Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Kansas, Colorado and California are profiled in this month's state regulatory update.
California - Smog Leader
It probably comes as no surprise that the U.S.
city with the worst smog pollution is Los Angeles. California is home to three
of the 10 most polluted cities. Ozone (smog) improved in significantly many
parts of the country, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the
Air: 2007 report. The report revealed that a third of the U.S. population lived
in areas with unhealthful levels of ozone, a significant reduction compared to
the last report when nearly half did.
Colorado - Court Rules for Water Well Permits
Coal methane gas
producers may need a water-well permit. A 6th Judicial District judge has ruled
that coal methane drillers are required to obtain permits because their gas
wells affect water rights and therefore are subject to the requirements of the
Ground Water Act. The ruling has created controversy, and may significantly
impact gas drilling operations statewide. The plaintiffs argue that the process
of injecting chemical-laced water under pressure to separate gas from coal
formations and then extracting it along with groundwater, depletes the supply
of irrigation water, causes dry wells and contaminates ground water left
behind. The plaintiffs are ranchers who are concerned about the quality of the
streams they depend upon for livestock and hay pastures.
Kansas - KC Ozone Plan Gets Green Light
Kansas’ plan to reduce ground-level ozone in the
Kansas City area recently got the green light from the federal EPA. According
to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), steps the state will
take include drafting regulations to limit power plant emissions and idling
commercial diesel vehicles in the Kansas City metro area. Other measures
include voluntary programs to reduce emissions and local plans to educate
residents about things they can do to curb air pollution.
Massachusetts - Bullet Catcher for National Guard
The National Guard in
Massachusetts won permission to resume the use of lead bullets on its small
arms range at Camp Edwards. The resumption of target practice using lead
bullets is part of a pilot program that will test a rubberized bullet catching
system intended to protect soil and water resources. In 1997, the federal EPA
suspended most military training at Camp Edwards, including all use of live
explosives, propellants, flares and lead bullets. Contamination was believed to
be affecting the sole source aquifer that provides drinking water for
residents. It was the first time in U.S. history that military training had been
halted for environmental and public health concerns.
Pennsylvania - Pushing for Renewable Energy
Gov. Edward Rendell continues to support the
development of clean and renewable energy technology. In a recent letter to
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the governor urged the House of
Representatives to support legislation to implement a national renewable energy
portfolio standard. The amendment to the energy bill was proposed by Reps. Mark
Udall (D-Colo.) and Todd Platts (R-Pa.), and requires utilities to utilize
renewable energy sources to account for 15 percent of their portfolio by 2020.
Texas - VOCs Targeted by HAWK
Over the summer, the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conducted a study aimed at identifying sources of
VOC emissions. The results will be used to develop plans to reduce such
emissions from these sources. VOCs are a precursor of ground-level ozone. A
specialized infrared camera, called “the HAWK,” can image VOC emissions that
are invisible to the eye. Helicopters equipped with the device have been flying
over pipelines, oil and gas production facilities, and other industrial areas
in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant,
Wise and Hood counties.
Virginia - General VPDES Permit Revisions Proposed
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has proposed revisions to the General
Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) Permit Regulation to
Discharges from Petroleum Contaminated Sites, Groundwater Remediation and
Hydrostatic Tests. The revisions will expand the scope of the regulation to
allow discharges to waters listed as public water supplies, and to permit
discharges of wastewater contaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents.