NEW! The EPA Administrator has signed a proposed rule that will take a significant step in fighting the climate crisis and protecting public health. This proposal would sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollution from both new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal would expand and strengthen emissions reduction requirements that are currently on the books for new, modified and reconstructed oil and natural gas sources, and would require states to reduce methane emissions from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide for the first time.
To help engage with stakeholders on the proposed oil and natural gas methane rule, EPA will host three half-day training events. The training will provide: background information on the oil and gas production process; an overview of the proposed rules; panel discussions with environmental justice communities, tribes, and small business stakeholders; and information on how to effectively engage in the regulatory process. This event will be open to the public; however, the targeted audiences are communities/environmental justice stakeholders, tribes, and small business stakeholders. These events will be held using Zoom, and a toll-free call-in number will be available. To learn more about this rule and the training, please click here.
This virtual event is FREE and open to the public. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED
DATE: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 – Targeting EJ Communities and Tribes
TIME: 12:30PM – 5:00PM (Eastern time)
- Background: Understanding the Oil and Gas Production Process, Climate- and Health-Impacts, and
- Overview of the Oil and Gas Proposed Rulemaking
DATE: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 – Targeting EJ Communities and Tribes
TIME: 12:30PM – 5:00PM (Eastern time)
- Dialogue Among Grassroot Community Members and Tribal Nations,
- How to Participate in the Comment Period and Public Hearings, and
- Group Discussions
DATE: Thursday, November 18, 2021 – Targeting Small Business Stakeholders
TIME: 12:30PM – 6:30PM (Eastern time)
- Overview of the Oil and Gas Proposed Rulemaking and the Small Business Advocacy Review Panel,
- Dialogue Among Small Businesses Stakeholders,
- How to Participate in the Comment Period and Public Hearings, and
- Group Discussions
HOW TO REGISTER: Click here to register for the upcoming training events. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar.
NEW! The U.S. EPA is seeking nominations for technical experts to serve on its Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), a federal advisory committee to the Office of Research and Development. The BOSC provides independent scientific and technical peer review, consultation, advice, and recommendations for each of its research programs.
Individuals and organizations can nominate themselves or others, respectively, by using the nomination form on the BOSC website. The nomination period is open until November 12, 2021.
- Information on the BOSC can be found at https://www.epa.gov/bosc.
- Information on ORD’s research can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-research-and-development-ord.
- Details regarding areas of expertise sought, process for submitting nominations, and selection criteria can also be found in the relevant Federal Register notice published on October 18, 2021.
Please contact the BOSC Designated Federal Officer, Tom Tracy (email@example.com), with any questions or additional assistance.
Applications for EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards are Now Being Accepted!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting applications for the 2022 Clean Air Excellence Awards Program. Through this program, EPA recognizes and honors individuals and organizations whose efforts have helped to make progress in achieving cleaner air. The award recipients are selected for developing innovative, replicable, and sustainable programs; serving as pioneers in their fields; and improving air quality either directly or indirectly through reduced emissions of criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants, and/or greenhouse gases.
The five award categories are:
- Clean Air Technology
- Community Action
- State/Tribal/Local Air Quality Policy Innovations
- Transportation Efficiency Innovations.
The award application and more information are available here. Applications must be emailed or postmarked by Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Applicants are strongly encouraged to send their entries electronically to OAR_Clean_Air_Excellence_Awards@epa.gov.
EPA’s Community and Tribal Programs Group has been working on a webpage with publicly-facing Tribal Actions and Events calendar
This calendar includes the following information:
- Upcoming outreach activities (e.g., rulemaking webinars, trainings)
- National Tribal Council (NTC) monthly meetings,
- National Tribal Air Association (NTAA) meetings,
- Regional Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC) meetings, and
- Upcoming regulatory dates (e.g., expected rule proposal dates).
This calendar is also linked under the “Tribal Air and Climate Resources” webpage under the “Policy and Planning” heading available at https://www.epa.gov/tribal-air.
The purpose of the calendar is to ensure that our Tribal partners are kept apprised of EPA activities that are relevant to them. If you have any questions about the calendars or any recommendations on how EPA can improve upon the calendars please do not hesitate to reach out to Toni Colon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Tanya Abrahamian (email@example.com) with any feedback.
EPA releases new report on Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States: A Focus on Six Impacts
EPA’s new report quantifies the degree to which four socially vulnerable populations— defined based on income, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, and age—may be more exposed to the highest impacts of climate change. The report quantifies six types of impacts: air quality and health, extreme temperature and health, extreme temperature and labor, coastal flooding and traffic, coastal flooding and property, and inland flooding and property. Access the report. To download the report’s findings related to the disproportionate risks of climate change to American Indian and Alaska Natives. To find more information about climate change: https://www.epa.gov/climate-change
Host Sites Needed For Summer Internship Program
The Institute for Tribal Environmental at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona is seeking air quality focused offices and programs to host a college student for an 8-week summer internship. Tribal environmental offices, EPA offices, and other tribal environmental organizations are encouraged to apply.
The interns will be highly motivated undergraduate or graduate students majoring in environmental or related careers from different colleges and universities nationwide. ITEP provides each student intern with a $4,800 stipend, and housing and travel allowances for interns that relocate. The host site provides a work-place and supervision for the intern. Some internships may be virtual. You are welcome to submit applications for both virtual projects and in-person projects.
The projects MUST focus on addressing air quality issues in tribal communities.
Submit an application online here by the deadline of December 3, 2021.
NTAA Upcoming Calls
Contact Andy.Bessler@nau.edu if you have any questions about any call! *Registration instructions* When you register for the GoToWebinar, please remember to include your Tribe, Region, or Organization in parenthesis after your last name. This allows you to see everyone on the call and prevents us from conducting a roll-call, ultimately saving everyone’s time.
|Mobile Sources Work Group: This monthly work group addresses all mobile source pollution issues. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, December 2, 2pm ET|
|Wood Smoke Work Group: Join this work group every other month to address wood smoke issues in Indian Country. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, November 18,
|EPA Policy Call: Call in to hear updates from EPA on policies, actions, and tools relevant to Indian Country and Air Quality. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, December 9, 2pm ET|
|Indoor Air Quality Work Group: Join this work group every other month to help support IAQ work throughout Indian Country. Attend by clicking here.||Thursday, December 16, 2pm ET|
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professional (ITEP)
Click here for ITEP’s new Tribal Environmental Management and Planning Online Courses. Sign up for a self-paced course hosted by ITEP’s Waste and Response and Tribal Air Quality programs. New courses have been added, so check it out!
ITEP’s American Indian Air Quality Training Program (AIAQTP) hosts the Building Performance: Improving IAQ in Cold Climates, Residential Building Science Review, Radon Fundamentals, Quality Assurance Fundamental, Writing a Quality Assurance Project Plan, Emissions Inventory Fundamentals, and Emissions Inventory Advanced.
Looking for more information check out the Tribal Air Quality Media Space Channel. Recent webinars include an Introduction to Air Quality Programs, Emissions Inventories, Remote Professional Assistance, and Woodstoves in Indian Country. Older classics include a series on Air Quality Planning for Wildland Smoke, Tribal Air Program and Grants, Data Management, and the Clean Air Act.
ITEP’s Tribes and Climate Change Calendar includes conferences, trainings, webinars, and other events related to tribes and climate change.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is excited to announce an upcoming virtual listening session focused on climate change and Tribal youth.
Information and registration for this listening session may be found on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Climate Resilience (TCR) webpage.
This listening session is open to Tribal middle school, high school, and college students. This is an opportunity to voice your concerns, priorities, and experience to help shape policies and programs that promote and advance Tribal climate resilience.
US EPA Announces Upcoming Climate and Energy Webinars for State, Local, and Tribal Governments
The US EPA announces there will be many webinars on climate and energy topics offered by federal agencies and others during the month of October. All webinars are free of charge, but space may be limited or require registration in advance. For more information subscribe to the US EPA’s State and Local Energy Newsletter.
ITEP’s Climate Change Adaptation Training Courses registration is online!
Final Air Toxics Standards for Carbon Black Production. The technology review of the standards for Carbon Black production major source and area facilities did not identify any developments that would further reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions beyond the original NESHAP. More information, including a summary fact sheet and a pre-publication version of the final rule, is available here.
Final Air Toxics Standards for Cyanide Chemicals Manufacturing
EPA is not amending the NESHAP as a part of the technology review. However, as a part of our technology review, we did identify previously unregulated emission sources and finalized changes to the NESHAP that add standards for these sources. More information is available here.
Final Air Toxics Standards for Flexible Polyurethane Foam NESHAP and RTR Final Rule
EPA identified one technology-related development that is a current industry practice. Accordingly, EPA is amending the definition of “hazardous air pollutants (HAP)-based adhesive” so that major source new and existing loop slitters are prohibited from using adhesives containing one percent or more by weight of total HAP. More information is available here.
Final Air Toxics Standards for Refractory Products Manufacturing
EPA identified one technology-related development that reflects current industry best practices. As a result, EPA is amending the work practices that are required to minimize air toxics emissions during scheduled maintenance of control devices for continuous kilns. More information is available here.
The EPA’s upcoming Integrated Pest Management (IPM) webinar on November 16 from 2-3:30 PM EST and is titled: “Termites: Eating You Out of House and Home”. If you are interested, feel free to sign up here.
More information about the webinar is below. Also, EPA’s IPM webinars occur monthly. Check out EPA’s website Upcoming Integrated Pest Management Webinars to register for these monthly webinars, as they are scheduled through June 2022. Take note that the IPM webinar scheduled for March 2022 is titled “Managing Bed Bugs with Limited Resources.”
Please join us for EPA’s next Indoor Air Quality Science Webinar
Using CO2 Monitoring to Manage Building Ventilation with guest speaker Andrew K. Persily, Ph.D. from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and hosted by Jordan Zambrana of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division on Wednesday, November 17 from 2-3:30 pm ET.
The measurement of indoor carbon dioxide concentrations has been used for many years to assess and control building ventilation rates, as well as to characterize indoor air quality. Over the years these applications of indoor CO2 monitoring have been misunderstood, despite the publication of technical papers and guidance documents and the organization of conference sessions in an attempt to reduce some of the confusion. There is renewed interest in such applications of CO2 measurement in the context of airborne infectious disease control. This presentation will review the application of indoor CO2 monitoring to building ventilation and IAQ, and discuss several issues regarding these measurements and their interpretation. Note: This presentation reflects the opinions of the guest speaker and not necessarily those of the U.S. EPA.
Outdoor Air Affects Indoor Air, Especially During Wildfires: Take
Steps to Protect Your Indoor Air Quality!
|During a wildfire, smoke can make the outdoor air unhealthy to breathe. Local officials may advise you to stay indoors during a smoke event. You should be aware that some of the smoke from outdoors can enter your home and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too.|
|There are things you can do, such as staying indoors with the doors and windows closed and filtering the air indoors to reduce your family’s exposure to smoke. Reducing exposure to smoke is important for everyone’s health — especially children, older adults, and people with heart or lung disease. See our webpage on Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for steps you can take to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke inside your home.|
- New Research on DIY Air Cleaners to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors– also see guidance below!
- Wildfire Smoke Employer Training Checklistsfor employee safety in OR and WA
- Updated EPA webpage on Emergencies and Indoor Air Quality: Includes tips on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from weather-related and man-made emergencies and disasters that affect indoor environments, including Wildfires, Volcanic Eruptions, and Dust Storms, Power Outages, Hurricanes and Flooding, Extreme Heat, Snow and Ice, Earthquakes
- Two books for Indigenous Youth on COVID-19: Our Smallest Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine, developed by Tribes and partners at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (these are really well done – order copies here)
- New interagency hosted ed.gov website– inventory of resources promoting healthy school environments
- Host sites needed for tribal air quality summer internship program– The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals is seeking air quality focused offices and programs to host a college student for an 8-week summer internship. Tribal environmental offices, EPA offices, and other tribal environmental organizations are encouraged to apply by 12/3/21.
- 2021 State of Our Schools Reportfrom the 21st Century School Fund, the International WELL Building Institute, and the National Council on School Facilities released
- Consumer warning from FDA:Consumers that use of the Max-Lux Safe-T-Lite UV WAND may expose the user or any nearby person to unsafe levels of ultraviolet-C radiation and may cause injury to the skin, eyes, or both after a few seconds of use. Consumers may use the wand to try to disinfect surfaces and kill germs in the home or similar spaces. The FDA recommends that consumers consider using safer alternative disinfection methods.
If You Use DIY Air Cleaners, Use Them Safely During Wildfire Smoke Events
Picture of a filter attached to a box fan to create a DIY Box Fan Filter
If portable air cleaners are not available or affordable, you may decide to use do-it-yourself (DIY) air cleaners as a temporary alternative to commercial air cleaners. DIY air cleaners are made by attaching a furnace filter to a box fan with tape, brackets, or a bungee cord. There may be drawbacks to using a DIY air cleaner as compared to a commercial air cleaner such as:
- Increased noise and heat generation from the fan motor.
- Limited data on how well DIY air cleaners filter smoke particles.
If you use a DIY air cleaner, it is probably most effective in a small room where you spend a significant amount of time, such as a bedroom. For better filtration, choose a high-efficiency filter, preferably rated MERV 13 or higher, and align the arrows on the filter with the direction of the air flow through the fan. Try to get a good seal between the fan and the filter.
For more information on the testing and research by EPA, visit Research on DIY Air Cleaners to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors. The web page includes frequently asked questions and safety tips for using DIY air cleaners and other resources to protect public health from wildfire smoke. For more information on how to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke inside the home, visit Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality.
Improving Environmental Health in Schools White Paper
The authors of this white paper are environmental health academics who recognize the importance of in-school education. However, we also understand that infectious disease transmission in schools is an existential challenge affecting the health of local communities and ultimately, society at large. We have extensive experience implementing environmental improvements both before and during the current pandemic. We wish to persuade the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the lead Agency for protecting human health and the environment, that now is the time to revive and expand their School Integrated Pest Management (SIPM) initiative to improve environmental health in schools and document the tangible benefits that follow.
Need Temporary Power? Use Caution with Portable Generators! Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
During power outages, portable generators can be used to help temporarily restore power to a few key appliances like refrigerators, lights and fans. Portable generators that use fuels such as gasoline, natural gas or kerosene are widely available. However, if they are not used correctly they can be hazardous because their exhaust contains deadly fumes, like carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas you cannot see or smell but could kill you in minutes.
- Do use portable generators outside and far away from buildings.
- Do not use portable generators under any of the following conditions:
- inside your house or garage
- on balconies or near doors, vents or windows, and
- near where anyone is sleeping.
U.S. Department of Education Encourages Use of American Rescue Plan Funds to Improve Ventilation and IAQ in Schools
Indoor air quality is critical to reopening schools safely and keeping them open. The U.S. Department of Education has released new guidance encouraging the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to improve ventilation systems and make other indoor air quality improvements in schools to prevent the spread of COVID- 19 and tackle longstanding school ventilation improvement needs. The new Department of Education guidance highlights EPA resources to support investments in improved ventilation and indoor air quality. Use the following resources from EPA to supplement the information in the guidance:
- Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visit this page for the latest guidance on best indoor air practices to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Ventilation and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Ventilation is an important approach to lowering concentrations of indoor air pollutants, including viruses. Increase the ventilation in your school with outdoor air when possible.
- Air Cleaners, HVAC filters, and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Air cleaners and HVAC filters can help to reduce viruses and pollutants in the air. Consider upgrading the HVAC filters in your system and using safe, effective portable air cleaners to supplement HVAC filtration. Note: Do
not use air cleaners that intentionally generate ozone in occupied spaces.
- Implementing a Layered Approach to Address COVID-19 in Public Indoor Spaces: A layered risk reduction approach is best to limit airborne transmission of COVID-19 – learn how to combine increased ventilation and filtration with other CDC recommendations, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Be sure to subscribe to CodeTalk, HUD’s Office of Native American Programs newsletter, for webinars and opportunities!