Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are profiled in this week’s state regulatory update.
Arizona – New Technology for USDA Inspections
is the first state to implement a new USDA pilot program for fresh fruit and
vegetable inspections. The program, the Fresh Electronic Inspection
Reporting/Resource System (FEIRS), is an electronic process utilizing software
and laptop computers that has, up until now, only been used in federal terminal
markets. The Arizona Department of Agriculture is the first nonfederal agency
to use FEIRS.
Louisiana – New HazMat Reporting Regs
that have hazardous materials in temporary storage or in transit have new
reporting requirements during emergencies under a regulation implemented by the
Louisiana DEQ. The requirements apply to hazardous materials in transit or temporarily
stored in portable storage containers during Category 3 or higher hurricanes.
The hazardous materials are those on the EPA’s list of extremely hazardous
substances (40 CFR 355, Appendix A).
Maryland – Clean Car Regs
The Maryland Department of the
Environment recently proposed regulations that would adopt the California
emissions standards for cars. This adoption was mandated by the Maryland Clean
Cars Act of 2007.
Massachusetts – Public Supports Wind Farm
The Cape Wind
project that would place 130 wind turbines about 5 miles off the coast of Cape
Cod continues to enjoy substantial public support from both sides of the
political aisle, based on a survey sponsored by the Civil Society Institute. According
to Cape Wind Associates, the proposed project is expected to generate 170
megawatts of electricity, or about 75 percent of the demand for Cape Cod, and
the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. However, a bill sponsored by
Alaska’s Rep. Don Young would limit the distance such turbines can be from
shipping lanes and could hamper the project. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is
also on record as opposing the project.
New Hampshire – Shoreline Act Changes Coming Up
by the General Court this year to New Hampshire’s Comprehensive Shoreline
Protection Act will be effective in April 2008. The state believes it’s not too
early for companies to familiarize themselves with the amendments and how they
will affect their operations. The amendments establish a permit program for
construction, excavation and filling activities within the protected shoreline;
create a 50-foot waterfront buffer in which vegetation removal is restricted
and pesticides are prohibited; and limit impervious surfaces.
New York – DEC Improves BECI
To boost environmental
crime-fighting efforts, the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation has reconstituted its Bureau of Environmental Crimes
Investigations (BECI) unit to focus on high-level and statewide criminal
operations. The DEC believes that by appointing Charles Johncox as BECI major
and Scott Florence as BECI captain it will improve its ability to perform
statewide and other complex investigations.
North Carolina – Water Quality Permit Fees Hiked
in the Tar Heel State need to address their budgets in order to accommodate a
hike in permit fees. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural
Resources recently increased the state’s water quality permit fees by 20
percent. According to the department, this is the first increase in fees since
1999. The permit programs affected by the fee increase include those for
wastewater treatment plants and recycling systems, sewer extensions, animal
operations, state and general stormwater permits, and water quality
certifications required for wetlands permits.
Pennsylvania – Mercury: Doing It Our Way
It appears that Gov. Edward G. Rendell is winning the battle for more stringent
mercury standards in Pennsylvania, as the federal EPA has recently proposed to
approve the commonwealth’s mercury reduction plan. Rendell’s plan requires that
power plants make an 80-percent reduction in mercury emissions by 2010 and a
90-percent reduction before 2015, without any emissions trading provisions.