Sunday, December 15, 2013

USDA Environmental Assessment Worksheet For Proposed Iowa Food Processing Plant

Caltha LLP Project Summary

Project: USDA Environmental Assessment Worksheet For Proposed Food Processing Plant
Client: Food Processer and Regional Economic Development Corporation
Location(s): Iowa

Key Elements: USDA Environmental Assessment Worksheet, Environmental Effects & Impacts, Regulatory and Permitting Requirements

Overview: Caltha LLP was retained by the project proposer, a food processing company, and the Regional Economic Development Corporation to prepare an Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the proposed project as required by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to secure a USDA backed loan for the project. Caltha staff worked in coordination with the project proposer and local USDA staff to prepare the EAW document. EAW elements evaluated included:
I. Project Description Purpose and Need
II. Primary Beneficiaries and Related Activities
III. Description of the Project Area
IV. Environmental Impacts Resource Criteria
1. Air Quality
2. Surface Water, Water Supply Quality, Groundwater, Storm Water, and Waste Water
3. Solid Waste Management and Hazardous Waste Management
4. General Land Use 5
. Transportation
6. Natural Environment
7. Human Population Socio-Economic/Environmental Justice
8. Construction
9. Energy
10. Miscellaneous
V. Coastal Zone Management Areas
VI. Cultural Resources, Historical, Archaeological
VII. Wild and Scenic Rivers
VIII. Biological Resources Critical Habitat and Endangered/Threatened Species Act
IX. Important Farmland
X. Floodplain Management and Wetlands Management
XI. Coastal Barrier Resources System
XII. State Environmental Policy Act
XIII. Intergovernmental Review
XIV. Environmental Analysis Of Participating Federal Agency
XV. Reaction To Project
XVI. Cumulative Impacts
XVII. Adverse Impacts
XVIII. Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
XIX. Mitigation
XX. Consistency with Rural Development Environmental Policies

For more information on Caltha LLP services, go to the Caltha Contact Page

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment. Caltha Environmental Review Website


Thursday, March 28, 2013

TSCA Risk Assessment Plan For Flame Retardant Chemicals.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will begin assessments on 23 commonly used chemicals, with a specific focus on flame retardant chemicals. These assessments are part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan which identifies commonly used chemicals for risk assessment. EPA plans to begin by evaluating 20 flame retardant chemicals, conducting full risk assessments for four of the flame retardants, three of which are on the TSCA Work Plan, and one that was the subject of an Action Plan development under TSCA. In addition, EPA plans to conduct assessments of eight other flame retardants by grouping flame retardants with similar characteristics together with the chemicals targeted for full assessment.

EPA also plans to evaluate how eight of the 20 flame retardant chemicals transform and move in the environment. These chemicals were selected because they are likely to persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in humans and/or have high exposure potential, but lack adequate data to conduct full risk assessments. During its review of data on flame retardant chemicals in commerce, EPA also identified approximately 50 flame retardant chemicals that are unlikely to pose a risk to human health, making them possible substitutes for more toxic flame retardant chemicals.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.



Proposed Changes To FTA FHA Categorical Exemptions

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have published a Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which proposes to amend some Categorical Exemptions the agencies use to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NPRM provides interested parties with the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) joint procedures that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments must be received on or before April 29, 2013.

The revisions are in response to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The agencies propos to add new categorical exclusions for projects within an existing operational right-of-way and projects receiving limited Federal funding. Funding thresholds being proposed are projects receiving less than $5,000,000 of Federal funds; or with a total estimated cost less than $30,000,000 and Federal funds comprising less than 15% of the total estimated project cost.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Caltha Environmental Review Website


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Changes To Environmental Review For Federal Transit Administration - Federal Highway Administration

Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have published a final rule revising some of their Environmental review and Related Procedures. This final rule makes revisions to the joint FTA and FHWA regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The final rule is effective on February 7, 2013

FTA and FHWA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on March 15, 2012. In the NPRM, FTA proposed: (1) The creation of ten new categorical exclusions (CEs) to be located in a newly proposed section of the regulation at 23 CFR 771.118; (2) the expansion of public involvement methods to include electronic means; (3) the addition of language on early scoping into the regulations; (4) a modification to the list of project types that normally result in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); and (5) the inclusion of an FTA review role in contracting for Environmental Assessment (EA) and EIS projects. The comment period closed on May 14, 2012.

Of the five major changes FTA and the FHWA included in the March 2012 NPRM, four are being carried forward in this final rule: (1) The creation of ten new CEs to be located in a newly proposed section of the regulation at 23 CFR 771.118; (2) the expansion of public involvement methods to include electronic means; (3) the addition of language on early scoping into the regulations; and (4) a modification to the list of project types that normally result in the preparation of an EIS. FTA intends that the preamble language contained in this final rule be used as guidance when applying the changes made by this final rule.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Caltha Environmental Review Website



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

TSCA Review For Common Household Product Chemicals

EPA has released for public comment draft risk assessments on five chemicals found in common household products. The draft risk assessments were developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified common chemicals for review to assess any impacts on human health and the environment. The five assessments address the following chemical uses:
  • methylene chloride or dichloromethane (DCM) and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint stripper products;
  • trichloroethylene (TCE) as a degreaser and a spray-on protective coating;
  • antimony trioxide (ATO) as a synergist in halogenated flame retardants; and
  • 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8,-hexamethylcyclopenta-[γ]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) as a fragrance ingredient in commercial and consumer products.
The draft assessments focus either on human health or ecological hazards for specific uses which are subject to regulation under TSCA. The draft assessments were undertaken as part of EPA’s efforts to identify chemicals for review under the TSCA Work Plan, which EPA released in March 2012. At that time, EPA identified 83 chemicals as candidates for review and outlined the data sources and other information the agency would use in the reviews.


Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Caltha Environmental Review Website


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Preliminary Rulemaking In California For Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On December 18, the California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources released a draft of regulations covering hydraulic fracturing. The Division says the draft regulations are a "discussion draft," meaning the version does not begin a formal rulemaking process, but rather, starts the discussion by key stakeholders, such as industry, environmental groups, regulators, and any interested members of the public. The discussions will help prepare for the more formal rulemaking process, which is expected to begin by February 2013. The Division will accept written comments until 45 days after the formal rulemaking begins.

The discussion draft regulations touch on topics such as:

  • Pre-fracturing well-testing;
  • Advance notification;
  • Monitoring during and after drilling operations;
  • Disclosure of fracturing fluid materials;
  • Confidential business information; and
  • Handling and Storage of hydraulic fracturing fluids;
The proposed regulations would require hydraulic fracturing operators to publicly disclose detailed information about their operations, including a complete list of chemicals, and their concentrations. If the material is a trade secret, then operators must inform the public of its chemical family or use a similar method to describe it.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Caltha Environmental Review Website


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission Collaboration On Nanomaterial Risk Research

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced their collaboration in a research effort to assess any potential impacts of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. Nanomaterials appear in many household products ranging from clothing to building materials.

EPA's collaborative research with CSPC is part of a larger effort that focuses on:

  • Identifying, characterizing and quantifying the origins of nanomaterials
  • Studying biological processes affected by nanomaterials that could influence risk
  • Determining how nanomaterials interact with complex systems in the human body and the environment
  • Involving industry to develop sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Sharing knowledge through innovative online applications that allow for rapid feedback and accelerated research progress

CPSC, in working with other federal agencies, ensures that common public health concerns are met and will use research findings to inform:

  • Protocol development to assess the potential release of nanomaterials from consumer products
  • Credible rules for consumer product testing to evaluate exposure
  • Determination of the potential public health impacts of nanomaterial used in consumer products

This research is a part of the U.S. government efforts to assess the potential risks of nanomaterials. These efforts are coordinated by the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). NNI is a collaborative project comprised of 25 agencies, including EPA and CPSC.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Caltha Environmental Review Website