• EPA Approves Use of New Phase I Assessment Standard

    EPA Approves Use of New Phase I Assessment Standard

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has approved an amendment to the Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquires (AAIs). Here’s what you need to know in three quick facts:

    • Significant changes include REC definition, environmental consultant review criteria, pathways of contamination, and definition of a CREC.
    • The new rule allows the use of either ASTM-E1527-13 or ASTM E1527-05.
    • Rule is effective on November 13, 2013.

    On August 15, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) approved the use of American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard E1527-13, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirement for All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) for environmental due diligence. The codification of the approval can be found in 40 CFR 312, Innocent Landowners, Standards for Conducting AAIs. Historically, the rule listed the older standard ASTM E1527-05, which was approved in 2005. The new rule allows the use of either ASTM E1527-13 or ASTM E1527-05 to satisfy the AAI requirements. Significant changes in the new Phase I standard include the following:

    • Simplification of the definition of Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) to include:
      • Releases to the environment
      • Conditions indicative of a release to the environment
      • Conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment.
    • Clarification of when an environmental consultant is required to conduct a review of a governmental agency’s files.
    • The identification and analysis of the potential pathways for contamination in soil and groundwater to give off vapors that can migrate into buildings and impact indoor air quality.
    • The addition of a definition of a Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC), which is a REC that has been investigated and is already subject to controls and restrictions.

    The revised rule is effective on November 13, 2013. More information on the rule can be found in the Federal Register at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/FR-2013-08-15/2013-19764/content-detail.html.

    The changes to the Phase I standard will impact the environmental due diligence considerations associated with merger and acquisition transactions. The clarification of the definition of an REC will provide a clearer understanding of environmental risks in a transaction. The new requirements also specify several new requirements for the environmental professional completing the assessment; therefore, it is critical that a prospective buyer work with an experienced and reputable consultant in order to take advantage of the liability protections afforded by the Phase I standard.

    Need help deciphering through these changes and updates? EHS Support can assist you with your environmental due diligence needs, please contact our Technical Expert, Bruce Martin at bruce.martin@ehs-support.com or (703) 944-4709.

  • EPA Finalizes Amendments New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas Storage Tanks

    EPA Finalizes Amendments New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas Storage Tanks

    On August 2, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued updates to the April 2012 oil and natural gas standards for storage tanks. The rule applies to storage tanks constructed after Aug. 23, 2011 and are used to store crude oil, condensate, unrefined petroleum liquids known as “intermediate hydrocarbon liquids,” or produced water. Storage tanks subject to NSPS (have a potential to emit six or more tons of volatile organic compounds [VOC] a year) must reduce emissions by 95 percent. The updates include the following:

    • Phase in the date by which storage tanks must install VOC controls
    • Establish alternative emission limits for tanks where emissions have declined
    • Clarify test protocols for control equipment
    • Clarify the types of tanks subject to the rule
    • Streamline compliance monitoring requirements to ensure leaks are repaired while USEPA addresses monitoring issues raised in reconsideration petitions
    • Adjust requirements for submitting annual reports.

    Compliance deadlines include the following:

    • Tanks that come online after April 12, 2013 are likely to have higher emissions and must control VOC emissions within 60 days or by April 15, 2014, whichever is later
    • Tanks that came online before April 12, 2013 are likely to have lower emissions and must control VOC emissions by April 15, 2015.

    Additional standards of the rule also allow an alternative emissions limit that would permit owners/operators to remove controls from tanks if they can demonstrate that the tanks emit less than four tons per year of VOC emissions without controls for twelve consecutive months. Owners are still required to evaluate emissions monthly to ensure emissions are below four tons.

    The docket for this rule is Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505 and can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov. For more information about this rule, go to http://www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/actions.html.

    EHS Support can help your company by providing expertise for air permit applications, technical support, or auditing. Please contact our Technical Expert, Peter Okonski at peter.okonski@ehs-support.com or (225)324-1309.

  • EPA Modifies Regulations on Solvent Wipes

    EPA Modifies Regulations on Solvent Wipe

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has modified the hazardous waste management regulations governing the use of solvent contaminated wipes. Here’s what you need to know in three short quick facts:

    • Solvent-contaminated wipes can be excluded from hazardous waste regulations provided that facilities clean or dispose of them properly.
    • To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal.
    • Facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain record-keeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.

    EPA released a pre-publication version of the long awaited Solvent-Contaminated Wipes rule to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations provided that businesses clean or dispose of them properly. The rule is based on the EPAs final peer reviewed risk analysis that concluded that wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents do not pose significant risk to human health and the environment when managed properly.

    The rule excludes wipes that are contaminated with solvents listed as hazardous wastes under RCRA that are cleaned or disposed of properly. To be excluded, solvent-contaminated wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers and cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. Additionally, facilities that generate solvent-contaminated wipes must comply with certain record-keeping requirements and may not accumulate wipes for longer than 180 days.

    The EPA has determined that the wipes, which are used in conjunction with solvents for cleaning and other purposes, are used by tens of thousands of facilities in numerous industrial sectors. The rule is expected to ease the regulatory burden and reduce costs for industries such as commercial printing, automobile repair shops, as well as manufacturers of automobiles, electronics, furniture, and chemicals.

    The docket for this rule-making is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2003-0004 and can be accessed at www.regulations.gov once the final rule is published. For more information about this rule-making, go to www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/wastetypes/wasteid/solvents/wipes.htm.

    EHS Support can help your company prepare a comprehensive waste management plan for solvent contaminated wipes and other waste. Please contact our EHS Support Compliance Expert, Kate Gibson at kate.gibson@ehs-support.com or (732) 598-3293.

  • EPA Offering Possible Deadline Extensions for Compliance with Engine Standards

    EPA Offering Possible Deadline Extensions for Compliance with Engine Standards

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) for stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) (subpart ZZZZ) on May 3, 2010. On January 30, 2013, the EPA issued a final rule amending the standards. These were published less than 120 days before the compliance deadline, which began on May 2, 2013. Stationary engines are used in many applications where they may be installed at fixed locations, such as power generators.

    The amendments affect the way emergency engines may operate after the NESHAP subpart ZZZZ compliance deadline, and some sources may have revised their intended uses of these engines following the January 20, 2013, final rule publication. EPA acknowledges that some sources may be in compliance currently, but because of the 2013 amendments, could exceed the maximum hours allowed for non-emergency operation for the year. Therefore, EPA will consider extending the compliance deadline for engines by one year in certain circumstances. This is addressed in a July 11, 2013, memorandum issued by the agency.

    There are three federal standards regulating the emissions from stationary RICE:

    • NESHAP Subpart ZZZZ (also known as MACT)
    • NSPS IIII (New Source Performance Standard for stationary compression ignition internal combustion engines)
    • NSPS JJJJ (New Source Performance Standard for stationary spark ignition internal combustion engines).

    The 2013 amendments affect the way emergency engines may operate after the NESHAP compliance date. In light of the 2013 amendments, some sources could potentially exceed the maximum hours allowed for non-emergency operation of emergency engines. The memo provides details about what factors may be considered for granting a one-year compliance extension request. The memo is available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/rice/20130703extensionmemo.pdf.

    EPA provides a software program to help owners and operators of RICE determine their requirements under 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 63, subpart ZZZZ at http://www.epa.gov/airtoxics/rice/output/quiz.html.

    For more information on on how to comply with EPA regulations for stationary RICE, please contact EHS Support Compliance Expert, Amy Bauer at amy.bauer@ehs-support.com or (251)533-6949.

  • EPA Releases May 2013 RSLs

    EPA Releases May 2013 RSLs

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2013 released the updated Regional Screening Levels (RSLs), dated May 2013, that were developed using risk assessment guidance from the EPA Superfund program. Although the RSLs are developed for the Superfund program, most Federal and State risk-based environmental cleanup programs reference the RSLs. The RSLs are used as risk-based screening tools to determine if there is a potential need for further investigation or whether a site-specific risk assessment is required for cleanup of a site. Based on the current revisions, changes to the RSLs were both chemical specific and based on individual chemical toxicities and risk drivers (i.e., carcinogenic versus noncarcinogenic), and incorporate changes in several major potential exposure pathways.

    EHS Support offers the following overview of these EPA updates. Our team of environmental scientists, geologists and engineers, with local and national perspectives, specialize in managing complex sites. We are able to recommend and implement a wide range of approaches and look forward to discussing the needs of your project or facility based on these recently released updates.

    What are the significant changes?

    Toxicological values were revised and/or added for several constituents based on updates to the Provisional Peer Reviewed Toxicity Values for Superfund (PPRTV), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). The PPRTV are considered a second tier source of human health toxicity values by the EPA in the hierarchy of toxicological sources, and the ATSDR and CalEPA are considered a third and fourth source, respectively. The changes include the reference dose (RfD), reference concentration (RfC), and slope factor (SF).

    The following are the changes based on updates to the PPRTV:

    • Toluene-2,5-diamine, RfD decreased, SF added
    • Butylbenzene, tert-, new, RfD added
    • Butylbenzene, sec-, new, RfD added
    • Octyl Phthalate, di-N-, RfD decreased,
    • Thiocyanic Acid, new, previously Thiocyanate
    • Dinitrotoluene, 2,6-, RfD decreased, SF added
    • Methyl-1,4-benzenediamine dihydrochloride, 2-, RfD increased
    • Methylbenzene-1,4-diamine sulfate, 2-, RfD increased, SF added
    • Benzenediamine-2-methyl sulfate, 1,4-, RfD increased, SF added
    • Dinitrotoluene, Technical grade, new, RfD added, SF added.

    The following are the changes based on updates to the ASTDR:

    • Uranium (Soluble Salts), RfC added
    • 1,4-Dioxane, RfC decreased
    • Tricresyl Phosphate (TCP), new, RfD added
    • Cadmium (diet and water), RfC decreased
    • Vanadium and Compounds, RfC added
    • Tris(1,3-Dichloro-2-propyl) Phosphate, mutagen classification removed.

    The following are the changes based on updates to the Cal EPA:

    • Nickel Refinery Dust, RfD and RfC decreased
    • Nickel Carbonyl, RfD and RfC decreased
    • Nickel Oxide, RfD and RfC decreased
    • Nickel Subsulfide, RfD and RfC decreased.

    The change of toxicological values for the 20 constituents listed above will result in changes to the RSLs for these constituents. If you have a project where one of these constituents may be present, the change in the RSLs may affect the characterization of potential risks in a quantitative risk assessment. For those constituents with a decrease in an RfD or RfC, or if a SF was added, more stringent RSLs may be developed. If the RfD or RfC increased, less stringent RSLs may result.

    What were the other changes that were made to RSL chemicals?

    New Tables are now provided with target hazard quotients (THQ) of 1.0 and 0.1. If you are unclear about which set of tables (THQ=1.0 or THQ=0.1) to use at your site, EHS Support is able to provide guidance for your project or facility. The rationale for using THQ of 0.1 for screening is that if 10 chemicals were at a site and all narrowly passed a screening at THQ=1.0, the resulting total HI could actually be 10. Many EPA regions and States routinely require the use of a THQ = 0.1 when selecting constituents of concern (COCs) in the risk assessment process.

    In addition, chemical-specific changes include:

    • The RfDs for the numbered, dioxin-like PCBs are now based on the 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) RfD from the EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) and the toxicity equivalence factors (TEFs) presented in RSL User Guide.
    • The high aliphatic and high aromatic total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) were classified as semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and all the TPHs were given chemical-specific parameters. Chemical-specific parameter assignment was based on the representative compound identified in the PPRTV paper when available. The medium aliphatic TPH did have a surrogate listed in the PPRTV paper; therefore n-nonane was assigned. The TPHs are currently available in the calculator only.
    • Glyphosate Koc was updated.
    • Thiocyanic Acid was given the CAS number 463-56-9. This number was previously assigned to Thiocyanate.
    • Vanadium and Compounds was given the CAS number 7440-62-2. Previously it did not have a CAS number. This results in the database matching an RfC from ATSDR (see above).
    • The arsenic screening levels for ingestion of soil are now calculated with the relative bioavailability factor (RBA) of 0.6. The RBA can be adjusted using the calculator in site-specific/user-provided mode the same way toxicity values can be changed. The RBA for soil ingestion is shown in the calculator output. See Section 5.10 of the User Guide for more information.

    The RSL calculator, if operated in site-specific mode, now gives the option to substitute the Csat for the inhalation route screening level as well as giving the opportunity to substitute the theoretical concentration limit of 1E+05 mg/kg for the total screening level. These two options, combined with the ability to change the target risk and the target hazard quotient, should provide users with enough flexibility to generate screening levels applicable to many site-specific situations.

    The following is a clarification to the November 2012 Update for the third to the last bullet that identifies the updates to the recreator landuse scenario:

    • The calculator-based recreator landuse scenario shares the following identical default exposure parameters with the residential landuse scenario: body surface area, ingestion rates, body weight, and soil adherence factors. Default recreational exposure parameters are not provided for exposure frequency, exposure time, and events per day because recreational activities vary greatly and should be derived on a site-specific basis. Please see the User’s Guide for the exposure equations and a conceptual model of quantified pathways.

    Where can my company obtain more information?

    EPA RSLs can be found at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/risk/human/rb-concentration_table/index.htm. For more information on the updated EPA RSLs or recommendations on how to apply these changes to your daily operations, please contact Tom Biksey at 724-884-6724 and tom.biksey@ehs-support.com, or Chrissy Peterson at 412-925-1385 and chrissy.peterson@ehs-support.com. Also, visit our website at www.ehs-support.com to learn more about the services that EHS Support can offer to your team or facility.

  • EPA Updating Vapor Intrusion Guidance

    EPA to Update and Expand Vapor Intrusion Guidance; ASTM E1527-13 to Include Vapor Intrusion

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be expanding their review of vapor intrusion at sites being evaluated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Brownfields, or states with authority to implement CERCLA or RCRA. Vapor intrusion is the migration of hazardous vapors from subsurface contamination such as soil or groundwater into indoor air. On April 16, EPA released for public input, two draft final vapor intrusion guidance documents, one general guidance applying to all compounds and one focused guidance applying to petroleum hydrocarbons released from underground storage tanks. The comment deadline is June 24, 2013. In a related development, due to be finalized in 2013, ASTM International will revise standards regarding due diligence, ASTM E1527-05 for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA), to include vapor intrusion.

    What EPA programs will be affected?

    The EPA currently reviews the effectiveness of remedies at CERCLA sites during five-year reviews. The EPA will be required to consider vapor intrusion as part of the evaluation of remedy effectiveness during five-year superfund reviews, and will expand evaluations of migrating vapor intrusion in nonresidential buildings such as schools, hotels, and hospitals. The addition of a review of vapor intrusion will apply to sites even if vapor intrusion was not included in the original remedial assessment.

    The EPA also plans to consider vapor intrusion for sites in other programs, such as brownfields and others undergoing remediation under EPA oversight. This EPA guidance may be used by state implemented remediation programs.

    The revised Phase I ESA standard (ASTM E1527-13, as it will be known), if adopted, will also include a review of the vapor pathway. The new ASTM E1527-13 will need to be approved by EPA as meeting the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) requirement.

    How will it change the way vapor intrusion is evaluated?

    Included in the changes for remediation sites, the final EPA guidance will contain new toxicity values for constituents that will alter the acceptable indoor air screening levels and change the process for remediating properties affected by volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. The guidance will use a “multiple lines of evidence” approach to evaluate vapor intrusion risks that are likely to result in increased sampling of off-site properties.

    In the revised ASTM Phase I ESA standard, evaluation of vapor intrusion pathways will be required in an assessment of recognized environmental conditions (RECs) or other environmental concerns. This will be achieved by an expanded regulatory file review of vapor intrusion and evaluation of off-site sources of vapor intrusion.

    Where can my company obtain more information?

    The EPA’s draft vapor intrusion guidance and information about the existing vapor intrusion program is available at http://www.epa.gov/oswer/vaporintrusion/.

    For more information, please contact Rebecca Day at (412)439-9045/ rebecca.day@ehs-support.com or Amy Bauer at (251)533-6949/ amy.bauer@ehs-support.com.

  • Proposed EPBC Amendment

    Proposed EPBC Amendment to include Water Resources as a Matter of National Environmental Significance in Relation to CSG Activities

    The Commonwealth government announced in March 2013 that it proposes to make an amendment to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act (1999) to include ‘Water Resources’ as a Matter of National Environmental Significance (MNES) in relation to large coal mining developments and coal seam gas (CSG) developments.

    Should the amendment be passed, it would introduce a new ‘water trigger’ into the EPBC Act for CSG development or large coal mining development. Such proposed development would then require approval from the Minister if the action will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a ‘water resource’.

    Although firm guidance on what constitutes significant impact to water resources is not defined in the Bill, the National Partnership Agreement (NPA – a partnership of the Australian Government, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victorian governments to strengthen CSG and large coal mining operations) has defined a ‘significant impact‘ on water resources as one caused by a single action or the cumulative impact of multiple actions that would directly or indirectly:

    • change the quantity, quality or availability of surface or ground water;
    • alter ground water pressure and/ or water table levels;
    • alter the ecological character of a wetland;
    • divert or impound rivers or creeks, or substantially alter drainage patterns;
    • reduce biological diversity or change species composition;
    • alter coastal processes, including sediment movement or accretion, or water circulation patterns;
    • result in persistent organic chemicals, heavy metals, or other potentially harmful chemicals accumulating in the environment such that biodiversity, ecological integrity, human health or other community and economic use may be substantially adversely affected; and/or
    • substantially increase demand for, or reduce the availability of, water for human consumption.

    On 14^th May 2013, the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee released its report setting out its findings of the enquiry into the EPBC Bill, concluding that the Bill is necessary and recommending that it be passed by the Senate.

    How EHS Support can help navigate this potential new requirement

    EHS Support has been working with CSG companies to help develop their water impact assessments and water monitoring and management strategies and plans. In direct response to this potential requirement, EHS Support is currently working on projects with the following goals:

    • Design a regional groundwater monitoring network that focuses on using a combination of existing and purpose-built groundwater monitoring bores to monitor long-term groundwater quality and pressure data near key receptors and groundwater supply areas.
    • Develop a database of private bore construction information within CSG development areas and a ranking of those bores that may be most at risk of exhibiting potential impacts from CSG activities and why.
    • Evaluate existing conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells within CSG development areas to provide a risk ranking of wells with high potential for failure and to identify (using well construction information) the zones within the wells that are most prone to failure.

    EHS Support staff have experienced hydrogeologists, groundwater modellers, engineers and environmental approval specialists with years of experience supporting CSG project developments in Australia. We are a collaborative team who work with our clients to meet their project delivery needs.

    Where can my company obtain more information?

    For more information, contact Chris Smitt at chris.smitt@ehs-support.com or Tom Silverman at tom.silverman@ehs-support.com

  • EPA Developing Next Generation Compliance Program

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a Next Generation Compliance program to address non-compliance with environmental regulations, according to a draft national program manager guidance for fiscal year (FY) 2014. The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance will establish the Next Generation Compliance program to take advantage of advances in emissions monitoring and information technology. The program manager guidance documents are to provide a framework for regional, state, and tribal implementation of EPA’s annual plan and budget and its strategic plan. The EPA regional offices can use the guidance to establish work-sharing plans with states.

    What is Next Generation Compliance?

    The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance is working with EPA’s program offices and regional offices to design regulations and permits that include Next Generation Compliance tools. The Next Generation Compliance initiative will involve using advanced emissions detection technology to spot pollution discharges to help industry prevent releases and to help governments and the public target non-compliance. In addition, the initiative will include advanced monitoring technology. The guidance also indicates EPA will require a wider use of electronic reporting of sources, pollution, and compliance.

    What is important to know about the Next Generation Compliance program?

    The EPA also intends to make monitoring and reporting information publicly available. As part of the initiative, the EPA is using enforcement approaches, such as fence line monitoring, in its compliance efforts. Settlements and enforcement investigations include advanced monitoring and electronic reporting. According to the enforcement office’s draft guidance, a strategic plan for the Next Generation Compliance program will be prepared by the end of FY 2013.

    In an overview of the program manager guidance for FY 2014, the EPA identified several topics that are prioritized across the various offices’ individual guidance documents. For example, offices are integrating sustainability and climate change into their programs. Specifically, the EPA Office of Water’s guidance stated that regional offices need to determine actions states can take to adapt their clean water and drinking water programs to climate change.

    Where can my company obtain more information?

    The EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance draft national program manager guidance for FY 2014 is available at http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/draftfy14oecanpmgdnce.pdf.

    Draft program manager guidance for other EPA offices can be accessed at http://www2.epa.gov/planandbudget/fy-2014-draft-npm-guidances.

    For more information, please contact Bruce Martin (703)944-4709 / bruce.martin@ehs-support.com or Amy Bauer at (251)533-6949 / amy.bauer@ehs-support.com.

  • Greentape Reduction Act

    Greentape Reduction Act

    What is Greentape Reduction Act?

    Queensland Government is introducing the Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (PDF)* (Greentape Reduction Act) which is a culmination of a two-year consultative process, the Greentape Reduction Project. The Greentape Reduction Project was set up by the Queensland Government to investigate government, community and corporate concerns about the complex regulatory process that has developed over time under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act). The project aims to streamline, integrate and coordinate regulatory requirements under the EP Act without compromising environmental outcomes. It is a contribution towards the government’s policy to reducing regulation and red tape by 20 percent.

    The Greentape Reduction Act primarily amends the licensing framework under the EP Act. It introduces a staged application process to obtain environmental authorities (EA) for all environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) including prescribed ERAs and resource activities. Freeing up industry and government resources by reducing unnecessary costs of regulation will also allow a more focused and proportionate response to activities that present higher environmental risks.

    Requirements in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 have also been amended as a result of the Greentape Reduction Act and amendments to the EP Act. Many of the regulatory requirements in Chapter 4 of the pre-amended Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 were moved into a new Schedule 5 of the Regulation, which separates the considerations to be made for EA decisions from the considerations for making a development permit decisions. This separation makes the approval process more flexible and clarifies the requirements for applications.

    When will Greentape Reduction Act Commence?

    The Greentape Reduction Act and amendments to the EP Act and Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 will take effect on 31 March 2013.

    Greentape Reduction Act Impact on Businesses and Industry

    The following list summarizes the key impacts on business and industry triggered by the Greentape Reduction Act:

    • Provides an integrated approval process for all EAs (including resource activities and prescribed ERAs).
    • Links information and notification stages of the EA assessment processes to the environmental impact statement (EIS) process as outlined in Chapter 3 of the EP Act. This will prevent duplication of information in the EA application and public notification processes.
    • Identifies a more proportionate licensing framework for EAs, including standard applications for activities that have well understood and manageable environmental risks.
    • Streamlines the resource tenure and EA approval processes.
    • The EA will be linked to the resource tenure and will transfer automatically with the transfer of tenure, removing the need for transfer applications to be made under the EP Act.
    • Holders of two or more EAs can apply for an amalgamated corporate authority (corporate license) for all activities.
    • Removes the need for an environmental management plan (EMP) for resource activities; these requirements will instead be included in the application process.
    • Revises the plan of operations.
      • Plan of operations for standard / small mining operations (previously known as level 2 mines) are no longer required.
      • EAs associated with a petroleum lease will now be required to have a plan of operations instead of an operational plan.
    • As a current holder of an EA for a mining or a Chapter 5A activity, the holder is automatically registered as a suitable operator.
    • In draft amendments to the Regulations includes new fees to reflect processes introduced by the Greentape Reduction Act (e.g. changing an application, amalgamating EAs transferring EAs and converting EA conditions to standard conditions, becoming an auditor).

    Beneficial Impacts

    Amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 will provide the following benefits to business and industry:

    • Deletion of 20 ERA thresholds from Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 will ensure new businesses no longer require an approval under the EP Act to operate in Queensland. In addition, once these ERA thresholds are deleted, existing operators will no longer be required to pay an annual fee.
    • The revised definition of an ERA now includes resource activities (geothermal, greenhouse gas storage, mining and petroleum activities), allowing applicants to identify these activities in an EA application.
    • Reducing the annual fee by half for small sewage treatment plant license holders will ensure small tourism operators are not financially burdened by environmental license fees.
    • Operators will be able to amend operational conditions on their EA for a number of nominated ERAs without triggering a development application requirement under the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.
    • Alignment of the decision making regulatory requirements to environmental objectives with clear performance outcomes will make it easier to prepare applications for an EA.
    • Transfer of responsibility for administration of ERA 4 – Poultry farming from local governments to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will improve access to relevant expertise.

    These initiatives will benefit up to 9,400 small to medium sized businesses, saving an estimated $6.18 million in annual fees for industry.

    When will Greentape Reduction guidance material be available?

    A quick guide to the Greentape Reduction Act is currently available online and on 2 April 2013. New materials will be published on the Business and Industry Portal including application forms and additional guidance material.

    Can I provide feedback to EHP?

    Yes, the following draft standard conditions (together with the supporting risk assessments) are currently open for public comment:

    Submission and comments can be provided to the department online (www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au ) and via email (csg.reg@ehp.qld.gov.au ). After public consultation, the chief executive of the department will then decide whether to make eligibility criteria and standard conditions for the activity.

    How can I stay informed?

    An online Greentape Reduction Newsletter is provided by EHP.

    Where can I get more information?

    For more information on the Greentape Reduction Act, please contact Jessica Tierney (Jessica.Tierney@ehs-support.com) or Beth Hesse (beth.hesse@ehs-support.com).

  • New Private Equity Management Tool Released

    The Environmental Defense Fund Releases New Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Management Tool for the Private Equity Industry

    In December 2012, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in association with leading private equity firms, released a new management tool to measure and evaluate environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance in the private equity sector. ESG is a term used by investors to describe how they evaluate non-financial performance indicators. Growing interest in ESG matters by investors reflects the view that environmental, social, and corporate governance issues can directly affect financial performance.

    How was the ESG Management Tool developed?

    EDF developed the free tool in partnership with prominent private equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), The Carlyle Group, and Oak Hill Capital Partners. According to EDF, these partnerships have resulted in $370 million in operating cost savings and a reduction of 820,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions for more than 30 portfolio companies.

    What is the ESG Management Tool and how can it help my company?

    The ESG management tool is a free Excel file that provides a framework for private equity firms to assess and improve ESG management across 22 best practice areas. For example, users of the tool can evaluate performance in areas such as access to ESG resources, integration of ESG management into the investment process and portfolio company operations, and measure and report results. The broader framework assesses performance across four categories: leadership, management, investment process, and reporting results. The ESG management tool gives users a detailed analysis of the firm’s practices and a menu of strategic initiatives to consider.

    What is the outcome from using the ESG Management Tool?

    The outputs from the tool can be used in several ways by general partners (GPs), limited partners (LPs), and others, for example:

    1. GPs can use the tool to evaluate their performance and develop a prioritized action plan for improvement
    2. LPs can ask GPs to perform a self-assessment and discuss with them the actions the firm plans to take based on the results
    3. Consultants can use the tool to develop specific recommendations for improvement with their private equity clients.

    EDF’s ESG Management Tool is a resource for private equity firms to make measuring and managing ESG performance a standard practice for value creation across their funds.

    Where can my company obtain more information?

    For additional information on the ESG Management Tool or the ways in which EHS Support can assist Private Equity firms with ESG management, contact Bruce Martin at (703) 944-4709 or bruce.martin@ehs-support.com.

  • EPA Releases November 2012 RSLs

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2012 released the updated Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) that were developed using risk assessment guidance from the EPA Superfund program. Although the RSLs are developed for the Superfund program, most Federal and State risk-based environmental cleanup programs reference the RSLs. The RSLs are used as risk-based screening tools to determine if there is a potential need for further investigation or whether a site-specific risk assessment is required for cleanup of a site. Based on the current revisions, changes to the RSLs were both chemical specific and based on individual chemical toxicities and risk drivers (i.e., carcinogenic versus noncarcinogenic), and incorporate changes in several major potential exposure pathways.

    What are the significant changes?

    Toxicological values were revised and/or added for several constituents based on updates to the Provisional Peer Reviewed Toxicity Values for Superfund (PPRTV). The PPRTV are considered a second tier source of human health toxicity values by the EPA in the hierarchy of toxicological sources. Oral reference doses (RfDos) were added to the PPRTV database for fifteen chemicals: boron trichloride, 2-chloroethanol, cyclohexane, diethanolamine, methyl acrylate, di-N-octyl phthalate, thallium acetate, thallium carbonate, thallium chloride, thallium (I) nitrate, thallium sulfate, p-toluidine, triacetin, tris(1-chloro2-propyl)phosphate, and zirconium. An inhalation reference concentration (RfCi) was also added to the database for boron trichloride; the oral slope factor (SFo) for p-toluidine decreased. The addition of toxicological values for the fifteen constituents listed above result in the ability to calculate risk-based screening levels for these constituents. If you have a project where one of these constituents may be present, RSLs are now available for screening purposes and may result in inclusion of the constituent in a quantitative risk assessment. Previously, the chemicals may have been evaluated qualitatively.

    The RfCi for acetone cyanohydrin increased; the RfCi for methylacrylonitrile increased. The RfDo for ethylene cyanohydrin and toluene-2,5-diamine increased. Additional toxicological changes included the addition of an RfCi for cyanide using hydrogen cyanide as a toxicological surrogate; replacement of the mercuric chloride RfCi wth the elemental mercury RfCi. For those constituents with an increase in a RfDo or RfCi or a decrease in a SFo, more stringent RSLs were developed. If the RfCi decreased, less stringent RSLs result.

    What were the other changes that were made to RSL chemicals?

    Updates were also made to the RSL calculator, which allows for site-specific or default calculation of RSLs. The updates include the addition of individual total petroleum hydrocarbons to the calculator; the residential scenario site-specific option now requires separate entries for each age cohort for calculation of the RSL; and, the soil to groundwater scenario now includes Protection of Ground Water Soil Screening Levels (SSLs) for both cancer and non-cancer.

    Parameters for dermal exposure to water were updated: the most recent log Kow values are now used to determine effective predictive domain (EPD) regarding dermal permeability. The RSLs now calculate their own Fraction Absorbed (FA) for dermal to tapwater route.

    The melting point database was updated, and the SSL Guidance followed for soil saturation limit (Csat) calculations. If a melting point is less than 20 degrees Celsius (Co), a chemical is liquid and Csat is calculated; if a melting point is greater than 20Co, the chemical is a solid and Csat is not calculated.

    Other additions and revisions include:

    Updates to the hierarchy of water solubility sources

    Thiocyanate was reclassified as an inorganic compound

    • Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) were added for aldicarb, aldicarb sulfone, and adicarb sulfoxide
    • Recreator scenario was updated to include additional default exposure assumptions to match the residential scenario.

    Where can I get more information?

    For more information on the updated EPA RSLs, please contact Tom Biksey at 724-884-6724 and tom.biksey@ehs-support.com <mailto:tom.biksey@ehs-support.com> , or Chrissy Peterson at 412-925-1385 and chrissy.peterson@ehs-support.com <mailto:chrissy.peterson@ehs-support.com>

    Where can I find the RSLs?

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