- EPA is undertaking the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. EPA anticipates releasing the proposed rule in summer 2019.
EPA Begins 14 Reviews of Massachusetts Superfund Site Cleanups This Year
Boston – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to conduct 14 comprehensive reviews of site cleanups at National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund sites, including two Federal Facilities, across Massachusetts by performing required Five-Year Reviews of sites.
“It is a priority for EPA to make progress cleaning up Superfund sites across the country,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “Once a site or part of a site is cleaned up, it is important for EPA to conduct regular reviews of the cleanup to ensure that it remains protective of human health and the environment.”
“EPA’s Five-Year Reviews help to ensure that the cleanup at Superfund sites continue to meet the Commonwealth’s requirements, protecting public health and the environment,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg.
The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and endeavors to facilitate activities to return them to productive use.
Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.
EPA is actively involved in Superfund studies and cleanups at 40 sites across Massachusetts including Federal Facilities. There are many phases of the Superfund cleanup process including considering future use and redevelopment at sites and conducting post cleanup monitoring of sites. EPA must ensure remedies are protective of public health and the environment and any redevelopment will uphold the protectiveness into the future.
The NPL Superfund sites and Federal Facilities where EPA will begin work on Five-Year Reviews in 2019 are listed below. Please note, the web links listed provide detailed information on site status and past assessment and cleanup activity. Once the Five-Year Review is complete, a report of its findings will be posted to these websites. Most of the Five-Year Reviews will be completed in 2019, but some noted below will not be completed until Fiscal Year 2020. Additionally, some of the Five-Year Reviews listed below are scheduled to be completed this Fiscal year, but they began in Fiscal Year 2018, which is also noted.
The web link also provides contact information for the EPA project manager and community involvement coordinator at each site. Community members and local officials are invited to contact EPA with any comments or concerns about a Superfund site.
Five-Year Reviews beginning in 2019
Baird & McGuire, Holbrook, Mass.
Blackburn & Union Privileges, Walpole, Mass. (Five-Year Review to be completed in Fiscal Year 2020)
Hatheway & Patterson, Mansfield, Mass.
Hocomonco Pond, Westborough, Mass.
Industri-Plex, Woburn Mass. (Five-Year Review started in Fiscal Year 2018)
Norwood PCBS, Norwood, Mass. (Five-Year Review to be completed in Fiscal Year 2020)
Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump, (Five-Year Review started in Fiscal Year 2018)
Rose Disposal Pit, Lanesboro, Mass.
Silresim Chemical Corp., Lowell, Mass.
Sutton Brook Disposal Area, Tewksbury, Mass.
Wells G&H, Woburn, Mass (Five-Year Review started in Fiscal Year 2018)
W.R. Grace & Co. Inc., Acton, Mass.
Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Bedford, Mass.
South Weymouth Naval Air Station, South Weymouth, Mass. (Five-Year Review started in Fiscal Year 2018)
Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Support Electric Vehicle Technologies
$370,566 in Grants Awarded to 27 Groups for Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure
Massachusetts— The Baker-Polito Administration recently awarded grants totaling $370,566 to support alternative fuel vehicles and related infrastructure across the Commonwealth through the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) Fleets and Workplace Charging initiatives. The announcement, made during an Earth Week celebration at Brockton City Hall, builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector, and ensure electric vehicle charging stations are more widely available across Massachusetts. Grant recipients include municipal governments, public colleges and universities, and state agencies garaging fleet vehicles, and workplaces with 15 or more employees.
“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in addressing climate change through continued investments in transportation solutions that work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program is an important tool for the continued development of infrastructure and technologies that promote a cleaner, more resilient transportation system.”
“As our administration continues its efforts to promote an electrified transportation network, we look forward to working with stakeholders through the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program to encourage the transition to electric vehicles and continue to reduce emissions in the transportation sector,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
The MassEVIP Fleets program provides up to $7,500 per vehicle to purchase or lease plug-in EVs and up to another $7,500 to install the stations needed to charge them. The MassEVIP Workplace Charging program funds 60 percent of the cost of charging stations, up to $50,000 per address, for employers with at least 15 employees on-site. The MassEVIP Workplace Charging funds are part of Massachusetts $75 million allocation under the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal court case.
“Electric vehicles are a critical component to the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Massachusetts continues to create a cleaner and healthier environment for our residents through our innovative policies and programs and the choices made by residents, communities, and stakeholders.”
Since its inception in 2013, the MassEVIP Fleets program has provided $2.66 million to 83 separate public entities supporting 267 electric vehicles (EVs) and 92 publicly accessible EV charging stations.
“Reducing transportation sector emissions will be critical not only to climate mitigation efforts, but also to our efforts to improve air quality across the Commonwealth,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “In addition, over the lifetime of an electric vehicle, an owner can reduce fuel consumption by more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline, reducing fuel costs significantly.”
The City of Brockton, an early participant in MassEVIP, has already acquired 13 electric vehicles (EVs) through the Fleets Program, a decision based both on the economic benefits they provide as well as to promote its sustainable directives. The city also has six publicly accessible charging stations, and is adding a 14th electric vehicle to their fleet.
“This is just one of a number of projects Brockton has undertaken that has allowed us to earn Green Community status and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mayor Bill Carpenter. “We would not have been able to undertake this initiative without this unique grant opportunity from MassDEP. Brockton is a strong partner to MassDEP and remains committed to adopting new technologies that are environmentally friendly and have a positive benefit to our community.”
DEM, Partners Announce $15K in grants for Urban Forestry Projects Across Rhode
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Tree Council and National Grid has awarded $15,000 in grants for urban forestry projects across Rhode Island. The grants were announced this morning as part of an Arbor Day celebration in Woonsocket. Governor Gina M. Raimondo read a proclamation at the ceremony declaring today the 132nd anniversary of Arbor Day in Rhode Island.
“I’m proud of Rhode Island’s long tradition of celebrating Arbor Day and protecting our treasured tree resources,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “In addition to helping preserve and enrich our environment, trees play an important part in supporting quality of life and beautifying our communities. I can think of few things more relaxing than sitting beneath a shade tree and connecting with nature.”
“We are thrilled to be coming to Woonsocket for RI Arbor Day,” said RI Tree Chair Doris Alberg. “It’s a wonderful community with many fine historic buildings, restaurants and cultural centers. Come, join us as we plant a grove of shade trees to add to the city’s beauty for everyone to enjoy.”
“National Grid is committed to being at the forefront of the clean energy transition,” said Terry Sobolewski, president of National Grid Rhode Island. “This includes modernizing our gas and electric systems to support a pathway to the ’80×50′ goals. It also means investing in initiatives that benefit the environment and quality of life in our communities. We’re proud to support DEM’s annual Arbor Day celebration and the role it has in educating more people about the importance of Rhode Island’s trees.”
Seven America the Beautiful: Tree Rhode Island grants were awarded. The grants, made possible by the U.S. Forest Service with $22,500 in matching local funds, will fund tree plantings, educational programming, and community outreach. To date, DEM has awarded more than $5 million in grants under this program. Funded projects are as follows:
- City of Central Falls – $3,000 matched by $4,500 for tree planting in Central Falls as part of a neighborhood revitalization project
- City of Woonsocket – $3,000 matched by $4,500 to implement a set-back tree planting program
- Middletown Tree Association – $1,500 matched by $2,250 to plant and maintain trees at Middletown Valley Park
- Providence Forestry – $2,000 matched by $3,000 to create a website where Providence residents and stakeholders can learn about the forthcoming Urban Forest Plan process and access the recently completed Providence street tree inventory
- The Compass School – $1,500 matched by $2,250 to establish a food forest demonstration site at The Compass School Farm
- West Bay Land Trust – $1,500 matched by $2,250 to conduct outreach and publicity for the Cranston Neighborhood Tree Planting Program
- Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council – $2,500 matched by $3,750 to plant native trees along the Woonaquatucket River Greenway Bike Path
In addition to these awards, several municipalities were recognized for their efforts to green local communities as part of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program: Bristol, Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Jamestown, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, Portsmouth, Providence, Warren, Warwick, and West Warwick. Salve Regina University was recognized for its participation in the Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program.
Each year, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April to mark the importance of trees to our environment, culture, and economy. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 with more than one million tree plantings. Rhode Island began celebrating the day in 1887.