Cal/EPA news items

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 25, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The first bit news item is an announcement from the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) that it will be combining its enforcement and emergency response functions within the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). 

Maureen Gorsen, Director of DTSC, stated that the purpose is to provide an organization that facilitates external and internal communications and speaks with one voice.  The new unit will also have the added tasks of compliance assistance and enforcement training.  A Deputy Director of Enforcement has yet to be named. 

Gorsen said that the new unit will gradually shift away from emphasis against traditional treatment, storage and disposal facilities, and direct more effort at those who transport or treat hazardous waste without a permit.  DTSC has recently worked with local prosecutors in a series of highly publicized sting operations targeting companies or individuals who are operating without licenses or permits.

The second news item occurred when Cal/EPA released its budget on January 10th.  The Schwarzenegger administration immediately came under fire.  Some environmental groups criticized the lack of funding for the initial year of the newly approved biomonitoring program required by SB 1379, Chapter Number 599, Statutes of 2006, (Don Perata, D-Oakland).  The bill calls for implementation of a program to conduct a statewide survey every two years to establish baseline levels and trends of potentially harmful chemicals found in the human body.  The budget calls for $1,210,000 and three positions in the Department of Health and Human Services, $167,000 and three positions in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and $123,000 and one position in DTSC.  This is the first large-scale state biomonitoring program of its kind in the country.  Administration officials defend the budget saying that the program will be phased in and receive additional funding in future years.

A third news item comes from the Air Resources Board (ARB). On February 22nd it will consider a proposal to lower California’s existing one-hour ambient air standard for nitrogen dioxide and establish a new annual standard for the pollutant.  This revision is not expected to have an impact on California manufacturers, and that all areas of the state will likely meet the revised standard.  Even if an area violates a state ambient air standard for nitrogen dioxide there appears to be no penalty.

And lastly from Cal/EPA – the State Water Resources Board (SWRB) currently has two openings.  Jerry Secundy resigned near the end of 2006 to take over the helm at the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (CCEEB) and Art Baggett’s term on the board expired on January 15th.  Appointments to these positions by the Schwarzenegger administration will be critical in shaping the SWRB’s position on a number of pending issues important to the manufacturing industry: total maximum daily loads (TMDL’s), stormwater numeric limits and mercury policy and objectives, for example.

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