The Community Advisory Panel working with DSM Nutritional Products met on February 17, 2004.  Present at the meeting were Bud Allen, Kevin Cavotta, Judy Chamberlain, Ernest Maso, Betty Merring, Doug Smyth, Joe Venesky, Stan Wilkins, and Dr. Zollinger.  Glenn Miller and Joe Gentile were present from DSM.  Present as a guest was Malcolm “Skip” Leslie of the White Twp. Environmental Commission. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross. 


Approval of February Meeting Summary

The meeting began at 7:05 p.m. The Panel approved the February meeting summary. 


USEPA’s Clean School Bus USA Program

Steve Ross introduced Liana Reilly of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who delivered a presentation on the agency’s Clean School Bus USA program (see presentation).  Liana noted that the program went national last year and is looking for more success in New Jersey.  She began by pointing out the adverse air quality and public health impacts of diesel emissions in general and from school buses in particular. 


Virtually all of New Jersey has high ambient concentrations of particulates, some due to [from] diesel exhaust, which contains carcinogens and exacerbates asthma, especially in children.  To address these risks from diesel exhaust, EPA regulations have set new standards, which take effect in 2006, to require the use of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel.  However, since there is very low turnover in the heavy-duty vehicles with diesel engines (trucks, buses, construction and farm machinery) it will be quite some time before the current fleet of diesel vehicles is replaced by new clean-burning engines.  EPA therefore established a voluntary program for retrofitting all diesel school buses with diesel oxidation catalysts, which decrease particulate emissions by 20-30%, or diesel particulate filters, a more costly option that replaces mufflers, requires the use of ULSD and decreases particulates by 60-90%.


Joe Venesky noted that a recent study that found more diesel pollutants inside school buses than outside them created a great deal of concern.  Liana said EPA doesn’t have the authority to regulate school buses, which is why its retrofit grant program is voluntary.  She pointed out that the cheapest option for reducing diesel emissions is to reduce unnecessary engine idling time, which is something the state or school districts should consider.  Reducing idling time, retrofitting buses with pollution control devices and replacing the oldest buses with new cleaner models are the best options for reducing diesel emissions and hopefully reducing asthma attacks in children.  In addition, the use of ULSD, which will be the only form of diesel fuel available beginning in 2006, will by itself reduce particulate emissions by 5-9%.  Proper maintenance will also reduce emissions.


Liana noted that school districts that use contract bus operators can qualify for grants under the clean school bus program if the school district retains ownership of the pollution control devices.  The catalysts cost $1,500-$3,000, while the filters cost $8-10,000.  In response to a question from Joe Venesky, Liana said the diesel engine manufacturers work hand in hand with the manufacturers of the retrofit devices, that the installation of such devices will not void the engine warranty and has no effect on gas mileage, and that the retrofit manufacturers will typically send a representative out to handle the installation at no extra charge.


Doug Smyth reported that the Belvidere School District is interested in adopting an idling regulation quickly in order to achieve an immediate impact on diesel emissions.


Liana said that EPA would be happy to share information on anti-idling and retrofit programs and help with community and media outreach to improve community awareness about the program.  Last year, the Clean School Bus USA program awarded $5 million in grants to school districts and has a comparable budget for this year.  Next year’s proposed federal budget includes $60 million for the program, and the energy bill now being considered by Congress has bipartisan support for $300 million for the program.  Additional funding will also be available from settlements reached with Toyota.


Dr. Zollinger recommended that CAP members meet with school bus owners, school districts and other key stakeholders to report on EPA’s clean school bus program and the availability of grants.  Skip Leslie suggested that meetings first be held individually with the key stakeholders, followed by a meeting attended by all. 


Steve Ross said he would prepare a news release on tonight’s CAP meeting and distribute it to area newspapers to inform them about the program. 


Doug Smyth and Skip Leslie recommended that DSM establish a policy on truck idling for use in conjunction with all facility-related truck operations.


Right to Know and Hazardous Waste Reports

Glenn Miller reported that DSM has filed a Community Right To Know Report on the hazardous chemicals stored at its Belvidere plant, as required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act.  The report identifies each hazardous chemical, where it is stored and how it is stored.  Each of those chemicals has its own Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which provides information on the material’s hazardous characteristics and what to do if exposed. 


This information is provided to all emergency responders through the Local Emergency Planning Committee, local fire companies, the local Hazmat Team, and NJDEP.  DSM is very conservative in this regard, as it requires MSDS materials for every substance stored on site in amounts that trigger the reporting requirement, even for non-hazardous materials such as sorbose, cottonseed flour and vitamins, and regardless of how long the material is stored on site, even if just for one day. 


Glenn also reported on the Hazardous Waste Report DSM is required to submit by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  Ninety eight percent of the facility’s hazardous waste is incinerated at a RCRA-approved and licensed disposal facility operated by Keystone Cement in Bath, PA, and the other two percent is recycled. Most of the facility’s hazardous waste consists of still bottoms. 


Joe Venesky asked if it was possible for a hazardous waste shipment to be disposed of somewhere other than its designated destination.  Glenn explained that the rigorous manifest and chain-of-custody system required by RCRA makes this virtually impossible.  Manifests must be signed by the generator, transporter and disposer, including a Certificate of Destruction from the incinerator, and then sent to NJDEP for review, to minimize the risk of unauthorized disposal or inappropriate handling and treatment.


Glenn noted that while RCRA requires that hazardous waste must be disposed of every 90 days, DSM schedules waste for disposal every 70 days.


DSM Environmental Scorecard

Joe Gentile reported that for the second month in a row the facility had no DEP hotline incidents to report.


AirQAP Update

Bud Allen reported that the AirQAP now has two subcommittees, the benchmarks subcommittee and a legislative subcommittee.  The benchmarks group is working to refine the AirQAP website and the summary tables of monitoring results to make them more user-friendly for the general public.  That subcommittee will now begin focusing on analyzing the data collected over the past year to identify air quality problems and potential solutions.  The legislative subcommittee is developing legislation that endorses the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects as a standard component of NJDEP enforcement actions and related fines.  Bud added that he, Steve Ross, and others will be meeting with NJDEP Assistant Commissioner Lisa Jackson and possibly Commissioner Brad Campbell to discuss the agency’s policy on SEPs as well as the potential for additional funding for the AirQAP and the WCAMP.


Next Meeting

Joe Venesky asked that the CAP’s April agenda include a DSM presentation on its community contributions program.


The meeting concluded at 9:55 p.m.