1998 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Center for Public Environmental Oversight <cpro@igc.apc.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:47:29 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: "Extend Comment Period for Lead"
Subject: Request for 60-day Extension on Comment Period for Pb Rule:OPPTS 
Control # 62156

From: WJASmith@aol.com

Leaders of major environmental groups in the San Francisco Bay area have 
faxed you the following request for a 60-day extension to the above 
proposed rule.

We are concerned that blanket application of the proposed 2,000 ppm standard,
which is above the State of California's threshold for declaring soil
hazardous, requires careful review.

William Smith
Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Northern Alameda County Group

September 22, 1998

OPPT Document Control Officer (7407)
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, SW, Room G099, East Tower
Washington D.C.  20460

RE:  Request for 60 Day Extension of Public Comment Period for OPPTS Control
     Number 62156; TSCA Section 403 Rulemaking (Identification of Dangerous
     Levels of Lead)

Dear Sirs:

As leaders of two of the largest environmental groups in the San Francisco Bay
Region, we are writing to request a 60-day extension to the comment period on
the proposed rulemaking under Section 403 (Identification of Dangerous Levels
of Lead).  Collectively the Sierra Club and Golden Gate Audubon Society have
over 30,000 members in Northern California.

We were notified of the existence of this rule on Friday, September 18th, too
late to prepare a response by October 1 that could explain the potential
impacts of this rule on the residents of older urban neighborhoods, the
redevelopment of old industrial properties, and the redevelopment of thousands
of acres on closing military bases in the San Francisco Bay area.  To enable
us to prepare an adequate response, we request that the EPA extend the comment
period by 60 days to December 1, 1998.

We are concerned that the proposed rule will fail to protect the health 
of both some of the country's most spectacular wildlife that lives in or passes
through the Bay area and of local residents.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service has documented that lead poisoning is one of the most serious problems
faced by the spectacular flocks of water fowl that migrate through the San
Francisco Bay Area.  The proposed 2,000 ppm soil levels for lead in soils near
the Bay is sufficiently high that it may pose a threat to waterfowl and
benthic organisms already burdened with a variety of industrial toxins.

Many of our members are concerned that the EPA's approach to defining "lead-
based paint hazards" as explained in the Federal Register, Volume 63, No. 196,
dated June 2, 1998, appears to rely on cost/benefit analysis to set lead
hazard standards.  If so, the EPA has inappropriately mixed risk assessment
with risk management.  To adopt the proposed standards would make it more
difficult for the Club and local agencies to communicate and manage risks
posed by lead, especially in low income neighborhoods.

Responsible parties are likely to use the proposed high Federal Standard of
2,000 ppm to justify non-compliance with the State of California's standard of
140 ppm.  The resulting confusion over which standards are protective and
applicable is likely to be yet another barrier to the redevelopment of
properties in older industrial areas and low income neighborhoods.  If
enacted, the proposed standard is likely to result in additional generations
of children in neighborhoods like Hunters Point in San Francisco and West
Oakland growing up with few economic opportunities and unsafe levels of lead
in their blood.

We encourage the EPA to do more to protect the children of poor and minority
communities from lead poisoning, not less as this proposal appears to do.  One
alternative approach, which we plan to describe in detailed comments to be
submitted prior to December 1, would be to set a lower universal standard for
unrestricted use of property based on risk assessment, such as California's
standard of 140 ppm, and  higher guidelines for restricted uses based on risk
management considerations.  This approach would likely restrict the proposed
2,000 ppm standard to paved areas in commercial and industrial districts.

Such an approach would better allow the EPA to target health-based  lead-paint
hazard standards to disproportionately affected communities, as required by
Executive Order 12898 -- Environmental Justice.  Consideration of this
alternative approach would also address the requirements of Executive Order
13405 -- Protection of Children from Environmental Health or Safety Risks,
which requires the EPA to consider alternative approaches to proposed rules
when children face disproportionate risks.

Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment.  As described above, we
plan to provide more comments on the impact of the proposed rules on our local
communities and on alternatives at a later date.  We request that you extend
the public comment period by 60 days to allow us to adequately prepare those


Arthur Feinstein
Executive Director, Golden Gate Audubon Society

Frank Orem
Chair, San Francisico Bay Chapter Conservation Committee

Toni Loveland
Chair, Northern Alameda County Group Executive Committee

Blake Brown
Chair, San Francisco Bay Chapter Toxics Committee

Lauren Helfand
Vice-Chair, East Bay Military Base Conversion Task Force

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