• December 2009 - GHG Update: EPA Determines that Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and Welfare
    On December 7, 2009, the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that greenhouse gases (GHGs), including those released from on-road vehicles, threaten public health and welfare.

    EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, signed two distinct findings regarding GHGs under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA):

    • Endangerment Finding: The current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.
      • carbon dioxide (CO2)
      • methane (CH4)
      • nitrous oxide (N2O)
      • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
      • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
      • sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
    • Cause or Contribute Finding: The combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.

    WILL MY COMPANY BE AFFECTED?

    The EPA finding has no immediate regulatory effect, but it paves the way for proposed regulation on car and truck emissions. The findings will initially affect the automotive industry through increased improvement of efficiency. This action does not trigger Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or Title V permitting; however, the finalization of GHG emission standards for motor vehicles will trigger these programs. Additionally, EPA proposed a PSD and Title V GHG Tailoring Rule on September 30, 2009, to address large facilities that emit over 25,000 tons of GHGs per year.

    WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE?

    Continue to track legislation and regulatory developments, and watch for EHS Support’s alerts to keep informed on updates. EHS Support will continue to follow regulation or legislation resulting from the EPA endangerment finding and keep you updated on important changes.

    As a reminder, on October 30, 2009, EPA published the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule, which becomes effective on December 29, 2009.  Affected facilities must begin collecting GHG emission data on January 1, 2010, with a report to be generated by March 31, 2011, for reporting year 2010. Companies can take a proactive approach and have EHS Support conduct a high level evaluation of your facility’s GHG emissions to determine if your company may be subject to permitting and reporting rules.

    For more information about the EPA’s GHG findings or to request a high level evaluation of your facility’s GHG emissions, please contact Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 or amy.bauer@ehs-support.com or Jessica Tierney at 412-779-1094 or Jessica.tierney@ehs-support.com.

    Background Information

    EPA’s findings are in response to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs are part of the CAA definition of air pollutants. Administrator Jackson proposed the so-called GHG endangerment finding on April 17, 2009, and after receiving hundreds of thousands of public comments, issued the final findings. EPA’s endangerment finding was a result of determining that GHG concentrations in the atmosphere have increased due to human activities thus contributing to an increase in the earth’s temperature over the last 100 years (i.e., global warming).

    EPA’s findings are a prerequisite to finalizing the EPA and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly proposed GHG emission standards for light-duty vehicles on September 15, 2009. It was found that all on-road vehicles account for 4 percent of the total global GHG emissions compared to just over 23 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions. The agencies plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy for new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. The combined EPA and NHTSA standards that make up this proposed National Program would apply to passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles, covering model years 2012 through 2016. They require these vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon (MPG) if the automobile industry were to meet this CO2 level solely through fuel economy improvements.

    President Obama, along with Administrator Jackson, has publicly stated that they support a legislative solution to the problem of climate change and Congress’ efforts to pass comprehensive climate legislation. However, it was critical that EPA fulfilled its obligation to respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined that GHGs fit within the CAA definition of air pollutants.

  • November 2009 - Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Effective 12/29/09: Where to Begin?
    Following our September 29, 2009, client alert entitled “Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Now a Reality”, EHS Support has received several requests from our clients for more information and assistance with meeting the requirements of the new rule. Two major developments have occurred since our September 2009 client alert was issued:

    • On October 30, 2009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rule in the Federal Register, “Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases; Final Rule” (GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule) (Volume 74, Number 209).  The final rule becomes effective on December 29, 2009.  Affected facilities must begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data on January 1, 2010, with a report to be generated by March 31, 2011 for reporting year 2010.
    • EHS Support has conducted several high-level reviews of the potential GHG emissions from companies with stationary fuel combustion sources to determine if their facilities were subject to reporting under the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule.  We completed these reviews utilizing facility-specific information about fuel consumption and GHG emission sources.

    A high-level review, such as the one described above, is a cost-effective way to get a jump start on the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule.  It provides a company with a means to estimate both capital and environmental budgets for 2010/2011 by determining if they are potentially subject to the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule.  The high-level review also gives companies the peace of mind that they are prepared for the rule’s forthcoming implementation.

    WILL MY COMPANY BE AFFECTED?

    There are five general categories of industries (also known as “source categories”) that are required to report GHGs for calendar year 2010.  One of the categories includes 17 industries that EPA identified as large GHG emitters, which will report without regard to meeting threshold emission levels.  Other categories of industries, such as stationary combustion sources, are only required to report if the facilities annually emit 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more in combined emissions from their sources.  Therefore, it is advantageous for facilities that may be subject to the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule to identify any applicable source categories and then, if required, determine if they have emitted more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2e.

    HOW CAN EHS SUPPORT HELP ME PREPARE?

    The product of our high-level review includes identification of applicable source categories, documentation of the rule’s background based on which source categories apply, calculation of emissions using methods provided in the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule (if applicable), a final conclusion regarding applicability of the rule, and a detailed description of the process we used to reach our conclusion.  You will be given the documentation from the high-level review to maintain on file, if reporting is not required.  If reporting is required, you can use can use the information as the basis for a GHG compliance plan at your facility.

    If you would like more information about how we can conduct a high-level review of potential GHG emissions and the applicability of the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule to your company, please contact Jessica Tierney at 412-779-1094 and jessica.tierney@ehs-support.com or Amy Bauer at 251-533-5949 and amy.bauer@ehs-support.com

  • October 2009 - EPA Proposes First Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirements
    The permitting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) appears to be inevitable.  On April 17, 2009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted an endangerment finding for carbon dioxide (CO2) and is currently reviewing public comments and developing the final rule.  On September 15, 2009, EPA, in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), proposed new standards for light-duty vehicles that will reduce GHG emissions and improve fuel economy covering model years 2012 through 2016 by an equivalent of 35.5 miles per gallon.  If the proposed fuel-economy rule to regulate GHGs from cars and trucks is finalized and takes effect in the spring of 2010, legal and policy drivers would be activated that could lead to the regulation (permitting) of stationary sources emitting GHGs.

    On September 30, 2009, EPA issued a proposal that focuses these permitting requirements on the largest facilities, those emitting over 25,000 tons of GHGs per year and responsible for nearly 70 percent of U.S. stationary source GHG emissions.

    THE FACTS:

    • When facilities are constructed or significantly modified they would be required to obtain permits that demonstrate they are using the best available control technologies and energy efficiency to minimize GHG emissions.
    • The proposed GHG thresholds would define when Clean Air Act (CAA) permitting requirements for New Source Review (NSR) and Title V operating permits apply.
    • Large new or existing industrial facilities (stationary sources) emitting more than 25,000 tons of GHG emissions per year may be subject to permitting under the proposed rule.  Large facilities may include, but are not limited to, power plants, refineries, and factories.
    • The groups of six GHGs that may be covered include CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF5).  Emissions of GHGs are typically expressed in a common metric and the international standard practice is to express GHGs in CO2e.

    EPA estimates that 400 new sources and modifications to existing sources would be subject to Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) review each year for GHG emissions.  Less than 100 of these would be newly subject to PSD.  Under the PSD portion of NSR—which is a permit program designed to minimize emissions from new sources and existing sources making major modifications—EPA is proposing a:

    • Major stationary source threshold of 25,000 tons per year (tpy) CO2e.  This threshold level would be used to determine if a new facility or a major modification at an existing facility would trigger PSD permitting requirements.
    • Significance level between 10,000 and 25,000 tpy CO2e.  Existing major sources making modifications that result in an increase of emissions above the significance level would be required to obtain a PSD permit.  EPA is requesting comment on a range of values in this proposal, with the intent of selecting a single value for the GHG significance level.

    HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY COMPANY?

    In total, approximately 14,000 large sources would need to obtain operating permits that include GHG emissions.  Most of these sources are already subject to CAA permitting requirements because they emit other pollutants; however, the rule may impact about 3,000 facilities that are new to the operating permitting program and is also expected to bring new sources into the construction permitting program.  EPA will accept comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.  The fact sheet for the proposed rule can be viewed at http://www.epa.gov/nsr/fs20090930action.html

    The final emissions thresholds for GHG emissions under the federal PSD and operating permits programs will take effect immediately upon promulgation of the final rule.  At that time, EPA will put the new thresholds into effect in state, local and tribal agency programs that run PSD and Title V operating programs under EPA approval.

    WHAT CAN I DO TO PREPARE?

    • Track legislation and regulatory developments, and watch for EHS Support Alerts to keep informed on updates
    • Take a proactive approach and conduct a high level evaluation of your facility’s GHG emissions to determine if your company may be subject to these rules.

    EHS Support can help you conduct an evaluation of your facility’s GHG emissions.  For more information, contact Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 and amy.bauer@ehs-support.com or Jessica Tierney at 412-779-1094 and jessica.tierney@ehs-support.com

    EHS Support will continue to follow the proposed GHG permitting rule closely and keep you updated on important changes, and will thoroughly evaluate the final rule when issued.

  • October 2009 - EHS Support Corporation is Proud to Announce the Addition of Nigel Goulding

    Mr. Goulding comes to EHS Support as a Senior Consultant. In this role, he will manage investigation and remediation operations including technical and engineering direction, as well as, project coordination of multi-disciplinary teams.

    Over the past 16 years, Mr. Goulding has worked on the environmental site assessments and remediation of over 400 sites. These sites have included petroleum hydrocarbon, solvent, metal, and radionucleide contaminated sites throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

    Mr. Goulding is active in many industry regulatory advocacy and technology development groups and has been involved in the remediation and closure of many high profile sites.

    nigel.goulding@ehs-support.com

  • September 2009 - Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Now a Reality
    Beginning on January 1, 2010, large sources and suppliers of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will be required to begin collecting data and annually reporting GHG emissions as required by the Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, which was signed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson on September 22, 2009. The threshold for reporting is 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) per year. Reporting will be required at the facility level for most facilities, except for certain fossil fuel and greenhouse gas suppliers and vehicle and engine manufacturers who will be required to report at the corporate level. EPA estimates that the rule will cover approximately 85 percent of the GHGs emitted in the U.S. from approximately 10,000 facilities. The first mandatory reports will be due March 31, 2011, for emissions during 2010.EPA issued the proposed rule on March 10, 2009, and received close to 17,000 comments. In response, EPA made several key changes in the final rule, including:

    • Reduced the number of covered source and supply categories
    • Provided a mechanism for exiting the program by reducing GHG emissions
    • Reduced record retention requirements from 5 years to 3 years
    • Added a provision to allow use of best available monitoring methods in lieu of the required monitoring methods for January – March 2010

    EPA describes these changes and other key changes in a Fact Sheet available at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads09/majorchanges.pdf

    According to EPA, the rule “…is intended to collect accurate and timely emissions data to inform future policy decisions.” EPA estimates the average cost of reporting for the private sector under this rule will be approximately $115 million in the first year of reporting and $72 million in subsequent years.

    To assist the regulated community, EPA has developed information and training resources, including an online applicability tool, a series of webinars, and information sheets on reporting requirements for each of the covered sectors, which are available at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html

    How can EHS Support assist you in complying with the new rule?
    We can assist you with determining applicability of the rule to your operations, estimating GHG emissions, and preparing the mandatory annual report.

    For more information or for assistance with meeting the requirements of the new rule, please contact Jessica Tierney at 412-779-1094 and jessica.tierney@ehs-support.com or Amy Bauer at 251-533-5949 and amy.bauer@ehs-support.com.

  • September 2009 - Push for Disclosure of Environmental Risks Expected to Lead to New SEC Requirements
    The pending Climate Change regulations and government initiatives have encouraged the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to consider requiring additional disclosure of environmental risks.

    THE FACTS

    • The SEC is being petitioned to issue interpretative guidance that specifically stipulates that climate change has an opportunity to be classified as a material risk under existing SEC Regulation S-K.
    • This change would require companies to report environmental risks through regular filings just as other types of material risks are regularly reported
    • Traditionally, the SEC has defined “material risk” as an item that represents an uncertainty that could affect a company’s earnings by 5-10 percent or more
    • The proposed rule by the EPA to require fossil fuel suppliers, industrial gas suppliers, and direct greenhouse gas emitters that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases annually to report their greenhouse gas emission combined with the carbon cap and trade language of H.R. 2454 would increase the necessity of environmental disclosures on SEC filings because the emissions could then be quantitatively judged to be a material risk

    HOW WILL THIS IMPACT MY COMPANY?

    • Under SEC Regulation S-K, companies may need to reference environmental trends, uncertainties, and financial conditions that may affect operations on certain SEC filings to inform the investing public of issues facing the company.
    • The requirements that are expected to be issued will provide guidance on current disclosure requirements relating to the materiality of risks posed by climate change including:
    • Enforcing existing disclosure requirements for material environmental risks;
    • Permitting shareholders to submit resolutions at corporate meetings related to climate change; and
    • Requiring disclosure of material environmental risks based on the Global Reporting Initiative, an existing standard used by more than 1,000 companies to measure and report their economic, environmental, and social performances, including measurements of greenhouse gas emissions, labor standards, and human rights.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE?

    • Create a task force within your organization to track legislation and regulatory developments; Watch for EHS Support Alerts to keep informed on updates
    • Although the framework and measurement criteria for reporting have not been finalized, EHS Support recommends you take a proactive approach to these probable regulatory requirements including notification of senior management and a structured approach to defining these liabilities in- side your company that supports consistent, comparable, and reliable assessment, measurement, and reporting.

    For more information about SEC requirements or determining how the pending Climate Change regulations may impact your business or accrual process, contact Andy Patz at andy.patz@ehs-support.com or 412-215-7703.

  • September 2009 - Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting
    The Facts:The United States (U.S.) EPA has proposed a rule that requires mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources in the U.S.  In general, EPA proposes that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to EPA.  The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases include nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).  EPA issued a Proposed Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule Fact Sheet at, which can be found at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads/ProposedRule-FactSheet.pdf  According to the fact sheet, 85 to 90 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions from approximately 13,000 facilities would be covered by the proposed rule.  Most small businesses would fall below the 25,000 metric ton threshold and would not be required to report GHG emissions to EPA.How will my company be affected?EPA is proposing that reporters would be required to submit their first GHG emissions report to EPA in early 2011. This report would provide data on emissions from the year 2010. EPA is proposing that reporting requirements for vehicle and engine manufacturers apply beginning with the 2011 model year.  EPA would be responsible for verification of data.  Mandatory third party verification was considered in the development of the proposed rule, but is not included in the proposed rule.  The GHG emissions inventories are likely to become the basis for regulation, pollution controls, and new emissions limits.The Proposed Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule public comment period ended June 9, 2009.  Late comments may be submitted on the proposed rule; however, the EPA is not required to consider comments submitted past the end of the official comment period when developing the final rule.  EHS Support will follow the issuance of the final rule, which is expected to occur in November 2009.There are states that are taking initiative on GHG reporting as well.  On December 6, 2007, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions regulation.  Facilities had to submit data by June 1, 2009.  One difference from the proposed federal requirement is that the California regulation requires the mandatory reporting and verification of GHG emissions.  Facilities subject to reporting will be required to have their GHG emissions verified beginning in 2010 for their 2009 reported emissions.  Verification is optional for 2009 and 2008 reporting emissions. More information can be found at http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/reporting/ghg-ver/ghg-ver.htmThe EPA tracks state planning and measurement efforts at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/stateandlocalgov/state_planning.html#threeFor more information regarding GHG updates, please contact Amy Bauer of EHS Support at 251-533-5949 or amy.bauer@ehs-support.com
  • May 2009 - EPA Determines Greenhouse Gases Pose a Threat to Public Health and Welfare

    EPA issued a proposed finding today that a mixture of six key greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health and welfare. The proposed finding was issued following completion of a scientific review ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

    Although EPA has indicated that the proposed finding issued today, as well as a final action in the future, does not impose any requirements on industry or other entities, and that an endangerment finding under one provision of the Clean Air Act would not by itself automatically trigger regulation under the entire Act, the Wall Street Journal indicates that:

    Unless superseded by congressional action, the EPA finding potentially could lead to a wave of new regulations, putting stricter emissions limits on a wide range of enterprises from power plants and oil refineries to automobiles and cement makers.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB123997738881429275.html#mod=djemalertNEWS

    Current draft legislation under review by the U.S. House Energy and Environment Subcommittee (The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) proposes a cap and trade system for CO2 and directs EPA to set emission standards on sources that are not covered by the cap and trade system.   However, the draft provides that CO2 and other greenhouse gases may not be regulated as criteria pollutants or hazardous air pollutants on the basis of their effect on global warming. The draft also provides that new source review does not apply to these global warming pollutants. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Reps. Edward J. Markey (D. Mass)…and Jay Inslee (D. Wash) have said the endangerment finding provides the administration a regulatory backstop in the event that a tough climate change bill cannot get past a Senate filibuster.”

    According to the Energy and Commerce Committee website, committee consideration of the legislation will be completed by Memorial Day. (energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1560&Itemid=1)

    The public comment on EPA’s proposed endangerment finding is open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA also will be holding two public hearings on May 18, 2009 in Arlington, VA, and May 21, 2009, in Seattle, Washington. Advanced registration will be necessary.

    EHS Support will continue to monitor the proposed endangerment finding and update you on any changes that will affect your business.

    Questions about the proposed endangerment finding can be discussed with Jessica Tierney at 412-779-1094 or jessica.tierney@ehs-support.com

    Click here to read about EPA’s Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act.

  • May 2009 - North Carolina Groundwater Standards to Become More Stringent for 15 analytes

    North Carolina is currently reviewing its groundwater water quality standards and interim maximum allowable concentrations and has indicated that allowable concentrations associated with 15 groundwater standards will decrease. This could have a significant impact on any investigation or remediation projects your company is currently undertaking.

    Every three years the State is required, by 15A NCAC 02L .0202, to review its groundwater water quality standards and interim maximum allowable concentrations to determine if changes are needed and, if necessary, to make those changes. Revision of these standards is needed to ensure that they contain the most recent health and toxicological information.

    Summary of Proposed Rules

    Based on review of the most current and relevant toxicological information available, the proposed changes to groundwater standards include:

    • a decrease in the allowable concentration for fifteen standards
    • an increase in the allowable concentration for twelve standards
    • the addition of a standard for formaldehyde
    • the removal of twelve standards and/or interim maximum allowable concentrations (note that these contaminants are still regulated under this rule and that concentrations exceeding the practical quantification limit (PQL) would constitute a violation of the standard)
    • the reduction of significant figures to one
    • a change in the units of measure from mg/L (parts per million) to µg/L (parts per billion), except where noted
    • an update of ten chemical names
    • the substitution of the language “at or above the practical quantitation limit” for the term “detectable.”

    Copies of the proposed rules can be found at the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality web page at http://www.ncwaterquality.org/admin/pubinfo/DWQPubInfoCalendar.htm

    Possible Effects

    An increase or decrease of a current North Carolina groundwater quality standard affects which constituents of concern for a given site are violating these standards. If the maximum allowable concentration is lowered, chemical concentrations that were previously acceptable now may require additional action.

    Timeframe

    The earliest these changes would become effective would be November of 2009, but it is estimated that any changes will go into effect between January and June 2010.

    How EHS Support can help?

    • We can assist you in understanding the impact of the proposed changes on your facility, investigation, or remediation project
    • Determine the potential financial and technical impact the changes in these standards may cause
    • Support your staff in submitting public comments
    • Facilitate communication and advocate your interests to the NC DENR

    If you require further assistance or would like to discuss how these changes will impact your company, please contact Rick Henterly at 412-855-3727 or Rick.Henterly@EHS-Support.com.

  • May 2009 - Possible Reinstatement of Superfund Tax

    The Facts:
    The EPA’s budget proposal that was submitted by the Obama administration reveals plans to reinstate the Superfund taxes which expired in 1995.

    Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced the Superfund Polluter Pays Act of 2009 (H.R.) 832) in the House of Representatives on February 3. The act would impose the following taxes:

    • a chemical feedstock excise tax on 42 chemicals ranging from $0.22 – $4.87 per ton
    • a corporate “environmental income tax” of 0.12% on taxable income in excess of $2 million
    • a tax of $0.97 cents per barrel on petroleum

    President Obama expects the tax to generate more than $1 billion for cleanups. Companies would not begin paying until 2011 when the economy is expected to be recovered.

    How will my company be affected?
    While there have been no projections published to indicate the cost this tax will have on individual companies, the tables below outline the amount of tax generated by each industry in 1993. Costs have been calculated to 2009 prices to account for inflation.

    Superfund Corporate Environmental Income

    Table 1. Taxes in 1993 by Industrial Sector

    Source: Prepared by CRS with data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. Source Book, Statistics of Income, 1993: Corporation Income Tax Returns with Accounting Periods ended July 1993 – June 1994. Publication 1053 (Revised March 1996). 511 p.

    Table 2. Taxes in 1993 by Industrial Industry

    Source: Prepared by CRS with data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. Source Book, Statistics of Income, 1993: Corporation Income Tax Returns with Accounting Periods ended July 1993 – June 1994. Publication 1053 (Revised March 1996). 511 p.

    What can I do to be prepared for this reinstatement?

    • familiarize yourself with the taxes and calculate how they could financially impact your company
    • begin to think about other ways your company may be impacted
    • formulize a plan on how you will manage this reinstated expense
    • be prepared to answer questions from your superiors or board membersEHS Support is monitoring developments of this tax reinstatement and will keep you updated on advancements.Questions about how these tax increases may affect your company can be discussed with Andy Patz at 412-215-7703 or Andy.Patz@EHS-Support.com.
  • May 2009 - EPA 2010 Budget Proposal Testimony to US Senate

    On May 12, 2009 Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), addressed the US Senate proposing the EPA’s 2010 budget requesting $10.5 billion.

    This 37% increase over the 2009 budget includes increases to priorities such as investments in water infrastructure, Great Lakes restoration, a comprehensive approach to slow global warming, strengthening environmental enforcement, reinstating superfund, continuation of the Brownfields program, and increased funding to clean up leaking underground storage tanks.

    To read the prepared testimony in its entirety click here.

  • April 2009 - EPA's Ongoing Regulatory Review May Impact Fly Ash Disposal Requirement

    On March 31, 2009, NAEM, the national Association of EHS Management Team (a non-profit, non-partisan educational association) hosted a webinar entitled “60 Days into the Obama Administration:  The Likely Impacts on EHS, Energy and Sustainability Policy”.

    The webinar featured a panel discussion with Charlie Grizzle, Chairman of The Grizzle Company; Steve Brown, Executive Director of the Environmental Council of the States; and John Walke, Clean Air Director/Senior Attorney of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  The webinar was intended to provide insight into the priorities and workings of the new Obama administration, and discuss topics such as the top priorities of 2009 and beyond.

    The presenters indicated that a rulemaking will emerge in the near future concerning the regulation of fossil fuel (coal) combustion waste (e.g., coal fly ash).  According to the presenters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will address coal fly ash and have a statement ready for comment by the end of 2009.  Specifically, if it is to continue to be regulated under Subtitle D (non-hazardous solid waste) of RCRA, or if the risk associated with fly ash will cause it to be regulated under Subtitle C of RCRA as a hazardous waste, and is it safe for reuse.

    The EPA previously determined that coal combustion waste was not to be regulated as a hazardous waste.  Further studies were later conducted like the “Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Waste” prepared for the EPA by RTI International in 2007 [1].  The EPA is currently analyzing the 2007 risk assessment and other available data as described in the “Notice of Data Availability on the Disposal of Coal Combustion Wastes in Landfills and Surface Impoundments; Reopening of Comment Period”, published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2008 [2].  There have been a few major recent releases regarding fly ash, which is driving the evaluation and additional scrutiny.  The presenter’s indicated the EPA will continue to review the recent risk assessment and prepare an updated statement on their position concerning the risks associated with fly ash by the end of 2009.

    EHS Support will continue to monitor this situation and keep you updated as new information is released by the EPA concerning this evaluation.  If you would like to discuss this regulatory change in more detail, please contact Amy Bauer at amy.bauer@ehs-support.com or 251-533-6949.

    References

    [1] RTI International.  Draft Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Coal Combustion Waste.  Prepared for the Environmental Protection Agency.  August 6, 2007.

    [2] Federal Register.  Environmental Protection Agency.  Notice of Data Availability on the Disposal of Coal Combustion Wastes in Landfills and Surface Impoundments; Reopening of Comment Period.  Volume 73, Number 24 (February 5, 2008).  Page 6723-6724.

  • April 2009 - FASB to Relax the Fair Value Reporting Requirements Enacted in SFAS 141(R)

    The stock market reacted positively on April 2nd, boosted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) decision to ease rules associated with the SFAS 141 (R) fair market accounting standards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 279 points, or 3.6%, at 8040.77 — topping the 8000 mark for the first time since February 10, 2009.

    On December 15, 2008 SFAS 141(R) was enacted to extend the fair-value reporting requirements to new areas; including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.  The most controversial, was the required reporting of the value of acquired contingencies (e.g. environmental issues, litigation, warranty payouts) be estimated on the acquisition date (Day 1).  To obtain more information on this topic read EHS Support’s initial Alert and FAQ’s issued in August 2008. Click Here read the Alert.

    On April 1, 2009 the FASB announced amendments to the SFAS 141(R).  The SFAS 141 (R)-1 will no longer require subsequent measurement at fair value, which would result in different measurements of assets and liabilities.

    The FASB has withdrawn from its position to apply fair value measurement to contingencies.  As amended, SFAS 141(R) represents no meaningful change from the contingency provisions in the original SFAS 141.  The initial SFAS 141 required contingencies assumed in a business combination be recognized at fair value if the acquisition-date fair value of the contingency can be “determined” during the measurement period.  The current amendments do not provide guidance on when the fair value of a contingency can be “determined”.  The amendments significantly reduce the risk associated with reporting environmental and litigation liabilities acquired during mergers and acquisitions.

    EHS Support will continue to monitor the FASB decisions and guidance to provide direction on how to properly handle environmental and litigation liabilities during mergers and acquisitions

    For more information or if you have questions or comments please contact Andy Patz at 412.215.7703 or andy.patz@ehs-support.com

  • April 2009 - Could a Proposed Finding on Carbon Dioxide Emission Impact Your Company?

    Facts:

    On Friday, March 20, 2009 a proposed rule finding that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a danger to public health was submitted to the White House.  Approval could allow the EPA to use the Clean Air Act (CAA) to control emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases believed to contribute to climate change. Carbon dioxide will be treated as a pollutant and, therefore, be regulated as such by the government.

    The Obama Administration has proposed a cap-and-trade system that could raise $646 billion by 2019 through government auctions of emission allowances.  The proposed finding will pressure Congress to enact a system that caps greenhouse gases, which are believed to trap the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere, and creates a market for business to buy and sell the right to emit them.

    What is the Impact?

    Some key facilities that could be impacted include coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and domestic industries, such as energy-intensive paper, cement, fertilizer, steel, and glass manufacturers.  These industries, along with others, may see an increased cost burden imposed by climate-change laws.  Unless international laws take effect, this additional monetary burden could impact competition between U.S. companies and their international counterparts that are not bound by similar environmental rules.

    Action:

    Greenhouse gas emission regulation during this Administration is on the horizon for many facilities.  Companies should stay on top of this issue to determine if it will impact their operations. EHS Support will continue to monitor the developments and keep you informed on updates to these regulations.  For more information or for an analysis on how this regulation could impact your company, please contact Amy Bauer at 251-533-6949 or Amy.Bauer@ehs-support.com.

  • April 2009 - SPCC Regulations Effective Date Delayed

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed the effective date for the December 2008 final rule that amends the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations.  The amendments will now become effective on January 14, 2010.  The December 2008 amendments to the SPCC rule clarified regulatory requirements, tailored requirements to particular industry sectors, and streamlined certain requirements for facility owners or operators subject to the rule.  The EPA is also requesting public comment on whether the delay of the effective date may be warranted.  More information on SPCC rule can be obtained from http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm.

    SPCC Cheat Sheet

  • February 2009 - FASB To Announce Changes to SFAS 5

    The SFAS5 was originally issued in March 1975 to account for loss contingencies including potential losses from pending or threatened litigation. In September 2007 the FASB began to address concerns that SFAS 5 does not provide significant guidance and transparency as to the likelihood, timing, and amounts of cash flows associated with loss contingencies.

    By June 2008 the FASB issued an Exposure Draft titled “Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies” with proposed amendments to SFAS 5 and 141(R). The changes would be primarily related to disclosures in company financial statements including potential losses from pending and threatened litigation.

    After over 250 comments on the Exposure Draft, the FASB issued the following statement:

    “The Board decided on a plan for redeliberations of its Exposure Draft, Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies.  The Board directed the staff to prepare an alternative model that will attempt to address the concerns that certain constituents raised about the Exposure Draft.  This alternative model will be field tested along with the model in the Exposure Draft.  The Board also decided that any final Statement on this topic will be effective no sooner than for fiscal years ending after December 15, 2009.”

    The redeliberations the FASB is considering are unknown, however examination of the Exposure Draft gives some indication of the areas of concern that will be addressed are related to  disclosures of loss contingencies that do not meet the criteria necessary for accrual of the loss.

    The new Exposure Draft is scheduled to be released in April or May 2009.  Please be aware that changes may be issued by the end of the year. EHS Support will continue to monitor the FASB communication and update you on any changes that will affect your business.

    Questions about the current and proposed SFAS 5 regulations can be discussed with Andy Patz at 412-215-7703 or Andy.Patz@ehs-support.com.

    Click here to read about changes made to SFAS141(R) in December 2008.

  • January 2009 - DECISION: National Cotton Council of America v. EPA

    You may be interested in the attached decision out of the Sixth Circuit, National Cotton Council v. EPA, 2009 WL 30292 (6th Cir. Jan. 7, 2009), which held that NPDES permits are required for applications of aquatic pesticides in and around rivers, lakes, and other waterbodies. This decision affects, among others, farmers, land managers, and developers who routinely use the pesticides to protect their land.

    On November 27, 2006, the EPA issued a final rule exempting the application of aquatic pesticides in compliance with FIFRA from the CWA. Environmental and industry groups subsequently challenged EPA’s final rule in eleven circuit courts throughout the United States — the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits. The petitions for review in each such circuit  were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit by an order of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. A number of industry groups also intervened in support of the final rule.

    In National Cotton Council, the Court held that EPA’s final rule was not a reasonable interpretation of the CWA since the plain language of the terms “chemical waste” and “biological materials” unambiguously include aquatic pesticides. Accordingly, the Court vacated EPA’s final rule. The Court did not analyze arguments addressing the relationship between the CWA and FIFRA.

    Because the multidistrict challenges were consolidated in this one action, the Sixth Circuit’s decision affects states in eleven circuits, including the Ninth Circuit. Applicators will need an NPDES permit to apply aquatic pesticides into, around, and over water in most instances.  NPDES permits will not be required, however, for applications of chemical pesticides that leave no residue in receiving waters. States are expected to review their current NPDES permitting requirements for aquatic pesticide use in light of the court’s decision.

    If you require assistance or have further questions, please contact
    Amy Bauer

    251-533-6949

    Amy.Bauer@ehs-support.com

  • January 2009 - Lisa P. Jackson Appointed EPA Director

    Lisa P. Jackson Appointed Administrator of EPA

    Lisa P. Jackson has been appointed by President Obama as the Director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  She has set her agenda and as her first official act, she sent out the following letter:

    MEMORANDUM

    DATE:        January 23, 2009

    TO:            All EPA Employees

    FROM:       Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator-designate

    I can think of no higher calling or privilege than rejoining EPA as your Administrator. I am grateful and humbled that President Obama has given me this honor. With his election and with my appointment, President Obama has dramatically changed the face of American environmentalism. With your help, we can now change the face of the environment as well.

    During my 21 years in public service, I have witnessed firsthand the dedication and professionalism of EPA’s workforce. Thousands of committed, hard-working and talented employees for whom protecting the environment is a calling, not just a job, have made EPA a driving force in environmental protection since 1970.

    EPA can meet the nation’s environmental challenges only if our employees are fully engaged partners in our shared mission. That’s why I will make respect for the EPA workforce a bedrock principle of my tenure. I will look to you every day for ideas, advice and expertise. EPA should once again be the workplace of choice for veteran public servants and also talented young people beginning careers in environmental protection – just as it was for me when I first joined EPA shortly after graduate school.

    In outlining his agenda for the environment, President Obama has articulated three values that he expects EPA to uphold. These values will shape everything I do.

    Science must be the backbone for EPA programs. The public health and environmental laws that Congress has enacted depend on rigorous adherence to the best available science. The President believes that when EPA addresses scientific issues, it should rely on the expert judgment of the Agency’s career scientists and independent advisors. When scientific judgments are suppressed, misrepresented or distorted by political agendas, Americans can lose faith in their government to provide strong public health and environmental protection.

    The laws that Congress has written and directed EPA to implement leave room for policy judgments. However, policy decisions should not be disguised as scientific findings. I pledge that I will not compromise the integrity of EPA’s experts in order to advance a preference for a particular regulatory outcome.

    EPA must follow the rule of law. The President recognizes that respect for Congressional mandates and judicial decisions is the hallmark of a principled regulatory agency. Under our environmental laws, EPA has room to exercise discretion, and Congress has often looked to EPA to fill in the details of general policies. However, EPA needs to exercise policy discretion in good faith and in keeping with the directives of Congress and the courts. When Congress has been explicit, EPA cannot misinterpret or ignore the language Congress has used. When a court has determined EPA’s responsibilities under our governing statutes, EPA cannot turn a blind eye to the court’s decision or procrastinate in complying.

    EPA’s actions must be transparent. In 1983, EPA Administrator Ruckelshaus promised that EPA would operate “in a fishbowl” and “will attempt to communicate with everyone from the environmentalists to those we regulate, and we will do so as openly as possible.”

    I embrace this philosophy. Public trust in the Agency demands that we reach out to all stakeholders fairly and impartially, that we consider the views and data presented carefully and objectively, and that we fully disclose the information that forms the bases for our decisions. I pledge that we will carry out the work of the Agency in public view so that the door is open to all interested parties and that there is no doubt why we are acting and how we arrived at our decisions.

    We must take special pains to connect with those who have been historically underrepresented in EPA decision making, including the disenfranchised in our cities and rural areas, communities of color, native Americans, people disproportionately impacted by pollution, and small businesses, cities and towns working to meet their environmental responsibilities. Like all Americans, they deserve an EPA with an open mind, a big heart and a willingness to listen.

    As your Administrator, I will uphold the values of scientific integrity, rule of law and transparency every day. If ever you feel I am not meeting this commitment, I expect you to let me know.

    Many vital tasks lie before us in every aspect of EPA’s programs. As I develop my agenda, I will be seeking your guidance on the tasks that are most urgent in protecting public health and the environment and on the strategies that EPA can adopt to maximize our effectiveness and the expertise of our talented employees. At the outset, I would like to highlight five priorities that will receive my personal attention:

    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The President has pledged to make responding to the threat of climate change a high priority of his administration. He is confident that we can transition to a low-carbon economy while creating jobs and making the investment we need to emerge from the current recession and create a strong foundation for future growth. I share this vision. EPA will stand ready to help Congress craft strong, science-based climate legislation that fulfills the vision of the President. As Congress does its work, we will move ahead to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing EPA’s obligation to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.

    Improving air quality. The nation continues to face serious air pollution challenges, with large areas of the country out of attainment with air-quality standards and many communities facing the threat of toxic air pollution. Science shows that people’s health is at stake. We will plug the gaps in our regulatory system as science and the law demand.

    Managing chemical risks. More than 30 years after Congress enacted the Toxic Substances Control Act, it is clear that we are not doing an adequate job of assessing and managing the risks of chemicals in consumer products, the workplace and the environment. It is now time to revise and strengthen EPA’s chemicals management and risk assessment programs.

    Cleaning up hazardous-waste sites. EPA will strive to accelerate the pace of cleanup at the hundreds of contaminated sites across the country. Turning these blighted properties into productive parcels and reducing threats to human health and the environment means jobs and an investment in our land, our communities and our people.

    Protecting America’s water. EPA will intensify our work to restore and protect the quality of the nation’s streams, rivers, lakes, bays, oceans and aquifers. The Agency will make robust use of our authority to restore threatened treasures such as the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, to address our neglected urban rivers, to strengthen drinking-water safety programs, and to reduce pollution from non-point and industrial dischargers.

    As we meet these challenges, we must be sensitive to the burdens pollution has placed on vulnerable subpopulations, including children, the elderly, the poor and all others who are at particular risk to threats to health and the environment. We must seek their full partnership in the greater aim of identifying and eliminating the sources of pollution in their neighborhoods, schools and homes.

    EPA’s strength has always been our ability to adapt to the constantly changing face of environmental protection as our economy and society evolve and science teaches us more about how humans interact with and affect the natural world. Now, more than ever, EPA must be innovative and forward looking because the environmental challenges faced by Americans all across our country are unprecedented.

    These challenges are indeed immense in scale and urgency. But, as President Obama said Tuesday, they will be met. I look forward to joining you at work on Monday to begin tackling these challenges together.