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Wednesday
Feb062013

Phillips 66 Company Settles Hazardous Waste Violations For Its Former Pennsylvania Refinery

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Phillips 66 Co., ConocoPhillips Corp.’s successor, has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to settle alleged hazardous waste violations in the company’s former refinery in Trainer, Pa.

Phillips 66 Co. refinery in Trainer, Pa. Photo courtesy of examiner-enterprise.com.

The EPA cited the company for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which is the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

More specifically, following EPA inspections in 2011 and 2012 and subsequent requests for information, the agency cited the company for RCRA violations involving hazardous waste stored at the facility, including oil refinery hydrocarbon waste, chromium waste, heavy metal waste from batteries, and mercury waste from florescent bulbs.

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Thursday
Jan312013

President Obama Signs Hurricane Sandy Relief Package Approved By Senate This Earlier Week

Image courtesy of aplacetoconnect.com.

On Tuesday, President Barrack Obama has signed a long-awaited $50.6 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster relief package, drafted by the House of Representatives and passed by the Senate earlier in the week. The package passed the Senate in a vote of 62-32.

U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY), the package’s sole sponsor, said that, “The funding in this legislation will go toward both immediate and longer-term needs in the wake of the storm, including the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, which provides the most direct source of individual and community assistance throughout the affected region.

“The legislation will also finance critical housing and infrastructure needs, ensure repairs to damaged veterans medical facilities, and fund necessary transit repairs, small business loans, and recovery aid for businesses of all sizes.”

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Friday
Jan252013

U.S. Senate Delays Vote On Recently Passed House Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Package

Three students from the Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Va., set up a bake sale to raise funds to give to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. Photo courtesy of John Lawrence.

And the U.S. congressional feet dragging goes on! On Tuesday, the Senate received H.R. 152, the House of Representatives $50.6 billion disaster relief package for Hurricane Sandy, and the Senate did nothing but read it.

The Senate’s official legislative website recorded its actions in the follow way: “Received in the Senate. Read the first time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time.” And we wait!

Reader comments and input are always welcomed!

Friday
Jan182013

U.S. House Passes $50.6 Billion Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Bill, Senate Vote Next Week

Updated on January 25, 2013 by Registered Commenter Kyriaki (Sandy) Venetis

This week the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed a disaster relief package for Hurricane Sandy to the tune of $50.6 billion after months of pressure from everyone, and I mean everyone – from the states, to the Senate, and to President Obama.

Devastation to coastal properties caused by Hurricane Sandy. Photo courtesy of causecast.com.

U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY), the package’s sole sponsor, said on its passing that, “The funding in this legislation will go toward both immediate and longer-term needs in the wake of the storm, including the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, which provides the most direct source of individual and community assistance throughout the affected region.

“The legislation will also finance critical housing and infrastructure needs, ensure repairs to damaged veterans medical facilities, and fund necessary transit repairs, small business loans, and recovery aid for businesses of all sizes.”

Rogers added that, “Included in the legislation is an amendment – offered by Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) – to provide an additional $33 billion for longer-term recovery efforts and infrastructure improvements, and for programs and projects that will help guard against damage and losses in future disasters.”

Here’s a cataloging of some of the provisions of the relief package:

Food Related Programs

  • $6 million to be allocated through the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for additional foods and administrative costs to assist families and individuals displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

Public Health and Social Services

  • $100 million to be allocated for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for disaster response and recovery, and other expenses directly related to Hurricane Sandy, with “not less than” $25 million being transferred to the Children and Families Services Program.

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Friday
Jan112013

States Progressing With Hurricane Sandy Relief, As Congressional Vote Looms On Federal Aid

A ray of hope from the dysfunctional – though the U.S. House of Representatives has been dragging its feet over the last few months in making any decisions on Hurricane Sandy relief appropriations, there is a vote pending in the House next Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 regarding several extensive appropriation measures for long-term relief and rebuilding efforts.

Some the strongest appeals to Congress, especially to the House, to pass an appropriations package have come from New York and New Jersey – two of the hardest hit states.

Earlier this month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sent several joint appeals (more like scathing criticism) to the House, among them saying that the “continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives [was] inexcusable” and that “President Obama put forth a responsible aid proposal that passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate while the House has failed to even bring it to the floor.”

As for the upcoming vote next week, the governors sent a joint letter to the House saying they are “trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrument for long-term rebuilding.”

Cataloging the damage caused by the hurricane across multiple states, Cuomo said:

Twenty-four U.S. states were in some way affected by Sandy. The storm killed at least 131 people in eight states, including at least 60 in New York, at least 35 in New Jersey, and dozens in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia, and North Carolina combined.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in our region, leading to billions in economic disruptions and losses.

Cuomo also rallied at the House that, “Every time there has been a storm or disaster even close to the size and scope of Sandy regardless of the region of the country, the House has approved billions of dollars in supplemental aid – $290 billion in total since 1989 as part of 35 separate supplemental appropriations bills. North, South, East, West, the House has always acted and acted quickly. Expect now.”

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