Aggregator

EPA Announces Revisions to the Velsicol Chemical Superfund Site Cleanup Plan

10 hours 59 minutes ago

CHICAGO (July 12, 2024) – On Monday, July 15, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin a 30-day public comment period on proposed revisions to the Velsicol Chemical Superfund site cleanup plan.  Revisions include repairing the existing slurry wall around the former plant site and removing the need to extend a collection system around monitoring well 19.  

On Wednesday, July 31, EPA will host a public meeting and accept comments on the proposed revisions to the cleanup plan at the community room in City Hall, 300 N. Mill St., St. Louis, Michigan. There will be a formal presentation about the modification to the cleanup plan, also known as an explanation of significant differences, followed by a question-and-answer period. At the end, EPA will accept formal comments from the public. To view the proposed modifications to the cleanup plan before the meeting, please visit EPA’s website.   

To submit a comment, send by mail to Diane Russell, community involvement coordinator, U.S. EPA Region 5, 1300 Bluff St., Suite 105, Flint, MI 48504; attend the public meeting on July 31 to provide an oral comment; or go to EPA’s Velsicol website and click the “Public Comment Form” and fill out a comment. Comments must be received before midnight on August 13.  

For more information about the Velsicol Chemical Superfund site, visit EPA’s website.    

Region 05

OMG Partners of Turlock, Calif. Penalized $140,000 for Fuel Spill that Reached San Francisco Bay

10 hours 59 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a proposed settlement with OMG Partners of Turlock, Calif. to resolve claims of Clean Water Act violations after one of the company’s tanker trucks overturned and a fuel product spilled into the roadway, Laguna Creek, Coyote Creek, and the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. The fuel reached the San Francisco Bay. The proposed settlement requires OMG Partners to pay a civil penalty of $140,000.

“Spilled fuel can cause severe harm to our waters, wildlife and ecosystems, so it’s imperative that it be transported in a safe manner,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “With this proposed settlement, EPA is showing our commitment to holding accountable entities that pollute waterways in the San Francisco Bay watershed.”

On Dec. 24, 2021, one of OMG Partners’ trucks was transporting 8,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline when it overturned in Fremont, Calif., releasing 7,900 gallons of gasoline, some of which flowed to Laguna Creek and subsequently into the San Francisco Bay. At the direction of EPA and California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), OMG Partners contractors placed booming in four locations: the main storm drain outfall, Laguna Creek, Agua Caliente, and Coyote Creek.

In the settlement, EPA alleges that OMG Partners’ tanker truck released unleaded gasoline in such quantities that may be harmful.

Additional Information:

For more information visit EPA’s public notice webpage.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X

Region 09

EPA Issues Order to City of Marietta, Ohio, to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations

10 hours 59 minutes ago

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an order issued to the city of Marietta, Ohio, to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the city’s wastewater treatment works, located at 440 East Eighth Street.

Pollutants including fecal coliform and E. coli were discharged in amounts that exceed permit limits into the Ohio River. On multiple occasions, untreated sewage was discharged to the Ohio River, the Muskingum River and a tributary to the Muskingum River. Under the order, the city is required to submit a plan to EPA for plant upgrades and collection system improvements to address the chronic permit effluent exceedances, treatment bypasses, and sanitary sewer overflows, along with other operations, maintenance, reporting, and monitoring violations discovered during a July 2023 inspection.

The city contains areas with environmental justice concerns. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

To learn more about the Clean Water Act, visit the EPA website.

To learn more about EPA’s enforcement process, visit its website.

Region 05

EPA New England Makes Healthy Communities Grants Available to Protect Public Health and the Environment in New England

10 hours 59 minutes ago

BOSTON (July 12, 2024)EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program is now accepting applications for projects of up to $40,000 in federal funding that will benefit New England communities in one or more target areas. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, November 1, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EPA plans to award approximately 15 cooperative agreements.,000 in federal funding that will benefit New England communities in one or more target areas. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, November 1, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EPA plans to award approximately 15 cooperative agreements.

"At EPA, we put the health and wellbeing of New England communities at the forefront of our work. However, many of our neighborhoods continue to face significant environmental challenges that can affect public health," said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "The Healthy Communities Grant program will provide critical funding in the form of small-scale grants to support local projects. Empowering communities means that together we can achieve positive results for a cleaner, healthier environment for all New England residents."

The Healthy Communities Grant Program offer grants for entities to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks to protect and improve human health and the quality of life, advance resilience, and preserve or restore important ecosystems. Projects must be aligned with one or more of the four Target Investment Areas (Areas near Ports that are being Redeveloped to Support Offshore Wind and Related Industries; Geographic Priority Areas or Sectors in Northern & Southern New England; Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern; and/or Sensitive Populations), and identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental or public health results in one or more of the seven Target Program Areas (Capacity Building on Environmental and/or Public Health Issues; Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Energy Efficiency; Healthy Indoor Environments; Healthy Outdoor Environments; Pollution Prevention; and Sustainable Materials Management).

Full descriptions of the target areas can be found in the 2024 Healthy Communities Grant Program Request for Applications.

Eligible applicants include state and local governments, public nonprofit institutions or organizations, private nonprofit institutions or organizations, quasi-public nonprofit institutions or organizations, federally recognized Tribal Governments, K-12 schools or school districts, and nonprofit organizations, such as grassroots and community-based organizations. Funding will be considered for a college or university to support a project with substantial community or Tribal involvement.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend one of four information sessions to learn more about the application process and ask questions. Information sessions will take place at the following times:

July 16, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

August 14, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

September 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

October 2, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET

Visit the Healthy Communities webpage to register for an information session, access the Request for Applications and learn more about the program.

Region 01

The Water Tower Institute, Inc., based Buford, Georgia among national recipients of $20 Million in Water Workforce Training and Career Development as Part of Investing in America Agenda

1 day 10 hours ago

ATLANTA (July 11, 2024) –Today, July 11, As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing over $20 million to 13 workforce development organizations across the nation under its Innovative Water Workforce Development Grant Program, which supports expanding career opportunities in the drinking water and wastewater utility sector. This announcement comes as White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su travel to Philadelphia today to host the inaugural convening of the city’s Investing in America Workforce Hub. The Philadelphia Workforce Hub will support the workforce needed to deliver on the city’s water and transportation projects spurred by the President’s Investing in America agenda.

“In every community in America, water and wastewater utility workers are unsung heroes ensuring that families and businesses have access to reliable, clean and safe water services,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Bruno Pigott. “As the water sector faces a wave of retirements, EPA is prioritizing the sustainability of the water workforce and the resilience of our water systems and communities with this $20 million program.”

Across the country, water infrastructure workers make possible the delivery of clean, safe water services to millions of Americans. EPA’s Innovative Water Workforce Development Grant Program complements the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government strategy to create good-paying, family-supporting jobs in the communities they serve. The grant program also develops the apprenticeship programs, labor standards, and other tools needed to ensure a strong pipeline of workers and high-quality jobs. 

EPA is selecting 13 recipients at regional and national organizations to implement a broad range of programs under the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program:

  • Multiplier/WaterNow Alliance (CA): $760,463.31
  • American Water Works Association (CO): $852,000
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (DC): $1,000,000
  • The Water Tower Institute, Inc (GA): $1,942,378
  • Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (HI): $1,000,000
  • Wichita State University (KS): $414,250
  • Baltimore City Department of Public Works (MD): $914,500
  • Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. (MD): $999,520
  • Grand Rapids Community College (MI): $1,000,000
  • Board of Regents Nevada System of Higher Education (NV): $999,153
  • University of New Mexico (NM): $600,000
  • National Rural Water Association (OK): $5,594,000
  • Energy Innovation Center Institute, Inc. (PA): $4,900,000

The grants will expand public awareness about job opportunities in the drinking water and wastewater utility sector and will address the workforce needs of drinking water and wastewater utilities. Activities that will be funded under this competition include:

  • Targeted internship, apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and post-secondary bridge programs.
  • Education programs designed for elementary, secondary, and higher education students.
  • Regional industry and workforce development collaborations to address water utility employment needs and coordinate candidate development.
  • Integrated learning laboratories in secondary educational institutions.
  • Leadership development, occupational training, mentoring, or cross-training programs that ensure incumbent drinking water and wastewater utility workers are prepared for higher-level supervisory or management-level positions.

EPA plans to award the recipients a grant once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. Funding this program furthers the agency’s goals of a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans and future generations.

Learn more about EPA’s Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Program.

Region 04

EPA Releases New Science-Based Recommendations to Help More States, Tribes, and Territories Reduce Exposure to PFAS in Fish

1 day 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON Today, July 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued updated recommendations under the Clean Water Act for contaminants that states, Tribes, and territories should consider monitoring in locally caught, freshwater fish. For the first time, EPA has added several per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) to the contaminant list alongside lead, three cyanotoxins, a flame retardant, and amphetamine. The recommendation to monitor for twelve PFAS fulfills a key commitment in Administrator Regan’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and helps protect communities from exposure to these “forever chemicals.”

“It’s important for EPA to continue advancing the science on PFAS as part of our comprehensive effort to protect the public from these harmful substances,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “By considering the latest science in their local advisories and testing for PFAS in fish at a local level, states and Tribes can protect subsistence, recreational, and sport fishers.”

States, Tribes, and territories monitor and analyze contaminants in fish and shellfish caught in local, fresh waterbodies. When they find contaminants at concentrations that can negatively impact people’s health, they issue consumption advisories. Some state and territorial programs that issue fish and shellfish advisories rely on EPA’s recommendations to determine which contaminants to monitor.   

Many states are already monitoring for certain PFAS in fish and using local data to issue fish consumption advisories where appropriate. Examples of states that have advisories in place include Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

With this announcement, EPA is suggesting that states, Tribes, and territories monitor for twelve PFAS and other contaminants including lead, cyanotoxins, a flame retardant, and amphetamine. This update comes after reviewing scientific literature, analyzing data, and seeking external peer review of the agency’s analysis, and it will help ensure that state and Tribal fish advisories consider the latest science. 

EPA’s most recent National Aquatic Resource Survey, which monitors fish tissue from lakes and streams across the country, and numerous other studies have found PFAS in freshwater fish and shellfish at levels that may impact human health. These studies indicate the presence of PFAS in fish, but they do not give enough information at a local level to inform public health decisions, which is why the role of states, Tribes, and territories in gathering local data is essential.

EPA recommends that people who eat locally-caught, freshwater fish and shellfish caught in local rivers and lakes consult their state, Tribe, or territory to determine the safe amount of those fish and shellfish to eat.

View EPA’s lists of contaminants to monitor and learn more about EPA Guidance for Developing Fish Advisories.

Water (OW)

EPA Announces $14 Million WIFIA Loan to Develop Drought Solutions in California

1 day 10 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $14.8 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Palmdale Water District (PWD) in southern California. This WIFIA loan will assist the district’s regional advanced water augmentation program to expand the water supply by establishing a drought-proof drinking water supply for over 125,000 residents.

“California is no stranger to drought impacts, and we are seeing a need for communities to invest in drought resilient water supply as they prepare for future climate stress,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “We are thrilled to help the Palmdale Water District advance their project ensuring a plentiful and resilient water supply through EPA’s low-cost financing. The Biden-Harris Administration has been prioritizing critical water infrastructure projects across the country through the investing in America agenda.”

The is developing an advanced water augmentation program to purify recycled water for potable use for its residents. By using recycled water, the district will create a reliable water supply and provide an alternative to the drought-affected Antelope Valley Basin.

With this WIFIA loan, the district will construct a small-scale advanced water purification demonstration facility to conduct necessary water testing. They will also test an emerging technology, called direct air capture, which is designed to transform brine into a solvent. It will capture carbon dioxide, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower operation and maintenance costs. The district will use information collected at the demonstration facility to complete planning, design and construction of the full-scale advanced water purification facility and new groundwater injection wells.

“We are grateful to the EPA for awarding this loan for our Pure Water Antelope Valley Demonstration Facility,” said PWD General Manager Dennis D. LaMoreaux. “It gives us the funds needed to build a project that will enable us to be more drought-proof, have local control of our water, and improve the groundwater quality and quantity.”

This is the first WIFIA loan under a master agreement that will commit a total of $145 million to develop its advanced water purification program. With this first loan, the district is expected to save $4 million in interest compared to traditional financing and create about 50 jobs.

Since 2018, the EPA’s WIFIA program has announced over $20 billion in financing to support more than $44 billion in water infrastructure projects that are strengthening drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure while creating over 140,000 jobs.

Learn more about the EPA’s WIFIA Program and water infrastructure investments under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan program administered by the EPA. The WIFIA program aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs.

The EPA is currently in its seventh selection round for WIFIA financing. In this round, the EPA is offering $6.5 billion through WIFIA, and $1 billion through SWIFIA, which is a loan program exclusively for State infrastructure financing authority borrowers. EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. Learn more about submitting a letter of interest for a WIFIA loan.

In addition to WIFIA loans, there are many federal funding resources available for communities and utilities to improve vital water and wastewater resources. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s water infrastructure.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

Region 09

EPA and Justice Department announce $241.5M settlement with Marathon Oil to reduce climate- and health-harming emissions in North Dakota

1 day 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced a settlement with Marathon Oil Company resolving Clean Air Act violations at the company’s oil and gas production operations on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The settlement requires that Marathon pay a civil penalty of $64.5 million, the largest ever for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources, which include facilities such as oil and gas tank systems. Under the settlement agreement, Marathon will implement extensive compliance measures to achieve major reductions in harmful emissions from over 200 facilities across the state.

The case is the first of its kind against an oil and gas producer for violations of major source emissions permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. The complaint alleges that these and other Clean Air Act violations at nearly 90 Marathon facilities resulted in thousands of tons of illegal pollution, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide, which contribute to asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses. Additionally, greenhouse gases, including methane, were released in large quantities, contributing to climate change.

While Marathon is the nation’s 22nd largest producer of oil based on 2022 data, it is the 7th largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry. A large portion of these emissions come from flaring, an industry practice that releases methane, a climate super-pollutant. The work that Marathon will do under this agreement will result in the equivalent of over 2.25 million tons of reduced carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years, similar to the number of reductions achieved by taking 487,000 cars off the road for one year. The settlement will also eliminate nearly 110,000 tons of VOC emissions.

“Today’s record Clean Air Act settlement is the most significant to date under EPA’s climate enforcement initiative and makes clear that EPA will hold corporate polluters like Marathon accountable for violations that put communities and our futures at risk,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The $64.5 million Clean Air Act penalty and the substantial measures Marathon must take to reduce its harmful air emissions demonstrate that EPA will not allow oil and gas companies to put corporate profits ahead of protecting communities and the environment. As a result of today’s settlement, Marathon will dramatically cut its emissions of methane, a climate super-pollutant that is dozens of times more potent in the near term than carbon dioxide.  EPA is committed to doing everything possible to limit climate change and promote a sustainable future.”

“This historic settlement – the largest ever civil penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources – will ensure cleaner air for the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and other communities in North Dakota, while holding Marathon accountable for its illegal pollution,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  “The complaint alleges that Clean Air Act violations at nearly 90 Marathon facilities resulted in thousands of tons of illegal emissions.  The work that Marathon will do under this agreement will result in the equivalent of over 2.25 million tons of reduced carbon-dioxide emissions over the next five years and also eliminate nearly 110,000 tons of VOC emissions.  The Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce our environmental laws to protect the health of the American people.”

“This settlement is a major win for the health and future of our Tribal communities, including people and families who are often overburdened by pollution,” said KC Becker, EPA Region 8 Administrator. “As a result of the agreement, Marathon has and will continue to take comprehensive measures to come into compliance and reduce harmful emissions across hundreds of production sources. These investments will improve air quality and reduce respiratory illnesses across the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and western North Dakota.” 

“The record civil penalty and extensive compliance measures, including an innovative cap on VOC emissions, set a benchmark for the Department’s enforcement efforts at oil and gas production facilities,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Those who are historically overburdened by pollution are the most at risk of being harmed by these emissions. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing laws such as the Clean Air Act to protect the health of everyone in the United States, including Tribal Nations and their members.”

“This landmark settlement will ensure cleaner air throughout the State of North Dakota and substantially reduce pollutants that contribute to global warming,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to taking strong action to ensure that oil and gas production operations across the nation comply with environmental laws designed to protect human health and the environment.”

The agreement requires Marathon to invest in extensive compliance measures estimated to cost $177 million, much of which will be implemented by the end of 2024. The settlement requires Marathon to obtain permits with federally enforceable emissions limits at production facilities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and future operations in the state of North Dakota. Compliance measures also include flare monitoring, periodic infrared camera inspections and implementation of storage tank design requirements.

These actions will significantly reduce harmful health-related emissions from 169 existing facilities on state land and on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, as well as at new facilities built in North Dakota.

The complaint alleges that Marathon failed to obtain required preconstruction permits under the PSD program and operating permits under the Title V program, which represents a larger industry practice of permitting avoidance that is coming under tighter scrutiny.

The settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, Mitigating Climate Change. This initiative focuses, in part, on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas and landfill sources. Like all of EPA’s national enforcement initiatives, this initiative prioritizes communities already overburdened by pollution and other potential environmental justice concerns.

The consent decree was filed with the United States District Court, District of North Dakota, Western Division and is subject to a 30-day comment period. The complaint and the proposed consent decree is available on the Justice Department’s Proposed Consent Decree web page.

More information on the settlement agreement is available on the Agency’s Marathon Oil Company 2024 Clean Air Act Stationary Source Settlement web page.

Background

The complaint also alleges failure to comply with storage tank design, operation and maintenance requirements at facilities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The settlement requires Marathon to obtain permits for its existing facilities on the Reservation and for new facilities it builds in North Dakota. These actions will cap VOC emissions at under 100 tons per year.

The settlement further requires auditor checks on Marathon’s permit applications and ongoing audits of emissions from its facilities. Marathon must temporarily stop production if facility-wide emissions limits are exceeded or if flares are not operating properly.

In addition to three other projects to reduce emissions, Marathon will purchase two infrared cameras for use by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation during oil and natural gas production facility inspections.

A major part of this case is the reduction of flaring at the facility. Flaring burns harmful natural gas components such as VOCs and methane, but the process is not 100% efficient. These inefficiencies, combined with improper flare operation, result in excess emissions being released to the atmosphere and can have health impacts on the surrounding communities.

Region 08

EPA and Justice Department Announce $241.5M Settlement with Marathon Oil to Reduce Climate- and Health-Harming Emissions in North Dakota

1 day 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, July 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced a settlement with Marathon Oil Company resolving Clean Air Act violations at the company’s oil and gas production operations on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The settlement requires that Marathon pay a civil penalty of $64.5 million, the largest ever for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources, which include facilities such as oil and gas tank systems. Under the settlement agreement, Marathon will implement extensive compliance measures to achieve major reductions in harmful emissions from over 200 facilities across the state.

The case is the first of its kind against an oil and gas producer for violations of major source emissions permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program. The complaint alleges that these and other Clean Air Act violations at nearly 90 Marathon facilities resulted in thousands of tons of illegal pollution, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide, which contribute to asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses. Additionally, greenhouse gases, including methane, were released in large quantities, contributing to climate change.

While Marathon is the nation’s 22nd largest producer of oil based on 2022 data, it is the 7th largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry. A large portion of these emissions come from flaring, an industry practice that releases methane, a climate super-pollutant. The work that Marathon will do under this agreement will result in the equivalent of over 2.25 million tons of reduced carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years, similar to the number of reductions achieved by taking 487,000 cars off the road for one year. The settlement will also eliminate nearly 110,000 tons of VOC emissions.

“Today’s record Clean Air Act settlement is the most significant to date under EPA’s climate enforcement initiative and makes clear that EPA will hold corporate polluters like Marathon accountable for violations that put communities and our futures at risk,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The $64.5 million Clean Air Act penalty and the substantial measures Marathon must take to reduce its harmful air emissions demonstrate that EPA will not allow oil and gas companies to put corporate profits ahead of protecting communities and the environment. As a result of today’s settlement, Marathon will dramatically cut its emissions of methane, a climate super-pollutant that is dozens of times more potent in the near term than carbon dioxide.  EPA is committed to doing everything possible to limit climate change and promote a sustainable future.”

“This historic settlement – the largest ever civil penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act at stationary sources – will ensure cleaner air for the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and other communities in North Dakota, while holding Marathon accountable for its illegal pollution,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  “The complaint alleges that Clean Air Act violations at nearly 90 Marathon facilities resulted in thousands of tons of illegal emissions.  The work that Marathon will do under this agreement will result in the equivalent of over 2.25 million tons of reduced carbon-dioxide emissions over the next five years and also eliminate nearly 110,000 tons of VOC emissions.  The Justice Department will continue to vigorously enforce our environmental laws to protect the health of the American people.”

“This settlement is a major win for the health and future of our Tribal communities, including people and families who are often overburdened by pollution,” said KC Becker, EPA Region 8 Administrator. “As a result of the agreement, Marathon has and will continue to take comprehensive measures to come into compliance and reduce harmful emissions across hundreds of production sources. These investments will improve air quality and reduce respiratory illnesses across the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and western North Dakota.” 

“The record civil penalty and extensive compliance measures, including an innovative cap on VOC emissions, set a benchmark for the Department’s enforcement efforts at oil and gas production facilities,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Those who are historically overburdened by pollution are the most at risk of being harmed by these emissions. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing laws such as the Clean Air Act to protect the health of everyone in the United States, including Tribal Nations and their members.”

“This landmark settlement will ensure cleaner air throughout the State of North Dakota and substantially reduce pollutants that contribute to global warming,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to taking strong action to ensure that oil and gas production operations across the nation comply with environmental laws designed to protect human health and the environment.”

The agreement requires Marathon to invest in extensive compliance measures estimated to cost $177 million, much of which will be implemented by the end of 2024. The settlement requires Marathon to obtain permits with federally enforceable emissions limits at production facilities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and future operations in the state of North Dakota. Compliance measures also include flare monitoring, periodic infrared camera inspections and implementation of storage tank design requirements.

These actions will significantly reduce harmful health-related emissions from 169 existing facilities on state land and on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, as well as at new facilities built in North Dakota.

The complaint alleges that Marathon failed to obtain required preconstruction permits under the PSD program and operating permits under the Title V program, which represents a larger industry practice of permitting avoidance that is coming under tighter scrutiny.

The settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, Mitigating Climate Change. This initiative focuses, in part, on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas and landfill sources. Like all of EPA’s national enforcement initiatives, this initiative prioritizes communities already overburdened by pollution and other potential environmental justice concerns.

The consent decree was filed with the United States District Court, District of North Dakota, Western Division and is subject to a 30-day comment period. The complaint and the proposed consent decree is available on the Justice Department’s Proposed Consent Decree web page.

More information on the settlement agreement is available on the Agency’s Marathon Oil Company 2024 Clean Air Act Stationary Source Settlement web page.

Background

The complaint also alleges failure to comply with storage tank design, operation and maintenance requirements at facilities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The settlement requires Marathon to obtain permits for its existing facilities on the Reservation and for new facilities it builds in North Dakota. These actions will cap VOC emissions at under 100 tons per year.

The settlement further requires auditor checks on Marathon’s permit applications and ongoing audits of emissions from its facilities. Marathon must temporarily stop production if facility-wide emissions limits are exceeded or if flares are not operating properly.

In addition to three other projects to reduce emissions, Marathon will purchase two infrared cameras for use by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation during oil and natural gas production facility inspections.

A major part of this case is the reduction of flaring at the facility. Flaring burns harmful natural gas components such as VOCs and methane, but the process is not 100% efficient. These inefficiencies, combined with improper flare operation, result in excess emissions being released to the atmosphere and can have health impacts on the surrounding communities.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA Invests $20 Million in Water Workforce Training and Career Development as Part of Investing in America Agenda

1 day 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, July 11, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing over $20 million to 13 workforce development organizations across the nation under its Innovative Water Workforce Development Grant Program, which supports expanding career opportunities in the drinking water and wastewater utility sector. This announcement comes as White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su travel to Philadelphia today to host the inaugural convening of the city’s Investing in America Workforce Hub. The Philadelphia Workforce Hub will support the workforce needed to deliver on the city’s water and transportation projects spurred by the President’s Investing in America agenda.

“In every community in America, water and wastewater utility workers are unsung heroes ensuring that families and businesses have access to reliable, clean and safe water services,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Bruno Pigott. “As the water sector faces a wave of retirements, EPA is prioritizing the sustainability of the water workforce and the resilience of our water systems and communities with this $20 million program.”

Across the country, water infrastructure workers make possible the delivery of clean, safe water services to millions of Americans. EPA’s Innovative Water Workforce Development Grant Program complements the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government strategy to create good-paying, family-supporting jobs in the communities they serve. The grant program also develops the apprenticeship programs, labor standards, and other tools needed to ensure a strong pipeline of workers and high-quality jobs. 

EPA is selecting 13 recipients at regional and national organizations to implement a broad range of programs under the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program:

  • Multiplier/WaterNow Alliance (CA): $760,463.31
  • American Water Works Association (CO): $852,000
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (DC): $1,000,000
  • The Water Tower Institute, Inc (GA): $1,942,378
  • Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (HI): $1,000,000
  • Wichita State University (KS): $414,250
  • Baltimore City Department of Public Works (MD): $914,500
  • Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. (MD): $999,520
  • Grand Rapids Community College (MI): $1,000,000
  • Board of Regents Nevada System of Higher Education (NV): $999,153
  • University of New Mexico (NM): $600,000
  • National Rural Water Association (OK): $5,594,000
  • Energy Innovation Center Institute, Inc. (PA): $4,900,000

The grants will expand public awareness about job opportunities in the drinking water and wastewater utility sector and will address the workforce needs of drinking water and wastewater utilities. Activities that will be funded under this competition include:

  • Targeted internship, apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and post-secondary bridge programs.
  • Education programs designed for elementary, secondary, and higher education students.
  • Regional industry and workforce development collaborations to address water utility employment needs and coordinate candidate development.
  • Integrated learning laboratories in secondary educational institutions.
  • Leadership development, occupational training, mentoring, or cross-training programs that ensure incumbent drinking water and wastewater utility workers are prepared for higher-level supervisory or management-level positions.

EPA plans to award the recipients a grant once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. Funding this program furthers the agency’s goals of a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans and future generations.

Learn more about EPA’s Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Program.

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Updated press release to correct award amounts for the American Water Works Association and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership.

Water (OW)

EPA Announces Modified Settlement with Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to Address Combined Sewer Overflows

2 days 10 hours ago

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed modification to the 2011 settlement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to address the flow of untreated sewage into Cleveland-area waterways and Lake Erie. This modification will affect the city of Cleveland and 61 surrounding communities.

The proposed modification amends two major elements of the 2011 settlement:

  • implementation requirements to decrease combined sewer overflow volumes beyond what was previously required,
  • and chemically enhance the high-rate treatment facility at NEORSD’s Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, resulting in fewer overflows.

The proposed modification will provide NEORSD extra time to achieve the additional combined sewer overflow volume reductions until Dec. 31, 2034. NEORSD will expand five of its six deep tunnels to capture the additional discharges for full treatment. NEORSD is also required to complete construction of its last deep tunnel, the Big Creek Tunnel, by Dec. 31, 2034, one year earlier than currently required.

At the Easterly plant, the original consent decree required construction of a chemically enhanced high-rate treatment facility capable of treating 400 million gallons per day of flow. The proposed modification requires construction of alternative measures -- a flow diversion structure, deep tunnel drop structure and a smaller, 175-million gallons per day facility -- which together will result in the same or better level of CSO control as the larger treatment facility.

The proposed modification will be available for public comment no less than 30 days from the date official notice of the lodging in the Federal Register. After considering and responding to comments received, the United States will determine whether to proceed with the proposed modification. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice website

Region 05

EPA and Partners Complete Cleanup and Restoration, Open New Trail at Spirit Lake near Duluth, Minnesota

2 days 10 hours ago

CHICAGO (July 10, 2024) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the completion of a four-year, $186 million sediment cleanup and habitat restoration project at Spirit Lake near Duluth, Minnesota. EPA contributed $92 million to the project, including funding provided through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in a cost-sharing partnership with U.S. Steel.

The completion of this work allowed for construction of a new two-mile-long waterfront trail, which was officially opened to the public today by Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore, Mayor Roger Reinert and project parters.

“With today’s grand opening, we’re seeing firsthand how Great Lakes Legacy Act partnerships are transforming affected land and water into restored ecosystems and recreational opportunities,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Debra Shore. “Thanks to this investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the support of our many partners, a significant portion of a legacy contaminated site has been cleaned up and restored to beautiful habitat, and we’re one step closer to restoring the entire St. Louis Area of Concern.”

“For decades, excessive pollution in and around the St. Louis River watershed kept Minnesotans away," said Sen. Tina Smith. "Completing the cleanup at Spirit Lake and opening a new pedestrian trail is a huge step toward reviving public access to this natural resource and keeping the St. Louis River watershed and Lake Superior clean for generations to come."

“This vital project and investment moves us one step closer to our ultimate goal of removing one of the Great Lakes’ most important waterways from the Great Lakes Area of Concern List,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Deputy Commissioner Peter Tester. “In partnering with federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as other stakeholders, our work to restore and revitalize the St. Louis River will support healthy families, recreation, and a vibrant local economy well into the future.”

“U.S. Steel is excited to join EPA and our local partners in celebrating the official opening of the new recreational amenities along the Spirit Lake project site on the St. Louis River,” said U.S. Steel Senior Director of Environmental Remediation Mark Rupnow. “The significant environmental improvements to the St. Louis River Estuary and the former site of Duluth Works were only made possible by the collaboration and perseverance of the project partners. The area will provide an environmentally engaging space for years to come.”

The Spirit Lake site is located south of the Morgan Park neighborhood in Duluth, within the St. Louis River Area of Concern. The purpose of the project was to address chemicals in the sediment, primarily polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, and heavy metals including lead, copper and zinc. Work began in 2020 and continued throughout 2023. In total, 1.3 million cubic yards of impacted material was remediated. 460,000 cubic yards of sediment were dredged and placed into two newly built disposal facilities at the site. Protective caps were also placed over 96 acres of aquatic habitat. The project resulted in extensive restoration and habitat enhancement, including the creation of a new 42-acre shallow sheltered bay for fish spawning habitat.

This project is part of the larger effort to restore and delist the St. Louis River as a Great Lakes area of concern. EPA managed the Spirit Lake cleanup under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, a voluntary cleanup program funded by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As the non-federal sponsor, U.S. Steel provided project management, technical expertise, and covered the remainder of project costs.

Some of EPA’s portion of the funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $1 billion investment to accelerate cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes. The agency is leveraging this funding with annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative appropriations and funding from other sources to finish cleanups and restoration at the remaining 22 United States areas of concern. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding directly supports 11 of these cleanups, including those in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.   

More information about the project is available on EPA’s Spirit Lake webpage.

Region 05

EPA Invites Public Comment on Review that Shows Progress and Need for More Data After Historic Hudson River PCB Cleanup

2 days 10 hours ago

NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its third review of the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Upper Hudson River. The EPA’s review concludes that PCB levels in water and fish are going down overall, but the EPA needs more years of fish data to determine if the cleanup is meeting the expectations of the original cleanup plan. The EPA will issue an addendum to the current five-year review report as soon as sufficient fish data is available, as early as next year. The EPA expects to issue the addendum no later than the end of 2027. The report also contains the EPA’s proposal for expanded monitoring and special studies to bolster the data on which to base its conclusions. The EPA is accepting public comment on the draft report until October 8 to ensure maximum transparency.

“The EPA continues to work on multiple fronts to address the contamination throughout the Upper and Lower Hudson River and will ensure General Electric Company (GE) remains accountable for the PCBs that came from their manufacturing plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, New York,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “Today we are announcing a 90-day public comment period on the latest five-year review and appreciate the intense public interest and continued input as we work to clean up the Hudson River.”

The EPA’s draft Five-Year Review is based on sound scientific analysis and an extensive evaluation of the data. The EPA looked at all the water, fish and sediment data collected between 2016-2021, and the preliminary fish data from 2022.

Consistent with conclusions in the Agency’s last review, the EPA needs a minimum of eight years of fish data after dredging to begin to draw science-based conclusions about the rate of recovery in the fish. The eighth year of fish sampling will be completed this fall. The results of that sampling will be available in 2025.

The EPA also needs more years of data to fully evaluate the PCB levels in the river bottom sediment. The next sediment sampling is in 2026. The EPA could make a protectiveness determination sooner based on the fish data.

“The extensive dredging project set the course, but the road to recovery for the Hudson River is long,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “Over the next few years, we expect to have the data we need to identify reliable trends. If the fish data shows that the recovery isn’t happening as quickly as we expected, we will take the necessary actions to improve it.”  

The EPA collects and reviews monitoring data every year to evaluate how the river is recovering since dredging ended in 2015. Because the latest report identifies several uneven patterns of recovery in fish, the EPA is looking more closely at water, fish and sediment in specific areas of the river. The five-year review includes these special studies as a series of recommendations and follow-up items in the report. Some of these studies are already underway. The data they collect will help the EPA understand how well the river is recovering and guide the Agency’s next steps. The EPA expects GE’s continued cooperation with the ongoing evaluation of the recovery of the river.  

The EPA selected its two-part cleanup plan for the Upper Hudson River in 2002, which called for dredging to remove approximately 2.7 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from the river bottom, followed by an extended period of natural recovery – a gradual period of improvement in water, fish and sediment that the EPA projected would occur over a more than 50-year timeframe. The primary purpose of the cleanup is to reduce PCB levels in fish to protect people and wildlife that eat the fish. The cleanup plan also included reconstructing habitats impacted by the dredging, which included extensive seeding and planting.

Fish consumption restrictions and advisories are a part of the cleanup plan the EPA selected for the Upper Hudson River and will continue to be necessary to protect people’s health. The restrictions and advisories are designed to help inform people about the risks from eating fish contaminated with PCBs to reduce the risk from people eating the fish that they catch. The restrictions in the Upper Hudson River will need to remain in place until PCB levels in fish are reduced and New York State determines that changes can be made to the restrictions.  

It’s important that people are aware of and follow the fishing restrictions and fish consumption advisories set by New York State. The EPA is working closely with the New York State Department of Health to support their education and outreach program to inform area newcomers and others who may be looking to the river as a food source.  

The EPA is actively working in all parts of the river to study and address PCBs. In the Upper Hudson River, an extensive floodplain study is underway to evaluate PCB contamination in soil in shoreline areas along a 43-mile stretch of river between Hudson Falls and Troy, NY. The Agency is also overseeing the deconstruction of the Powerhouse and Allen Mill in Hudson Falls, NY – two structures located adjacent to the former GE Hudson Falls plant. Last spring, the EPA began an investigation in the lower Hudson River under a new agreement with GE which includes extensive fish, water and sediment sampling between Troy and the Battery in New York City.

The third Five-Year Review report is available on the EPA Hudson River PCBs site webpage.

During the 90-day public comment period, which runs to October 8, comments can be sent by mail or email to:

Gary Klawinski, Director

EPA Region 2, Hudson River Office

187 Wolf Road, Suite 303

Albany, NY 12205

Email comments to epahrfo@outlook.com

The EPA will hold a virtual public information meeting on August 21 at 6 p.m. EST to discuss the five-year review process, findings, and determination. For more information and to register.

Follow EPA Region 2 on X and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

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Region 02

EPA selects Ivy Academy to receive $100,000 to support environmental education across Tennessee

3 days 10 hours ago

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 9, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the Ivy Academy, a public charter school serving Chattanooga, to receive a $100,000 Environmental Education Grant for climate education across the state. The selectee is the first public school in Tennessee to partner with Tennessee State Parks for the high school majors in environmentally related fields.

“Congratulations to our environmental education grant winners in the Southeast area,” said Acting Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle. “Investing in environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, as well as provide participants in its programs the skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions.”

The projects supported by these grants aim to increase public awareness of environmental issues and provide skills so participants can make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. The funding for the Ivy Academy is one of 38 grants nationwide announced by EPA.

“It is a huge honor to have the esteemed EPA believe in Ivy Academy and pour into this dream with such generous financial support,” said Holly Slater, M.Ed. Executive Director Ivy Academy.

Ivy Academy: Tennessee Environmental Education Conference and Cohort

Through this project, Ivy Academy will partner with the Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA) to create the Tennessee Environmental Education Conference and Cohort (TEECC), serving all of Tennessee. Educators, particularly from counties with high poverty and Title I Schools, will be recruited to participate in one of two year-long environmental education cohorts focused on climate change. The project priorities include: environmental education capacity building, addressing climate change and improving air quality, and increasing climate literacy in K-12 classrooms.

EPA anticipates providing funding for this project once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.7 million in EE grant funding each year, for a total of over $95.1 million supporting more than 3,960 projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques. For more information visit EPA’s Environmental Education webpage.   

To learn more about current and past award winners, or to apply for future EE grant competitions, visit the Environmental Education Grants webpage. This website will be updated as future competitions are announced and additional grants are awarded.  

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Region 04

EPA Selects Youth Environmental Alliance to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education across Broward and Palm Beach Counties

3 days 10 hours ago

TALLAHASSE, Fla. (July 9, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of Florida’s education organization Youth Environmental Alliance to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education across Broward and Palm Beach counties. The selectee provides immersive programs for youth, companies and communities that focus on natural sciences, sustainability, resilience and environmental stewardship.

“Congratulations to our environmental education grant winners in the Southeast area,” said Acting Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle. “Investing in environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, as well as provide participants in its programs the skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions.”

This grant funding aims to increase public awareness of environmental issues and provide skills so participants can make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. The funding for the Youth Environmental Alliance is one of 38 grants nationwide announced by EPA.

“We are so excited to get started with Project EEASY (Education and Engagement to Active Stewardship with YEA) food forest installations at 10 lucky schools, followed by ongoing lessons of how to use food forests for sustainable living,” said Kristen Hoss, Executive Director Youth Environmental Alliance. “We are looking forward to teaching hands-on science lessons followed by meaningful eco action in order to empower children to enact positive change in their lives and for the planet.”

Youth Environmental Alliance: Project EEASY-Education and Engagement to Active Stewardship with YEA.

Project EEASY is designed to follow an awareness to action model which educates participants in formal and non-formal settings. EEASY programs are designed and proven to increase student and public knowledge and awareness through experiments and simulations designed to utilize critical thinking in order to solve problems related to climate change, water quality and environmental injustice in order to make decisions. The educational components of the project are followed by engaging the participants in actions that teach them skills necessary to become stewards of their environment and empower them to protect themselves against some of the environmental injustices they face. This project focuses on educational and environmental priorities community projects: environmental justice, climate change, improving air quality, ensuring clean and safe water and cleaning up our communities by revitalizing and preventing contamination.

EPA anticipates providing funding for this project once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.7 million in EE grant funding each year, for a total of over $95.1 million supporting more than 3,960 projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques. For more information visit EPA’s Environmental Education webpage.   

To learn more about current and past award winners, or to apply for future EE grant competitions, visit the Environmental Education Grants webpage. This website will be updated as future competitions are announced and additional grants are awarded.

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Region 04

EPA Selects National Wildlife Federation to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education in metro Atlanta

3 days 10 hours ago

ATLANTA (July 9, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of National Wildlife Federation to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education across in metro Atlanta. This project will engage 8 Title 1 schools, 240 underserved minority students, 20 teachers, and 30 community members in Georgia’s Greater Metro Atlanta region in climate education, climate resilience, and action.

“Congratulations to our environmental education grant winners in the Southeast area,” said Acting Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle. “Investing in environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, as well as provide participants in its programs the skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions.”

This grant funding aims to increase public awareness of environmental issues and provide skills so participants can make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. The funding for the National Wildlife Federation is one of 38 grants nationwide announced by EPA.

“The National Wildlife Federation is deeply honored and grateful to the EPA for selecting Eco-Schools U.S. Atlanta as a grant winner, said Sarah Holt, Foundation Relation Officer National Wildlife Federation. “This recognition underscores our shared commitment to preserving our environment and wildlife via education. With this support, we will continue our vital work towards conservation and sustainability by creating the next generation of environmental stewards that will ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”

National Wildlife Federation: Eco-Schools U.S. Atlanta

The implementation of NWF’s Eco-Schools US (ESUS) “Action Cards” aligned to Georgia’s Science Standards of Excellence will address the lack of standardized and robust climate change education guidelines and knowledge of local climate change vulnerabilities. This project focuses on educational and environmental priorities: providing climate change, improving air quality and community projects.

EPA anticipates providing funding for this project once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.7 million in EE grant funding each year, for a total of over $95.1 million supporting more than 3,960 projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques. For more information visit EPA’s Environmental Education webpage.   

To learn more about current and past award winners, or to apply for future EE grant competitions, visit the Environmental Education Grants webpage. This website will be updated as future competitions are announced and additional grants are awarded. 

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Region 04

EPA Selects Mississippi State University Extension to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education in Jackson and across Mississippi

3 days 10 hours ago

JACKSON, Miss. (July 9, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of Mississippi State University Extension to receive $100,000 in funding to support Environmental Education in Jackson and across Mississippi. This selectee’s off-campus educational arm of Mississippi State University, the Extension provides current research and educational information to individuals in all 82 counties. This grant funding aims to increase public awareness of environmental issues and provide skills so participants can make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment.

“Congratulations to our environmental education grant winners in the Southeast area,” said Acting Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle.  "Investing in environmental education increases public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues, in addition to providing participants in its programs the skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions.”

Mississippi State University Extension: Sparking stewardship through community-based watershed education and monitoring in Mississippi’s urban communities

The project will expand the Mississippi Water Stewards program to provide water resource education and outreach activities that will build stewardship in communities that need it most. This work aims to utilize a mini-grant program for community-based organizations to lead 1-year water monitoring and outreach programs to strategically expand MSWS in communities in Mississippi, with special emphasis on the Jackson metro area. This project focuses on educational and environmental priorities: community projects, environmental education capacity building, environmental justice, and ensuring clean and safe water.

EPA anticipates providing funding for this project once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.7 million in EE grant funding each year, for a total of over $95.1 million supporting more than 3,960 projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques. For more information visit EPA’s Environmental Education webpage.   

To learn more about current and past award winners, or to apply for future EE grant competitions, visit the Environmental Education Grants webpage. This website will be updated as future competitions are announced and additional grants are awarded.  

Region 04

Biden-Harris Administration Establishes Four Stormwater Centers of Excellence with $5 Million in Grants under Investing in America Agenda

3 days 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Today, July 9, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it would award $5 million in grants to establish four new Centers of Excellence for Stormwater Control Infrastructure Technologies and a national clearinghouse for new and emerging stormwater control technologies. The Centers of Excellence will play an important role in improving stormwater infrastructure across the country by conducting research and providing technical assistance to State, Tribal and local governments. 

“Our waterways are treasured resources and economic engines for communities, and at EPA we strive to make sure waterways are both fishable and swimmable,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “Stormwater runoff carries pollution from streets and land into our waterways and poses a significant challenge for water quality. Thanks to this investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are working with our partners to advance critical stormwater technology and solutions that will protect communities across the country.”

The grants are made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Four of the awards are to establish new Centers of Excellence for Stormwater, which will enhance efforts to support the nation’s water infrastructure and protect water quality. EPA anticipates that once all the legal and administrative requirements are satisfied, it will award funding to establish the new Stormwater Centers of Excellence to the following recipients:

  • The University of New Hampshire,
  • The University of Oklahoma,
  • The Board of Regents Nevada System of Higher Education, and
  • The Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.

EPA has also selected the Center for Watershed Protection, Inc., to establish a national electronic clearinghouse that contains information about new and emerging stormwater control infrastructure technologies and funding approaches. The national electronic clearinghouse will be populated with research, best practices, and outreach from each Center of Excellence, and promoted with other organizations to expand the availability of water technical assistance, including States, Tribes, local government and disadvantaged communities.

Stormwater is a significant source of water pollution and a threat to the health of waterways across the country. It is a complicated problem for communities to manage, however, because of the engineering and financial challenges associated with stormwater. These grant recipients will play an important role in conducting research on new and emerging stormwater control infrastructure technologies and alternative funding approaches. As Centers for Excellence, they will also provide technical assistance and support stormwater infrastructure improvements that safeguard the environment, improve stormwater management and climate resilience, and advance environmental justice.

Learn more about the Stormwater Centers of Excellence Request for Applications.

Water (OW)

EPA Issues Cleanup Plan for Shaffer Equipment Superfund Site in Minden, West Virginia

3 days 10 hours ago

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that addresses a source of contaminated soil at the former Shaffer Equipment Company (SEC) property in Minden, West Virginia. Today’s ROD, which applies to the polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) located at the SEC property at the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area Superfund Site (Site), lays out in detail why EPA has concluded that the proposed plan and selected cleanup method will meet the needs of the project.

“EPA’s Record of Decision is a significant step forward in protecting the community and waterway from the threat of contaminants like PCBs, and there is still more work to be done,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Administrator Adam Ortiz. “EPA will continue to investigate and study the remaining portions of the site and will work with our partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare for the cleanup of the property.”

The site is comprised of the SEC property, Arbuckle Creek sediments, and a handful of other areas where related contamination may be located. Site soils and sediment were historically contaminated with PCBs, which were used by the Shaffer Equipment Company from 1970 to 1984 to manufacture electrical substations for the local coal mining industry.

The components of the SEC property cleanup plan include the excavation, removal, and disposal of the contaminated soil and cap, and backfilling with clean soil as needed. The cleanup method will be designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Once the design is complete, the remedial action, or property cleanup, can begin.

The EPA is also continuing to direct a very detailed investigation of the contamination in Arbuckle Creek and the New River watershed and properties adjacent the creek (see map below).

In 2017, the EPA, hearing concerns from the community about residual contamination, resampled the site and held public meetings in 2017 and 2018 to share and review the results. Testing found low PCB levels that did not indicate an immediate threat to human health. Most of the contamination was found in the creek floodplains and had moved down and deposited into land parcels along the creek. The EPA listed the Site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in 2019.

EPA released the proposed SEC property cleanup plan for public comment in March 2023. During the public comment period, EPA held a public meeting to inform the community of the plan and to receive public comments. To read the EPA’s ROD and to view EPA’s responses to public comments, please visit www.epa.gov/superfund/shaffer.

EPA in West Virginia

The EPA has a new ArcGIS Story Map that explores the infrastructure, community, and revitalization work in West Virginia. This easy-to-use tool shows where some of the $500 million the EPA has invested in West Virginia is being used, what communities and environmental resources are benefiting from infrastructure projects, and how the public and stakeholders can learn more about current EPA activities in the state. Learn more about how the EPA works in West Virginia by visiting our new public Story Map here!

Region 03

Multi-agency settlement resolves Clean Air Act violations at Meeker Gas Plant

3 days 10 hours ago

DENVER – The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Colorado today announced a settlement with Enterprise Gas Processing, LLC, and Enterprise Products Operating, LLC (jointly, “Enterprise”). The agreement, which includes a $1 million civil penalty, will protect community health and the environment by strengthening leak detection and repair practices at the Meeker Gas Plant in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.

A complaint filed concurrently with the settlement alleges that Enterprise violated leak detection and repair requirements in accordance with the Clean Air Act and state clean air laws. The violations resulted in excess emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants to the atmosphere.

“All gas refining and processing facilities must comply with the Clean Air Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement includes important provisions to improve leak detection, repair practices and staff training, which applied here will help protect public health in western Colorado.”

As part of the settlement, Enterprise will take corrective actions and pay the $1 million civil penalty. Half of the penalty will go to the federal government and half will go to the State of Colorado, where a portion will fund projects to benefit disproportionately impacted communities through the state's environmental justice grant program.

“Together, EPA and CDPHE are committed to delivering enforcement, inspections and compliance assistance that provide tangible benefits for Colorado’s communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “This action will secure facility compliance and reduce emissions of air pollutants in Meeker and the surrounding area.”

The EPA and CDPHE signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 to enhance coordination while working to protect clean air for all.

“We are grateful for the partnership between the EPA, Department of Justice and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in working together to protect Colorado’s air quality," said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. "This enforcement package requires not only a fine to be paid, but for the facility to conduct more frequent air measurements and respond more quickly to leaks, which will continue to reduce air pollution.”

Under the settlement, Enterprise will strengthen its leak detection and repair practices at the Meeker Gas Plant. These commitments include:   

  • installing equipment that leaks less pollution to the atmosphere, 
  • reviewing compliance with leak detection and repair requirements and 
  • repairing leaking equipment faster.

Enterprise will also improve staff training and use optical gas imaging technology to improve the visual detection of leaks to address them more quickly.

“The protection of Colorado’s air quality made possible through this settlement with Enterprise is a testament to the power of collaboration between dedicated state and federal public officials,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. “We are proud to support the state’s Air Pollution Control Division as it continues to lead the way to reduce air pollution from oil and gas operations and pursue better air for all Coloradans.”

Equipment leaks at the Meeker Gas Plant emit VOCs, which lead to the formation of ground-level ozone. Ozone contributes to serious public health concerns, including respiratory illness, aggravation of existing heart disease and temporary breathing difficulty for people with asthma. Young children and older people are especially sensitive to these impacts. Leaks from equipment at the Meeker Gas Plant also emit methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The EPA investigated the case. Attorneys of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section are handling the case.

The Justice Department filed the consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and is available on the Justice Department’s website

Region 08