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Understanding the CAA’s General Duty Clause

"Section 112(r)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), often referred to as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) General Duty Clause (GDC), covers all facilities that are stationary sources with regulated and other extremely hazardous substances, regardless of quantity. Today we will review just how really general the General Duty Clause is and tomorrow we look at recent inspections and subsequent violations."

Understanding the CAA’s General Duty Clause

The CAA Amendments of 1990 marked the birth of the GDC, which became effective in November of that year for any stationary source producing, processing, handling, or storing regulated substances or extremely hazardous substance. But the GDC is not an actual regulation, nor can compliance with the GDC be checked against a regulation or data submission requirement. Instead it provides the means for the EPA to set general obligations for covered facilities to identify hazards from accidental releases of hazardous substances, design and maintain a safe facility, and take steps to minimize impacts from accidental releases that do occur.


Combined Heat and Power 101

"The on-site production of electricity at power plants and in buildings is one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gases and other regulated emissions. One way to reduce those emissions, use less fuel, and achieve greater efficiency is through combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration, an old technology whose time has come, again."

Conventional power generation is a notoriously wasteful operation in the United States where the average efficiency of fossil-fueled power plants is just 33 percent, the same as it has been since the 1970s. The remaining energy produced is simply released in the form of heat, a curious fact when you consider that so much of the energy produced and purchased is actually used to keep us warm.


Hydraulic Fracturing with Diesel Fuels: More Recommendations for Successful Permitting

"The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently released, “Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels” makes recommendations for permitting that can help ensure a smooth permitting process. Yesterday, we reviewed five EPA recommendations and today, we will look at five more."

6. (Regarding well construction) EPA UIC Program Directors should ensure that a combination of casing and cement isolates the lowermost underground source of drinking water (USDW) encountered in the borehole from hydraulic fracturing (HF) target formations when specifying casing and cementing requirements for Class II wells using diesel fuel for HF.


Hydraulic Fracturing with Diesel Fuels: Recommendations for Successful Permitting

"In February 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released, “Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels: Underground Injection Control Program Guidance #84” to help protect drinking water and expedite the permitting process. Today and tomorrow, we will review recommendations made by the EPA for permitting agencies and what they mean to companies seeking Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II permits."

1. EPA UIC Program Directors should establish a process for the timely submission and review of permit applications consistent with 40 CFR 144.31 that allows sufficient time to review and authorize the permit to initiating HF activities using diesel fuels.


New Rules for Restricted-Use Pesticides in Indian Country

"As part of its ongoing pesticides program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new requirements for commercial and private applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) in Indian Country where no other EPA-approved applicator certification plan is in place."

Restricted use pesticides can only be sold to or used by specially certified applicators or by someone under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Although several states and Tribes have implemented their own certification plans, most state plans are not valid in Indian country, leaving a gap in protection of people and the environment.


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