OSHA issues revised PPE Directive
On February 15, 2011, OSHA issued a revised directive that provides guidance to its enforcement personnel on determining whether employers have complied with OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. The new directive, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, replaces the existing directive, Inspection Guidelines for 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, the revised Personal Protective Equipment Standards for General Industry, that was issued in June 1995.
In this directive OSHA clarified what type of PPE employers must provide at no cost to workers and when employers are required to pay for PPE. The directive also provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE that complies with current consensus standards and updates PPE enforcement policies based on court and OSHA Review Commission decisions. Additionally, the directive lists PPE and other items that are exempted from the employer payment requirements. It also includes questions and answers useful in clarifying PPE payment concerns. The directive is available on the OSHA website at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-050.pdf
EPA signs final standards for boilers, process heaters and incinerators
On February 21, 2011, EPA signed revised air emission standards for boilers, process heaters and certain incinerators. In response to a September 2009 court order, EPA issued the proposed rules in April 2010. Based on public comments on the April 2010 proposed regulations, EPA cited a need to make extensive revisions to the proposals. Accordingly, in December 2010, EPA requested additional time to evaluate and consider this input before finalizing the rules. The court denied this request and ordered EPA to issue the final rules by February 21st.
Because the final standards significantly differ from the proposals, EPA indicated that further public review is required. As a result EPA issued a notice to reconsider the final standards under a CAA process that allows EPA to seek additional public review and comment. EPA’s reconsideration process will cover the emissions standards for large and small boilers and for solid waste incinerators.
In a separate but related action, EPA issued a final regulation that identified which non-hazardous secondary materials would be regulated as solid waste when combusted. Those units that burn such solid waste would be subject to the new regulatory requirements for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators. More information on these rules is available on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion/
EPA seeks public comment on plan to review regulations
On January 18, 2011 President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review (76 Fed. Reg. 9988). The new Executive Order directs each federal agency to develop a plan by May 18, 2011 on how it will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective and or less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives.
On February 23, 2011, EPA announced that it was inviting public input on its plan to guide EPA’s retrospective reviews of regulations as part of the Agency’s response to new Executive Order. At a March 14, 2011 public meeting, EPA sought public input regarding the design of its plan. EPA also announced at the public meeting that it was extending the public comment period until April 4, 2011.
In May 2011, EPA intends to provide the public with its retrospective review plan and an initial list of regulations it plans to review. More information about EPA’s retrospective review and details for commenting on the plan are available on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/improvingregulations/
Congress considering legislation to review and approve agency rulemakings
Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY) introduced legislation to provide congressional review of all major rules issued by federal agencies. The bill (H.R. 10) entitled, Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS), would require congressional approval of major rules of the Executive Branch before they may take effect. In the legislation, a major rule is defined as any rule, including an interim final rule that has resulted in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or U.S. competitiveness.
If a joint resolution of approval of such a major rule is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, then the rule would be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. The bill provides for an exception major rules that the President determines are necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.
The bill is currently being debated in the House and no votes on the pending legislation have been scheduled.
EPA extends March 31st deadline for submitting greenhouse gas emissions reports
EPA announced that it has postponed its March 31, 2011 deadline for sources to submit reports on 2010 emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) until September 30, 2011. This extension will allow EPA to refine the electronic reporting system that facilities will use to submit data. It will also give industry an opportunity to test the electronic reporting tool, provide feedback, and have sufficient time to become familiar with the tool prior to reporting.
According to a rule issued by EPA in October 2009, sources emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually must measure and report their GHG emissions. About 10,000 facilities covered by the rule began monitoring and measuring GHG emissions on January 1, 2010.
In December 2010, EPA already announced that it postponed until Aug. 31, 2011 (and possibly even later) the deadline for submitting certain data used to calculate emissions. More information regarding EPA’s GHG emissions reporting rules is available on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking.html
EPA proposes revisions to unregulated contaminant monitoring regulation (UCMR 3) for public water systems
On March 3, 2011, EPA proposed revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulation (UCMR3) applicable to public water systems (76 Fed. Reg. 11713). Specifically, EPA proposed six analytical methods developed by the agency and four methods developed by consensus organizations to monitor for 30 new UCMR chemical contaminants. The list of chemical contained two viruses and 28 new UMCR chemicals, including several perfluorinated compounds such as PFOS and PFOA.
The proposed contaminants list includes: 17-[beta]-estradiol; 17-[alpha]-ethynylestradiol (ethinyl estradiol); estriol; equilin; estrone; testosterone; 4-androstene-3,17-dione; 1,2,3-trichloropropane; 1,3-butadiene; chloromethane (methyl chloride); 1,1-dichloroethane; n-propylbenzene; bromomethane (methyl bromide); sec-butylbenzene; chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22); bromochloromethane (Halon 1011); 1,4-dioxane; vanadium; molybdenum; cobalt; strontium; chlorate; perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS); perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA); perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS); perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA); perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) and the enteroviruses and noroviruses.
Pursuant to the proposal, public water systems would be required to monitor for these new contaminants for a continuous 12-month period from January 2013 through December 2015. The data gathered from the monitoring will allow EPA to determine whether the contaminants should be regulated to protect public health. EPA is taking comments on the proposed revisions until May 2, 2011. More information on this action is available on the EPA website at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/ucmr/ucmr3/index.cfm
If you have any questions or would like additional information on any of these issues, please contact Christian Richter or Jeff Hannapel.