Archives for Government

FLASH:  MSU’s Gulf Community Design Studio Receives EPA Award for Bayou Auguste Restoration

USEPA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recognized Mississippi State University’s Gulf Community Design Studio (GCCDS) in Biloxi, Miss. with a First Place 2015 Gulf Guardian Award in the Civic/Non-Profit Category. The awards ceremony was July 30th at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In 2009, GCCDS worked to produce neighborhood plans for East Biloxi, Miss., a community still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. From a list of concerns, residents responded positively to suggestions to improve a degraded inner-city bayou. GCCDS began its work to restore Bayou Auguste by engaging elementary student in environmental education activities, and later expanded outreach to a wider audience of residents. The goals of the project were to restore and expand the natural habitat, to make a beautiful natural place free of invasive species and litter, to provide public access and learning opportunities, and to increase local environmental stewardship.

GCCDS worked in partnership with other organizations to transform Bayou Auguste into a neighborhood nature park. GCCDS secured several grants and led a partnership with the City of Biloxi, the Biloxi Housing Authority, Biloxi Public Schools, and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. The City provided assistance to remove fill material and a retaining wall and to reshape the stream bank. Hundreds of students and volunteers planted native plant species along the upland habitats of Bayou Auguste that reduce erosion and filter stormwater runoff and improve water quality.

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EPA Moves Ahead on Power Plant Carbon Emissions

On June 25, 2013, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for the power sector.

The agency is using its authority under section 111 of the Clean Air Act to issue standards, regulations or guidelines, as appropriate that address carbon pollution from new power plants and existing power plants, including modifications of power plants. The Presidential Memorandum specifically directs EPA to build on state leadership, provide flexibility and take advantage of a wide range of energy sources and technologies towards building a cleaner power sector.  For newly built power plants, the plan calls for EPA to issue a new proposal by September, 20, 2013, and to issue a final rule in a timely fashion after considering all public comments, as appropriate.  For existing plants, the plan calls for EPA to issue proposed carbon pollution standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified and existing power plants by no later than June 1, 2014 and issue final standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, by no later than June 1, 2015.

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EPA Issues Revised Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Guidance for Regional Inspectors

In August 2013, EPA revised the SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors which is intended to assist regional inspectors in reviewing a facility’s implementation of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule at 40 CFR part 112. This guidance document is also available to owners and operators of facilities that may be subject to the requirements of the SPCC rule, and the general public on how EPA intends the SPCC rule to be implemented. The document is designed to provide a consistent national policy on several SPCC-related issues. In accordance with the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation at 40 CFR part 112, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires certain facilities to prepare, amend, and implement Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans. The regulation is largely performance-based, which allows flexibility in meeting the rule requirements to prevent discharges of oil to navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The SPCC rule was promulgated in 1973, with significant amendments published in 2002. EPA finalized additional revisions in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. EPA developed this guidance to assist regional inspectors in implementing the SPCC program and in understanding its applicability, and to help clarify the role of the inspector in reviewing a facility’s implementation of performance-based flexibility provisions, such as environmental equivalence and impracticability. This document provides guidance to EPA inspectors, to owners and operators of facilities that may be subject to the requirements of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule (40 CFR Part 112) and to the general public on how EPA intends the SPCC rule to be implemented. The guidance is designed to facilitate nationally-consistent implementation of the SPCC rule. The guidance is available at http://www.epa.gov/osweroe1/content/spcc/spcc_guidance.htm

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