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EPA Backs Maryland Plan to Improve Water Quality; Nearly $93 Million Awarded to Prevent Sewer Overflows in Baltimore City, County Among Projects

  PHILADELPHIA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has approved and helped fund a $327.7 million plan by Maryland to implement key water infrastructure projects, including new and upgraded wastewater treatment plants to better serve residents, increase efficiency and reduce pollution to local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.   “This federal-state partnership program allows us to assist a wide variety of communities throughout the state, especially small and disadvantaged communities that otherwise might not have the resources to resolve their water issues,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “All Americans deserve clean and safe water, and the revolving loan program will greatly benefit Maryland communities in need of new or upgraded water infrastructure.”   The Intended Use Plan includes an award of $38.8 million from EPA’s FY 2018 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The plan by the Maryland Department of the Environment is also funded with a $7.8 million state match, repayments from prior CWSRF loans, interest earnings and bond proceeds. Projects to prevent sanitary sewer overflows in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties are among the projects to be funded in the plan.   “Maryland appreciates EPA’s and Congress’ support of our clean water investment plan to protect public health and safety and prevent water pollution in Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “In partnership with EPA, the Maryland Department of the Environment will continue to provide financial assistance to local jurisdictions to help them comply with their pollution reduction requirements under

EPA Approves Emergency Fuel Waiver for North Carolina

  WASHINGTON – Today, in order to address diesel fuel supply interruptions as a result of Hurricane Florence, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler approved an emergency fuel waiver request made this afternoon on behalf of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.   EPA has waived the highway diesel fuel red dye requirements to allow the sale and use of non-road diesel fuel in highway vehicles in North Carolina as a result of Hurricane Florence, effective immediately and through September 28, 2018.   The waiver authority was exercised under the Clean Air Act and was granted by EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry. The request was made by North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Division Director Michael A. Abraczinskas on behalf of Governor Roy Cooper.   As required by law, EPA and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation as a result of Hurricane Florence, and will act expeditiously if extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist in other areas.   To mitigate any impacts on air quality, the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuels waivers may be granted, and requires that waivers be limited as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.   More information:

Yellow Pages Goes Green to Offer Annual College Scholarship to High School Seniors Pursuing Environmental Careers

  NEW YORK, NY – (“YPGG”), a telephone directory at the forefront of the environmentally-conscious “Green” movement, has announced that beginning in 2019, the company  will be offering a $1,500 College scholarship annually to a distinguished graduating high school senior whose career path is slated to take them into any fields related to environmental science or preservation. The goal of this scholarship, which will be awarded to at least one student each year, is to encourage the youth of today to pursue vitally-needed careers which impact Earth.   An innovator in digital business and telephone directory listings and an advocate for staunch environmentalism, is a cutting-edge website that delivers over 28.5 million up-to-the-minute Yellow Page listings and over 200 million White page listings throughout the United States. In addition, YPGG is a pioneer in the national phone book “opt-out” movement that seeks to abolish obsolete print telephone directories that are not only out-of-date by the time they land on doorsteps, but find themselves clogging landfills by the millions shortly thereafter.   Realizing that now, more than ever, bright and innovative young minds are needed in fields that directly impact the safety and security of our environment and its delicate ecosystems, YPGG has decided to take further proactive approaches to nurturing high schoolers with an aptitude for a “green” career path by offering yearly scholarships. With higher education costing more than ever and students reporting a huge uptick in the amount of debt they are saddled with upon graduation

EPA Hurricane Florence Update Thursday, September 13, 2018

WASHINGTON  – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coordinating closely with local, state, and federal partners as the Agency continues to prepare for and plans to respond to the impact of Hurricane Florence. EPA On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) are deployed to the State Emergency Operation Centers (SEOCs) in North Carolina and South Carolina and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta to assist with Emergency Support Function (ESF) 10 for Oil and Hazardous Substances response efforts.   As of September 13, 2018, the following information is available:   UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2018   This morning EPA Office of Emergency Management Director Reggie Cheatham participated in a press briefing at FEMA headquarters. (photo below) EPA Region 3 has approximately 15 personnel currently involved in emergency response efforts. EPA Region 4 has approximately 25 personnel currently involved in emergency response efforts. An EPA ESF-3 liaison is expected to deploy today to the North Carolina SEOC. On September 12, 2018, EPA  Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a fuel waiver for Virginia. EPA has waived the federal Reid vapor pressure requirements for fuel sold in designated areas in Virginia to minimize problems with the supply of gasoline. This waiver will continue through September 15, 2018, which is the end of the summer fuel season. EPA has also waived the requirement to use reformulated gasoline in the southern part of Virginia and the prohibition on the blending of reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenated blending with other gasoline, blendstock or oxygenate in Virginia. These waivers are effective through

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Group Wins Contest for Developing Air Quality Monitors in Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge

  WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its federal partners announced that a Pittsburgh-based group has taken first place in the Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge, a competition that encourages the development of innovative monitoring technologies to measure air pollutants from smoke during wildland fires.   “Today’s winners are developing cutting-edge air quality monitoring systems designed to make air measurements during wildfires easier,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These compact air sensors have the potential to enhance existing regional air monitoring networks and improve the air quality data provided to communities impacted by smoke from fires.”   Jason Gu and Bryan Tomko with SenSevere/Sensit Technologies in Pittsburgh and R. Subramanian with Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh received first place and $35,000 award. The winners used emerging technologies including miniaturized direct-reading sensors, compact microprocessors, and wireless data communications to develop prototypes for measuring smoke from wildland fires.   Also announced today were second-place winners Scott Waller and Andrew Smallridge with Thingy LLC, Bellevue, Wash. They received a $25,000 award.  Javier Fernandez with Kunak Technologies in Pamplona, Spain received an honorable mention.   Following rigorous two-phase laboratory testing by EPA and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), a panel of technical experts reviewed results. The experts looked for prototypes that are portable, durable, reliable, and wireless. The winning systems showed significant promise in their design; ability to detect fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide; and comparability to regulatory monitors.   This competition generated considerable interest

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