On July 9, 2019, EPA issued a final rule at 84 FR 32632 entitled “Review of the Dust-Lead Hazard Standards and the Definition of Lead-Based Paint” where EPA evaluated the current dust-lead hazard standards (DLHS) and the definition of lead-based paint (LBP). Based on this evaluation, EPA’s final rule revises the DLHS from 40 mg/ft2 and 250 mg/ft2 to 10 mg/ft2 and 100 mg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively. EPA is also finalizing its proposal to make no change to the definition of LBP based on the assertion that insufficient information exists to support such a change at this time. This final rule is effective January 6, 2020.
On May 14, 2019, Scott Mungo withdrew his nomination to the position of Assistant Secretary for OSHA for the U.S. Department of Labor in frustration after having waited 19 months for confirmation. The business community anticipates that no new nominee will be forthcoming given the timing of the withdrawal. As a result, OSHA most likely will be without a permanent appointment for the entire Trump administration leaving in place the Acting Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/trump-labor-safety-nominee-withdraws-on-cusp-of-confirmation; https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20190522/NEWS08/912328588/Employer-hopes-for-OSHA-alliance-dashed-as-nominee-withdraws. As a practical matter, this likely means that OSHA will not be proceeding with any new initiatives under the Trump administration until after the 2020 election dashing hopes by employers for the type of regulatory relief proposed at other federal agencies such as EPA.
Response from U.S. Department of Labor Regarding
Fake OSHA Cards
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the following statement in response to a New Jersey safety trainer's guilty plea of selling more than 100 fraudulent training cards.
"OSHA's outreach training serves to educate workers about safety issues they will encounter on the jobsite," said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson. "Falsifying documents not only undermines the program, it fails to protect workers on the job. OSHA will refer fraudulent activity to the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General, and trainers caught falsifying information will be subject to criminal prosecution."
The Outreach Training Program trains workers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards. The voluntary program also provides information on workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Historic plan outlines concrete steps the agency is taking to address PFAS and to protect public health
PHILADELPHIA (February 14, 2019) — Today, at an event in Philadelphia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. This historic PFAS Action Plan responds to extensive public interest and input the agency has received over the past year and represents the first time EPA has built a multi-media, multi-program, national communication and research plan to address an emerging environmental challenge like PFAS. EPA’s Action Plan identifies both short-term solutions for addressing these chemicals and long-term strategies that will help provide the tools and technologies states, tribes, and local communities need to provide clean and safe drinking water to their residents and to address PFAS at the source—even before it gets into the water.
Civil penalty of $775,000 + SEP
Coke Byproduct Recovery Plant Located at the
ABC Coke Facility in Tarrant, Alabama
February 8, 2019) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Jefferson County Board of Health (JCBH) announced a settlement agreement with Drummond Company (Drummond) that will resolve allegations that Drummond violated the Clean Air Act at the coke byproduct recovery plant located at its ABC Coke facility in Tarrant, Ala.
The settlement is contained in a Consent Decree that is being lodged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama concurrently with a Complaint which alleges that Drummond violated regulatory requirements known as National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs),including 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart L (Benzene Emissions from Coke By-product Recovery Plants), Subpart V (Equipment Leaks and Fugitive Emissions), and Subpart FF (Benzene Waste Operations).
"It is very important that facilities carefully follow Clean Air requirements to ensure that people in the surrounding communities are able to enjoy healthy air quality," said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Today’s agreement demonstrates EPA’s dedication to working with our state and local partners to pursue violations of laws that are critical to protecting public health and bring companies into compliance.”
Drummond also will pay a civil penalty of $775,000 and conduct a Supplemental Environmental Project that will require the use of an optical gas thermal imaging camera during four semi-annual monitoring events that will help detect leaks from equipment, piping, pumps, tanks and valves at the byproducts plant and confirm that corrective actions implemented by Drummond prior to and after entry of the Consent Decree are effective at reducing and eliminating leaks.
Contact Information: EPA Press Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan unveiled the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Lead Action Plan).
“The Federal Lead Action Plan will enhance the Trump Administration’s efforts to identify and reduce lead contamination while ensuring children impacted by lead exposure are getting the support and care they need,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA will develop an implementation plan by March 2019 that will enable us to track our progress and update the public as we work to carry out the action plan and mitigate childhood lead exposure.”
“The Trump administration’s new Lead Action Plan reflects our strong commitment to preventing future generations from being affected by lead exposure,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We know that lead exposure at a young age can result in serious effects on IQ, attention span, and academic achievement. We need to continue taking action to prevent these harmful effects. Identifying lead-exposed children, connecting them with appropriate services, and preventing other children from being exposed to lead are important public health priorities for this administration.”