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Newsletter
Volume 75
February 1, 2010
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2009 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
FPP
Engineering Out the "Hazard"
Facilities that have completed the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) and shown it to their insurance carriers have been very pleased with the response they get. Completing a FPP walks a person through a thought process that prevents and pre-plans for a fire.
The hazard: Some of our clients were encountering trouble with the pop-up blocker settings on their computers preventing the final FPP document from appearing on their screen.
The solution: The great idea came from Donna Powell and was implemented immediately. Her idea led to programming changes that would reduce the likelihood of encountering pop-up blockers, but most notably the website now stores your most recent FPP and makes it available to you through a link in the Snapshots Management Dashboard. Beginning with FPPs prepared on January 7, 2010, users will be able to download a copy of their most recent FPP by clicking on the date of the last FPP as shown in the illustration.
The idea for the Fire Prevention Plan originally came from Jean Payne and Kevin Runkle with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association in response to better prepare and connect their members and the numerous state agencies that become involved when a fire occurs at a retail facility.
2010 Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course
Invitations for the first five courses in 2010 were mailed on January 14th and the classes filled up in record time. If you did not reserve your seat in time, there will still be plenty of opportunities for training this year. There will be another 12 weeks of training this year for the full four-day course provided at our new training facility in La Vergne, Tennessee. Look for the next set of classes scheduled for July and August to be announced in April. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
Regulatory Posters Expanded for 2010
As part of our on-going effort towards continual improvement, the popular set of three regulatory posters has been expanded to include more products this year. The most noticeable change has been made to the WPS poster, which will now contain color-coded dots specific to the type of PPE required for handling the most commonly used products. The new system should result in a more visual and quick at-a-glance reference. A slightly different layout on the DOT poster has allowed room for more shipping descriptions. The third poster in the set, Restricted-Use Pesticides (RUP), has also been expanded to include all current RUP products in the ProFiles database as well as old, de-registered, or discontinued products. Posters are expected to ship at the end of February just in time for season, so watch your mail. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2009 posters with the updated 2010 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 213.
DHS Issues Final Tier Letters to Another 544 Facilities
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has been advised that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued final tier ranking letters to 544 facilities. Site security plans for these facilities will be due to DHS no later than June 1, 2010. The announcement also included a mechanism to cross-reference between agencies and requirements. DHS indicated that it is checking the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) database of Tier II and Risk Management Program (RMP) facilities for any facilities that may have triggered the reporting requirements under CFATS. If a facility is on either the Tier II or RMP list, and has not submitted a top screen to DHS, a letter warning of potential enforcement action will be sent. Penalties are up to $50,000 per day and/or a shutdown order. We appreciate Pam Guffain, Vice President of Membership Services at TFI, sharing this information with us.
State Changes: SARA Tier II Reports
Every year in preparation for the upcoming annual compliance visits, the Asmark Institute contacts every state in which our clients are required to file a SARA Tier II report. The contact is made to verify the state reporting requirements. This year Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota and Tennessee, have made further changes to their reporting requirements. As expected, this causes confusion for our clients and some adjustment to the reporting process. Here is a rundown of the changes:
  • Illinois - For the 2009 reporting year, Illinois will only accept an image file such as a "jpg" for the site plan. There are also new requirements to add information to the site plan. To help clients with this change we have converted the industry-standard "pdf" file of the site plan to a "jpg" image file. Clients in Illinois will find this new site plan file by accessing Snapshots on our website. IEMA is working with us to allow our clients to add the new information to the site plan before the March 1, 2011 reporting deadline. We will help you add the new data elements to your site plan as part of the next annual compliance visits the fall/winter of 2010.
  • Kentucky - Kentucky originally said they were mandating electronic filing of the Tier II reports, but has experienced computer issues causing them to revert back to accepting paper copies as they have in the past. We are re-running and shipping new Tier II reports to each of the Kentucky locations as a result.
  • North Dakota - This state originally said they would accept paper copy submissions and changed their mind at the last moment. For the March 1, 2010 deadline, North Dakota has mandated all Tier II reports be filed electronically using their web-based program. We are re-running and will be shipping a new Master Report to help each of the North Dakota locations file.
  • Tennessee - Tennessee announced early last year they were mandating the use of the e-Plan website for the electronic reporting of the 2009 Tier II data. They have become a model to other states because their system allowed a facility to report once to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), then the state would share the information with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the Fire Department (FD), thus completing the requirements to report to all three entities in one efficient effort. Additionally, the state expected no hard copies would have to be sent. In a decision just announced this past week, the state has indicated that hard copies will be required to be generated from the e-Plan website and then copied and mailed to the LEPC and the Fire Department as they have in the past. They hope to eliminate this step in the coming year.
Please forward any information you receive from your state regarding changes to your SARA Tier II report process to us as soon as you learn of a change. We usually can help in some way if we learn of these last-minute changes as soon as they are announced. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Megan at megan@asmark.org or Donna at donna@asmark.org, or by phone 270-926-4600, Ext. 232 and Ext. 205 respectively.
Pesticide-Production Report (PPR) Update
The annual compliance visits have all been completed and the repackaging report data has been retrieved and is being processed. Watch your mail! We will send the PPR to your facility for proof and signature. It will be important to turn the PPR around to us as quickly as possible. Once the report is returned to us, we will then file the report with EPA before March 1, 2010 and document their receipt. (Note: You will not need the form from EPA's website.) You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to EPA for your records in the weeks following the March 1, 2010 deadline. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 233.
Updated Aboveground Storage Tank Inspection Guidelines Now Available
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released updated guidelines entitled Aboveground Storage Tanks Containing Liquid Fertilizer - Recommended Mechanical Integrity Practices. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) conducted an investigation into the catastrophic liquid fertilizer tank failure at Allied Terminal, Inc. in 2008 and made several recommendations to TFI. As a result, TFI convened a working group to review their existing inspection guidelines. The working group reviewed the original guidelines and now urges all facilities with UAN storage tanks 100,000 gallons or greater to review and consider implementing the recommended mechanical integrity practices. Additionally, at the request of the CSB, TFI also urges facilities to incorporate the use of the recommended practices into contracts with third party for UAN storage.
Reminder for RMP (Ammonia) Facilities
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) established an online system to receive corrections and re-submittals of Risk Management Plans (RMP). As of January 1, 2010, the EPA Risk Management Plan Reporting Center will no longer accept the old RMP Submit 2004 disks. The online system has many enhancements which should streamline the submittal process once the facility has set up an account in RMP eSubmit. The one time account setup can be done at any time, but should be initiated at least one month prior to the actual date first needed.
The Asmark Institute participated in the beta test of the new program and included instructions for registering for a CDX account in all fall Compliance Visit Information packets to coincide with this change. The person responsible for RMP compliance should have received a confirmation email stating that their electronic signature agreement has been approved after completing the registration process. If you have not already, please forward the email containing your authorization code to us at rmp@asmark.org. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
Model Fertilizer Contract Confirmation Released
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) released a final version of a model fertilizer contract confirmation developed as a voluntary tool and designed to help companies better manage their risks and provide consistent terms and conditions when dealing with suppliers or customers. In Spring 2009, ARA formed the Fertilizer Contract Task Force with the objective of developing an ARA branded fertilizer contract confirmation that specifies the mutually agreed upon terms of the buyer and seller between any two business entities in the distribution system: manufacturer, distributor, retailer and end user. Task Force members were primarily comprised of agricultural retailers (independent, co-op and national) and distributors, but also included representatives from the manufacturer segment. Joe Hodges of The Andersons and Tip O'Neill, Jr. of International Raw Materials are task force co-chairs. ARA undertook this effort in response to the extreme volatility that has occurred with fertilizer prices and supplies over the past few years. This document is viewed as a way to help establish better risk management, more accountability, and common terms and conditions. The ARA Board of Directors initially approved the tool at their 2009 annual meeting. Click here to view a copy of the document. We appreciate Richard Gupton, Vice President of Legislative Policy & Counsel for ARA, sharing this information with us.
Texting Ban While Driving CMVs Effective Immediately
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a "Notice of regulatory guidance" on January 27, 2010, concerning texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The guidance is applicable to all interstate drivers of CMVs subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The regulatory guidance is effective immediately concerning the applicability of 49 CFR 390.17, "Additional equipment and accessories," to CMV operators engaged in "texting" on an electronic device while driving a CMV in interstate commerce.
Although the current safety regulations found in 49 CFR 390.17 do not include an explicit prohibition against texting while driving by truck and bus drivers, the general restriction against the use of additional equipment and accessories that decrease the safety of operation of commercial motor vehicles applies to the use of electronic devices for texting. Handheld or other wireless electronic devices that are brought into a CMV are considered "additional equipment and accessories" within the context of § 390.17.
"Texting" is the review of, or preparation and transmission of, typed messages through any such device or the engagement in any form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication through any such device. Texting on electronic devices while driving decreases the safety of operation of the commercial vehicles on which the devices are used, because the activity involves a combination of visual, cognitive and manual distraction from the driving task. Research has shown that during 6-second intervals immediately preceding safety-critical events (e.g., crashes, near crashes, lane departure), texting drivers took their eyes off the forward roadway an average of 4.6 seconds.
Obama Names Regional Administrators for Regions 7 and 10
President Obama has chosen Dennis McLerran to be EPA's administrator for Region 10 and Karl Brooks to serve as the administrator for Region 7. Most recently, McLerran served as executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, a state-chartered regional agency that adopts and enforces air quality standards. Prior to that, McLerran served as city attorney for the City of Port Townsend and director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Land Use. Brooks has taught history and environmental studies at the University of Kansas for the past decade and previously served as the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. He served six years in the Idaho State Senate and holds a B.A. from Yale University, a master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, a law degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Regional administrators do not need to go through Senate confirmation.
EPA to Reject Some Chemical Confidentiality Claims
Administrator Lisa Jackson, as part of her "commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management," said this week EPA will grant the public greater access to information on chemicals, and as of January 21, will reject confidentiality claims known as Confidential Business Information (CBI) on the identity of the chemicals. Affected chemicals are those that are submitted to the agency with studies showing "substantial risk" to human health and the environment and have been disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory. Jackson said this is just one of her planned initiatives to "increase transparency of chemical information." Click here for more information.
IRS Scrutinizes Tax Preparers/Software
The Internal Revenue Service kicked off the 2010 tax filing season by issuing the results of a landmark six-month study that proposes new registration, testing and continuing education of tax return preparers. With more than 80 percent of American households using a tax preparer or tax software to help them prepare and file their taxes, higher standards for the tax preparer community will significantly enhance protections and service for taxpayers, increase confidence in the tax system and result in greater compliance with tax laws over the long term. To bring immediate help to taxpayers this filing season, the IRS also announced a sweeping new effort to reach tax return preparers with enforcement and education. Click here to view a copy of the report.
U.S. Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Corporate Money for Elections
In a landmark decision released last week, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of a corporation to use corporate dollars to fund advertisements supporting or opposing a political candidate. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people, political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence." He concluded that bans on corporate independent expenditures have a "substantial, nationwide chilling effect" on political speech, thus "the government may regulate them only through disclaimer and disclosure requirements." The Court decision also overturned any ban on advertisements paid for by a corporation during an identified period of time prior to the election.
Even More Notable.....Correction Needed
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help," said Ronald Reagan, the former President recognized for reuniting the American people by winning 49 out of the 50 states and de-nationalizing the national government at a time when it was vitally needed.
Mark Roeder, General Manager with Crop Production Services, brought it to my attention that former President Ronald Reagan actually won 49 out of the 50 states, not 40 as was incorrectly printed in our last newsletter. Thanks to Mark for letting us know of the typo.
Most Quotable.....
A very thought-provoking quote for all of us in the EHS field, "Every time you walk by a violation of a standard, you create a new standard," appears on the stationary of Steve Queen, Safety & Risk Coordinator for Advanced Agri Solutions Co-op.
2010 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2009 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted. A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.
FPP
Engineering Out the "Hazard"
Facilities that have completed the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) and shown it to their insurance carriers have been very pleased with the response they get. Completing a FPP walks a person through a thought process that prevents and pre-plans for a fire.
The hazard: Some of our clients were encountering trouble with the pop-up blocker settings on their computers preventing the final FPP document from appearing on their screen.
The solution: The great idea came from Donna Powell and was implemented immediately. Her idea led to programming changes that would reduce the likelihood of encountering pop-up blockers, but most notably the website now stores your most recent FPP and makes it available to you through a link in the Snapshots Management Dashboard. Beginning with FPPs prepared on January 7, 2010, users will be able to download a copy of their most recent FPP by clicking on the date of the last FPP as shown in the illustration.
The idea for the Fire Prevention Plan originally came from Jean Payne and Kevin Runkle with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association in response to better prepare and connect their members and the numerous state agencies that become involved when a fire occurs at a retail facility.
2010 Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course
Invitations for the first five courses in 2010 were mailed on January 14th and the classes filled up in record time. If you did not reserve your seat in time, there will still be plenty of opportunities for training this year. There will be another 12 weeks of training this year for the full four-day course provided at our new training facility in La Vergne, Tennessee. Look for the next set of classes scheduled for July and August to be announced in April. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
Regulatory Posters Expanded for 2010
As part of our on-going effort towards continual improvement, the popular set of three regulatory posters has been expanded to include more products this year. The most noticeable change has been made to the WPS poster, which will now contain color-coded dots specific to the type of PPE required for handling the most commonly used products. The new system should result in a more visual and quick at-a-glance reference. A slightly different layout on the DOT poster has allowed room for more shipping descriptions. The third poster in the set, Restricted-Use Pesticides (RUP), has also been expanded to include all current RUP products in the ProFiles database as well as old, de-registered, or discontinued products. Posters are expected to ship at the end of February just in time for season, so watch your mail. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2009 posters with the updated 2010 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 213.
DHS Issues Final Tier Letters to Another 544 Facilities
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has been advised that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued final tier ranking letters to 544 facilities. Site security plans for these facilities will be due to DHS no later than June 1, 2010. The announcement also included a mechanism to cross-reference between agencies and requirements. DHS indicated that it is checking the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) database of Tier II and Risk Management Program (RMP) facilities for any facilities that may have triggered the reporting requirements under CFATS. If a facility is on either the Tier II or RMP list, and has not submitted a top screen to DHS, a letter warning of potential enforcement action will be sent. Penalties are up to $50,000 per day and/or a shutdown order. We appreciate Pam Guffain, Vice President of Membership Services at TFI, sharing this information with us.
State Changes: SARA Tier II Reports
Every year in preparation for the upcoming annual compliance visits, the Asmark Institute contacts every state in which our clients are required to file a SARA Tier II report. The contact is made to verify the state reporting requirements. This year Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota and Tennessee, have made further changes to their reporting requirements. As expected, this causes confusion for our clients and some adjustment to the reporting process. Here is a rundown of the changes:
  • Illinois - For the 2009 reporting year, Illinois will only accept an image file such as a "jpg" for the site plan. There are also new requirements to add information to the site plan. To help clients with this change we have converted the industry-standard "pdf" file of the site plan to a "jpg" image file. Clients in Illinois will find this new site plan file by accessing Snapshots on our website. IEMA is working with us to allow our clients to add the new information to the site plan before the March 1, 2011 reporting deadline. We will help you add the new data elements to your site plan as part of the next annual compliance visits the fall/winter of 2010.
  • Kentucky - Kentucky originally said they were mandating electronic filing of the Tier II reports, but has experienced computer issues causing them to revert back to accepting paper copies as they have in the past. We are re-running and shipping new Tier II reports to each of the Kentucky locations as a result.
  • North Dakota - This state originally said they would accept paper copy submissions and changed their mind at the last moment. For the March 1, 2010 deadline, North Dakota has mandated all Tier II reports be filed electronically using their web-based program. We are re-running and will be shipping a new Master Report to help each of the North Dakota locations file.
  • Tennessee - Tennessee announced early last year they were mandating the use of the e-Plan website for the electronic reporting of the 2009 Tier II data. They have become a model to other states because their system allowed a facility to report once to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), then the state would share the information with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the Fire Department (FD), thus completing the requirements to report to all three entities in one efficient effort. Additionally, the state expected no hard copies would have to be sent. In a decision just announced this past week, the state has indicated that hard copies will be required to be generated from the e-Plan website and then copied and mailed to the LEPC and the Fire Department as they have in the past. They hope to eliminate this step in the coming year.
Please forward any information you receive from your state regarding changes to your SARA Tier II report process to us as soon as you learn of a change. We usually can help in some way if we learn of these last-minute changes as soon as they are announced. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Megan at megan@asmark.org or Donna at donna@asmark.org, or by phone 270-926-4600, Ext. 232 and Ext. 205 respectively.
Pesticide-Production Report (PPR) Update
The annual compliance visits have all been completed and the repackaging report data has been retrieved and is being processed. Watch your mail! We will send the PPR to your facility for proof and signature. It will be important to turn the PPR around to us as quickly as possible. Once the report is returned to us, we will then file the report with EPA before March 1, 2010 and document their receipt. (Note: You will not need the form from EPA's website.) You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to EPA for your records in the weeks following the March 1, 2010 deadline. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 233.
Updated Aboveground Storage Tank Inspection Guidelines Now Available
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released updated guidelines entitled Aboveground Storage Tanks Containing Liquid Fertilizer - Recommended Mechanical Integrity Practices. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) conducted an investigation into the catastrophic liquid fertilizer tank failure at Allied Terminal, Inc. in 2008 and made several recommendations to TFI. As a result, TFI convened a working group to review their existing inspection guidelines. The working group reviewed the original guidelines and now urges all facilities with UAN storage tanks 100,000 gallons or greater to review and consider implementing the recommended mechanical integrity practices. Additionally, at the request of the CSB, TFI also urges facilities to incorporate the use of the recommended practices into contracts with third party for UAN storage.
Reminder for RMP (Ammonia) Facilities
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) established an online system to receive corrections and re-submittals of Risk Management Plans (RMP). As of January 1, 2010, the EPA Risk Management Plan Reporting Center will no longer accept the old RMP Submit 2004 disks. The online system has many enhancements which should streamline the submittal process once the facility has set up an account in RMP eSubmit. The one time account setup can be done at any time, but should be initiated at least one month prior to the actual date first needed.
The Asmark Institute participated in the beta test of the new program and included instructions for registering for a CDX account in all fall Compliance Visit Information packets to coincide with this change. The person responsible for RMP compliance should have received a confirmation email stating that their electronic signature agreement has been approved after completing the registration process. If you have not already, please forward the email containing your authorization code to us at rmp@asmark.org. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Ext. 203.
Model Fertilizer Contract Confirmation Released
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) released a final version of a model fertilizer contract confirmation developed as a voluntary tool and designed to help companies better manage their risks and provide consistent terms and conditions when dealing with suppliers or customers. In Spring 2009, ARA formed the Fertilizer Contract Task Force with the objective of developing an ARA branded fertilizer contract confirmation that specifies the mutually agreed upon terms of the buyer and seller between any two business entities in the distribution system: manufacturer, distributor, retailer and end user. Task Force members were primarily comprised of agricultural retailers (independent, co-op and national) and distributors, but also included representatives from the manufacturer segment. Joe Hodges of The Andersons and Tip O'Neill, Jr. of International Raw Materials are task force co-chairs. ARA undertook this effort in response to the extreme volatility that has occurred with fertilizer prices and supplies over the past few years. This document is viewed as a way to help establish better risk management, more accountability, and common terms and conditions. The ARA Board of Directors initially approved the tool at their 2009 annual meeting. Click here to view a copy of the document. We appreciate Richard Gupton, Vice President of Legislative Policy & Counsel for ARA, sharing this information with us.
Texting Ban While Driving CMVs Effective Immediately
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a "Notice of regulatory guidance" on January 27, 2010, concerning texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The guidance is applicable to all interstate drivers of CMVs subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The regulatory guidance is effective immediately concerning the applicability of 49 CFR 390.17, "Additional equipment and accessories," to CMV operators engaged in "texting" on an electronic device while driving a CMV in interstate commerce.
Although the current safety regulations found in 49 CFR 390.17 do not include an explicit prohibition against texting while driving by truck and bus drivers, the general restriction against the use of additional equipment and accessories that decrease the safety of operation of commercial motor vehicles applies to the use of electronic devices for texting. Handheld or other wireless electronic devices that are brought into a CMV are considered "additional equipment and accessories" within the context of § 390.17.
"Texting" is the review of, or preparation and transmission of, typed messages through any such device or the engagement in any form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication through any such device. Texting on electronic devices while driving decreases the safety of operation of the commercial vehicles on which the devices are used, because the activity involves a combination of visual, cognitive and manual distraction from the driving task. Research has shown that during 6-second intervals immediately preceding safety-critical events (e.g., crashes, near crashes, lane departure), texting drivers took their eyes off the forward roadway an average of 4.6 seconds.
Obama Names Regional Administrators for Regions 7 and 10
President Obama has chosen Dennis McLerran to be EPA's administrator for Region 10 and Karl Brooks to serve as the administrator for Region 7. Most recently, McLerran served as executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, a state-chartered regional agency that adopts and enforces air quality standards. Prior to that, McLerran served as city attorney for the City of Port Townsend and director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Land Use. Brooks has taught history and environmental studies at the University of Kansas for the past decade and previously served as the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. He served six years in the Idaho State Senate and holds a B.A. from Yale University, a master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics, a law degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Regional administrators do not need to go through Senate confirmation.
EPA to Reject Some Chemical Confidentiality Claims
Administrator Lisa Jackson, as part of her "commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management," said this week EPA will grant the public greater access to information on chemicals, and as of January 21, will reject confidentiality claims known as Confidential Business Information (CBI) on the identity of the chemicals. Affected chemicals are those that are submitted to the agency with studies showing "substantial risk" to human health and the environment and have been disclosed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Inventory. Jackson said this is just one of her planned initiatives to "increase transparency of chemical information." Click here for more information.
IRS Scrutinizes Tax Preparers/Software
The Internal Revenue Service kicked off the 2010 tax filing season by issuing the results of a landmark six-month study that proposes new registration, testing and continuing education of tax return preparers. With more than 80 percent of American households using a tax preparer or tax software to help them prepare and file their taxes, higher standards for the tax preparer community will significantly enhance protections and service for taxpayers, increase confidence in the tax system and result in greater compliance with tax laws over the long term. To bring immediate help to taxpayers this filing season, the IRS also announced a sweeping new effort to reach tax return preparers with enforcement and education. Click here to view a copy of the report.
U.S. Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Corporate Money for Elections
In a landmark decision released last week, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of a corporation to use corporate dollars to fund advertisements supporting or opposing a political candidate. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people, political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence." He concluded that bans on corporate independent expenditures have a "substantial, nationwide chilling effect" on political speech, thus "the government may regulate them only through disclaimer and disclosure requirements." The Court decision also overturned any ban on advertisements paid for by a corporation during an identified period of time prior to the election.
Even More Notable.....Correction Needed
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help," said Ronald Reagan, the former President recognized for reuniting the American people by winning 49 out of the 50 states and de-nationalizing the national government at a time when it was vitally needed.
Mark Roeder, General Manager with Crop Production Services, brought it to my attention that former President Ronald Reagan actually won 49 out of the 50 states, not 40 as was incorrectly printed in our last newsletter. Thanks to Mark for letting us know of the typo.
Most Quotable.....
A very thought-provoking quote for all of us in the EHS field, "Every time you walk by a violation of a standard, you create a new standard," appears on the stationary of Steve Queen, Safety & Risk Coordinator for Advanced Agri Solutions Co-op.
2010 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.