EPA Finalizes CWA Hazardous Substance Facility Response Plan Rule

EHS Daily Advisor by Lisa Whitley Coleman

Washington, DC – On March 14, 2024, EPA Administrator Michael Regan signed a final rule requiring certain facilities to develop facility response plans (FRP) for a worst-case discharge of Clean Water Act (CWA) hazardous substances or the threat of such a discharge. Worst-case discharges are defined as the largest foreseeable discharge in adverse weather conditions, including extreme weather conditions due to climate change. Facilities subject to the rule are required to prepare response plans in the event of worst-case discharges or the threat of such discharges and submit them to the EPA. The final rule is effective May 28, 2024. Regulated entities must submit FRPs to the EPA within 36 months of this date. For the Final Rule, click here. For full text, click here.

EPA Overstepped its Authority in PFAS Order: Appeals Court

Coastal-Review.org by Jennifer Allen

New Orleans, LA – A federal appeals court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its statutory authority when it ordered a Texas-based company to stop creating long-lasting toxic chemicals while manufacturing plastic containers. The three judges for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans filed their unanimous decision Thursday, vacating the two orders the EPA had issued Dec. 1, 2023. 

The orders under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 5, directed Inhance Technologies LLC in Houston not to create per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as a byproduct during production of fluorinated high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, plastic containers. The containers are used to store products such as pesticides, fuel and automotive liquids. For full text, click here.

Buffalo’s Lead Paint Inspection Program is Unsustainable, Commissioner Says

Buffalo News by Diedre Williams

Buffalo, NY – Three years ago when Buffalo launched a Proactive Rental Inspections program, it was the city’s latest attempt to solve a lead poisoning problem that has plagued Buffalo’s old housing stock for decades. Mayor Byron W. Brown said it would help the city identify lead paint contamination and correct the problem “before it can hurt residents.” But Brown’s commissioner of permits and inspection services now says the inspection program lacks the funding to be sustainable and the PRI ordinance should be revised. Click here for the full text.

Testing for Lead in Kids’ Bones Reveals Evidence of Long-Term Damage a Blood Test Might Miss

Indiana Public Radio by Rebecca Thiele

Marion County, IN – When it comes to spotting lead poisoning, blood tests might not be enough. Tests on children at an Indianapolis charter school show evidence of long-term damage from lead could be hiding in kids’ bones. Kids at Genius School were tested for lead. While none of them had blood lead levels high enough to trigger the state to take action, they did have high levels in their bones. Purdue assistant professor Aaron Specht said lead only stays in the blood for a few weeks, but can build up in the bones and remain there for years.  Click here for the full text.

EPA Issues Draft Part 2 of Risk Evaluation for Asbestos for Public Comment

EPA Washington DC

On April 15th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 2, inviting public comment. This part focuses on evaluating legacy uses and associated disposals of asbestos, including various fiber types like chrysotile asbestos. Legacy uses refer to instances where manufacturing or distribution has ceased but asbestos may still be present, such as in floor tiles and insulation. EPA has preliminarily found that disturbing asbestos in these contexts poses unreasonable health risks.

A public webinar to discuss the risk evaluation will be held on May 13, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET, with an opportunity for participants to share comments. Those interested in providing feedback during the webinar are encouraged to email Chloe Durand (Durand.Chloe@epa.gov) by May 7, 2024.

Environmental Information Association Managing Director, Brent Kynoch, has registered for the webinar and will submit comments on behalf of the Environmental Industry Association.

Click here to register for the webinar. Click here to read the risk evaluation. For the full text of the EPA announcement, click here.

Before Tropicana Drops, Asbestos Will Need to Come Out

KTNV ABC by Brian Horwath

Las Vegas, NV – Before the implosion of the Tropicana can take place, a lot of asbestos will need to be removed from the former resort’s complex. According to a 1,500-page report commissioned by Clark County officials, the series of buildings that make up the now-closed casino resort, and the site of the 2016 Environmental Information Association National Conference & Exhibition, have quite a bit of the stuff. Bally’s Corporation, owner of the Tropicana, plans to implode the complex in October to make way for construction of a $1.5 billion baseball ballpark for the Oakland A’s. For the full text, click here

Victims of Montana Asbestos Pollution Take Warren Buffett’s Railroad to Court

Associated Press by Matthew Brown and Amy Beth Handson

Libby, MT – Almost 25 years after federal authorities responding to news reports of deaths and illnesses descended on Libby, a town of about 3,000 people near the U.S.-Canada border, some asbestos victims and their family members are seeking to hold publicly accountable one of the major corporate players in the tragedy: BNSF Railway. Texas-based BNSF faces accusations of negligence and wrongful death for failing to control clouds of contaminated dust that used to swirl from the rail yard and settle across Libby’s neighborhoods. For the full text, click here.

Asbestos is a Global Waste Problem – Here’s How We Might Get Rid of It

BBC by Katharine Quarmby

Netherlands – In 2019, it was estimated that around 200 million tonnes of asbestos had been produced globally (not counting production in the previous decade), for use in items such as water pipes. When disturbed, the fibres become airborne and, when breathed in, can damage the lungs and airways, potentially leading to cancer. Most ends up in landfill buried with other rubbish in the hope it remains trapped. But there are concerns that the fibres can escape into the environment and get into water supplies, even becoming airborne. So there is need for a more permanent solution. Enter companies such as Asbeter in the Netherlands, who are at the forefront of developing ways of breaking down harmful asbestos fibres permanently, or so they hope. For the full text, click here

ADAO Applauds Senators Tester and Daines for Introducing the 19th Resolution Designating April 1-7, 2024 National Asbestos Awareness Week


Washington, DC – The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community work, applauds Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), for introducing the 19th National Asbestos Awareness Week Resolution. The Resolution declares April 1 – 7 as a week of awareness and directs the U.S. Surgeon General to issue a warning to all Americans about the dangers of asbestos exposure. For the full text of the release, click here. For the full text of Tester and Daines’ resolution, click here.