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Gina McCarthy’s First 100 Days as U.S. EPA Administrator
On July 18, 2013, Gina McCarthy was confirmed by the United States Senate as the 13th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since Administrator McCarthy’s confirmation, EPA has made significant strides towards improving the health of American families and protecting the environment across the country. Below are highlights of the Agency’s notable achievements during Gina McCarthy’s first 100 days as EPA Administrator.
Making a Visible Difference in Communities across the Country
Cleaning Up Chemicals at Public Schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
EPA fined and ordered a commercial waste handler in Rhode Island to clean up hazardous chemicals at approximately 60 schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after it was found that hazardous waste laws were violated.
Expanded Citizen Access to Environmental Impact Statements
EPA launched an interactive web-based mapping tool that provides the public with access and information on Environmental Impact Statements filed with EPA for major projects proposed on federal lands and other proposed federal actions. This interactive tool makes it easier for the public to be informed about the environment around them.
Addressing Environmental Justice Issues Nationwide
EPA announced a total of $1.1 million in competitive grants to 39 non-profit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. The grants will enable these organizations to develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in low-income, minority and tribal communities overburdened by harmful pollution.
Released First Fuel Economy Label for Used Vehicles
As part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing efforts to increase fuel efficiency, reduce carbon pollution and address climate change, EPA and the U.S. Energy Department released a new label that features EPA fuel economy estimates and CO2 estimates for used vehicles sold in the United States since 1984.
Cleaned up Lead at Price Battery Site, Hamburg, PA
EPA completed the residential cleanups of lead at the Price Battery Site in Hamburg, Pennsylvania in September 2013.
Finalized San Juan Generating Station Plan
The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board unanimously approved a plan for the San Juan Generating Station put forward by EPA, the New Mexico Environment Department, PNM Resources and environmental stakeholders. The plan will cut over 80 percent of pollution from the plant and improve visibility in 16 parks in the southwest, meeting the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule.
Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality
Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants
EPA proposed Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon pollution from new power plants in order to combat climate change and improve public health. These standards will spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.
Identifying Contaminated Sites for Renewable Energy Potential
EPA’s RE-Powering Mapping and Screening Tool is providing preliminary screening results for renewable energy potential at 66,000 contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites across the country. By identifying the renewable energy potential of contaminated sites across the country, EPA is taking a step toward meeting national renewable energy goals in order to address climate change, while also cleaning up and revitalizing contaminated lands in our communities.
Reducing Air Pollution in Coastal Waters
EPA and the Coast Guard reached an agreement in principle with Carnival Corporation to develop advanced emission control technology to be used in waters surrounding U.S. coasts. Under the agreement, Carnival will develop and deploy a new exhaust gas cleaning system on up to 32 ships over the next three years to be used in Emission Control Areas. The North American Emission Control Areas create a buffer zone around U.S. and Canadian coasts where ships must reduce harmful air pollution emissions.
Taking Action on Toxics and Chemical Safety
Strengthened EPA’s Chemical Assessment Process
EPA made changes to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program to improve the scientific foundation of assessments, increase transparency in the program and process and allow the Agency to produce more IRIS assessments each year. The improvements will further strengthen EPA’s IRIS assessments and enable the agency to complete more health assessments for chemicals that are being used across our country every day.
Expanded Citizen Access to Scientific Information on Chemicals
EPA launched a web-based tool, ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose products that use safer ingredients.
Improved the Toxic Release Inventory
EPA published a rule requiring facilities to report all non-trade secret Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data using an online reporting application. This action will improve the tracking of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security
EPA has taken a number of significant steps to protect communities from chemical risks and accidents. These include publishing a tri-agency Chemical Advisory on Safe Storage, Handling, and Management of Ammonium Nitrate and initiating efforts to improve operational coordination with States, Tribes, and local communities.
Protecting Water: A Precious, Limited Resource
Modernizing Clean Water Act Reporting
EPA proposed a rule that would modernize Clean Water Act reporting processes for hundreds of thousands of municipalities, industries, and other facilities by converting to an electronic data reporting system. In addition to dramatically cutting costs for states and other regulatory authorities, the e-reporting rule will substantially expand transparency by making it easier for everyone to quickly access critical data on pollution that may be affecting communities.
Protecting the Puget Sound from Harmful Water Pollution
EPA took enforcement actions against four Seattle-area companies for discharging industrial stormwater to Puget Sound waterways in violation of the Clean Water Act. By focusing EPA’s efforts on industrial stormwater compliance, EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology are tackling one of the top environmental threats to Puget Sound
Ending an Era of Dumping of Coal Ash In Lake Michigan
EPA negotiated a resolution that requires the last coal-fired ship on the Great Lakes to stop dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan which will improves the lake’s water quality, while preserving jobs and a popular tourist attraction.
Finalized Cleanup Plan for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, New York
EPA finalized a plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, New York, one of the nation’s most seriously contaminated bodies of water. The comprehensive cleanup plan will reverse the legacy of water pollution in the Gowanus and will turn this urban waterway into a community asset once more.
Launching a New Era of State, Tribal and Local Partnerships
Improving Iowa’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Permit and Compliance Program
EPA worked with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to improve Iowa’s Clean Water Act permit and compliance program for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Working with states to safeguard Midwestern waters is among EPA’s highest priorities and the agreement, developed after extensive public and industry input, will help Iowans who operate a world-class livestock sector continue to thrive in a first-rate permitting and inspection program.
An Agreement with the Air Force and State of Florida to Cleanup Tyndall Air Force Base
EPA, the United States Air Force, and the Florida Department Environmental Protection signed an agreement that will provide the framework and accountability necessary to continue cleanup and to protect the community and the environment at Tyndall Air Force Base, located in the Florida Panhandle. With the signing of the agreement, the three agencies have committed to work closely together to align project goals, facilitate the exchange of information, ensure public participation for the benefit of all parties involved, and select remedies that address past contamination.
Embracing EPA as a High Performing Organization
Initiating Efforts to Update Fuel-Economy Labeling Procedures
As part of EPA’s commitment to ensuring consumers are given accurate fuel economy values, the agency announced plans to update its fuel economy labeling regulations to ensure that the requirements keep pace with industry trends and innovations in advanced high-efficiency vehicles.
Launch of New Portal for Electronic Filing
EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board launched a new direct portal for its electronic filing and docketing system, which is more efficient for stakeholders who file petitions for review of permit and enforcement decisions and related pleadings.
Working Toward a Sustainable Future
Encouraging Sustainable Technology Development for Small Businesses
EPA awarded more than $2 million in contracts to seven small businesses across the country to develop sustainable technologies that will help protect human health and the environment. EPA’s dedication to supporting small businesses is spurring green jobs and leading to sound, creative environmental solutions.
Assisting Small and Rural Water Systems in Providing Sustainable Water Services
Small and rural water and wastewater systems face significant challenges in providing sustainable services to their communities. EPA and USDA provided tools and information to help systems identify their most important challenges, assess the effectiveness of their operations, and learn about various resources that can help improve their performance over time.
Reducing Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances
EPA entered into a settlement with Safeway that requires the grocery store chain to implement a corporate-wide plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores nationwide.