By Sept. 28, 2011, EPA and the US Dept. of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say they will jointly release proposed standards designed to significantly increase fuel mileage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars, light trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles in model years 2017-2025.
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The system, proposed during the first months of the Obama administration, was delayed when it faced heavy opposition from industry groups and Republicans. In response, EPA reduced the number of businesses that need to report their emissions.
Bayer CropScience has agreed to pay up to $750 million to about 11,000 farmers to compensate for contaminating two varieties of long-grain rice. The settlement requires participation of farmers who planted at least 85% of the average 2.2 million acres of long-grain rice grown each year from 2006 to 2009.
While EPA oversees the Safe Drinking Water Act programs, much of the daily responsibility is delegated to state agencies. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office says the states are under-reporting violations and contamination to EPA. Moreover, EPA has fallen behind in setting standards for known contaminants that may cause health problems.
The standards were initially scheduled to be released in August 2010, then October 2010, after EPA determined that the ones approved during the George W. Bush administration weren't grounded in science, didn't protect public health with an adequate margin of safety, and didn't protect the environment.
The new industries would be Iron Ore Mining, Phosphate Mining, Municipal Waste Incineration, Industrial Dry Cleaning, Petroleum Bulk Storage, and Steam-Only Production from Fossil Fuels.
While primary standards are designed to protect human health, secondary standards are established to protect the environment. In the case of NOx and SOx, some of the primary targets include reduced aquatic and terrestrial acidification, and reduced nitrogen deposition on land and water.
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On June 6, EPA announced a new round of grants going to nearly 200 communities in some 40 states and 3 tribal areas. Most of them go to poor and minority areas with high unemployment rates.
EPA has updated its Enforcement and Compliance History Online database so that federal standards violations through 2009 can be quickly identified. For example, pick a county and quickly get a customized listing of systems that fall into categories such as serial violators, or occasional violators of things such as health-based standards or monitoring requirements.