Release Date: 11/06/2013 Contact Information: Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or [email protected]
(DALLAS – Nov. 6, 2013) Calumet Shreveport Lubricant and Waxes, L.L.C., plant will expand a fence-line monitoring system to increase awareness of toxic air releases. The crude refinery and petroleum products facility will also pay a civil penalty of $ 326,000 to settle nine violations of the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) Risk Management Program uncovered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
From Aug. 15-18, 2011, EPA conducted an unannounced inspection and discovered numerous violations related to past explosions and the facility’s emergency response program.
“This settlement helps make available useful information in the event of future releases,” said Ron Curry, EPA’s Regional Administrator. “Our goal is to safeguard worker health and nearby communities by ensuring Calumet takes the necessary steps to improve safety and practices.”
Under the settlement, Calumet has agreed to install a fence-line monitoring system, Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), with a value of at least $ 248,000. The system will include 32 additional sensors covering all sides of the perimeter of the facility and monitor for hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and flammable gas lower explosive limit. The Risk Management Program is designed to prevent chemical accidents and releases through proper preparedness, response and prevention. The program requires that facilities producing, processing and storing extremely hazardous substances have a duty to identify hazards associated with an accidental release, design and maintain a safe facility and minimize risks associated with accidental releases.
EPA’s goals include focusing on cleaner air and healthier communities by improving compliance among industries with significant potential for accidental releases near communities.
Calumet will also continue to host quarterly community meetings with local citizens to discuss environmental concerns and the results of the fence-line monitoring. The facility is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of filing the consent agreement.
The Minister has approved £1.8m for Denbighshire County Council’s proposed flood alleviation scheme in Corwen.
The scheme will help protect 80 properties, and the A5 trunk road from the threat posed by Nant Cawrddu and Nant Pigyn.
The Minister made the announcement on the same day that he travelled to St Asaph to meet residents who were badly affected by the flooding of November 2012.
Alun Davies said:
“My visit to St Asaph is a stark reminder of the very real and increasing threat that flooding poses to communities across Wales , and of the long term issues that the type of flooding that we saw last November can cause.
“The Welsh Government is committed to managing the risk of flooding for communities across the whole of Wales. That is why we are investing £180m into flood and coastal erosion management over the life of this Assembly; it is why we drawing down an additional £60m of European funding to supplement our own investment; and it is why we are maintaining our investment in flood risk management despite a reduction in our overall budget.
“Over the last 10 years the Welsh Government has provided £14.5 m for flood alleviation schemes in Denbighshire. But last year’s events only serve to highlight the challenges we face and I very much welcome the ongoing work of Natural Resources to investigate long term solutions to reducing flood risk in St Asaph.
“As part of the Welsh Government’s ongoing commitment to flood risk management I am today announcing £1.8m for a flood alleviation scheme that will help protect homes and businesses in Corwen, another Denbighshire community that has recent experience of flooding, and I will continue to support appropriate flood risk management schemes that offer increased protection to communities across Wales who are vulnerable to flood risk.”
Speaking about Natural Resources Wales’ ongoing work in St Asaph, Tim Jones from the organisation said:
“The flooding that happened last November was a devastating experience for the people of St Asaph, and we have been working closely with Denbighshire County Council to provide support and advice to help the community.
“Since November, we worked to remove trees and debris left behind after the flooding and investigated options for temporary defences and short term solutions for Roe Parc and elsewhere. Natural Resources Wales is also working towards a long term solution to increase the level of protection for this community.”
Today’s debate follows the UK Government’s decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales from 25 June 2013.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, last week expressed disappointment at the UK’s Government’s decision and subsequently announced he was seeking powers to introduce an Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill that will provide safeguards for Wales’s agricultural industry.
The passing of the two motions in the National Assembly today mean that the Welsh Government can introduce a Bill on 8 July 2013 that will seek to retain the current level of protection for agricultural workers in Wales as a part of a determination to strengthen the agricultural industry as a whole, as well as individual farm businesses.
The Bill also makes provision to establish an Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales that would carry out functions related to the operation of the agricultural sector, including promoting careers and training in the agricultural sector.
The Minister said:
“The Welsh Government’s decision to ask that this Bill be introduced with such urgency is not one we have taken lightly.
“If we took no action today, the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, along with the revocation of the Agricultural Wages Order 2012, would impact upon the whole of Welsh agriculture – and it would be done with no support for this in Wales. Time and time again people across Wales have made clear that they do not want to see the AWB abolished. The UK Government has ignored the wishes of the Welsh Government, the National Assembly and Welsh agriculture. This is completely unacceptable.
“That is why the Welsh Government has taken urgent steps to seek the preservation of the current regime which is well established and well known by the industry.
“Having a well-trained and experienced workforce, as well as encouraging new entrants to join the farming industry, is essential for a resilient and effective agricultural industry. This is central to this Government’s “Working Smarter” objective to deliver professionally run farm businesses in Wales to contribute to a more prosperous and innovative economy.”
Next stages of the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill and proposed timetable:
Introduction of Bill – 8 July 2013
Stage 1 Consideration of general principles – 9 July 2013
Stage 2 Committee of the whole Assembly – 16 July 2013
Stages 3 & 4 Consideration of the Bill in Plenary – 17 July 2013
This report provides a framework for the national implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) safeguards. These safeguards are needed to ensure effective implementation of REDD+ so that it does not inadvertently harm communities and ecosystems. The framework provides a roadmap for navigating some of the choices that will arise in REDD+ design and implementation.
After providing context and definitions, the report explains the unique nature of the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards. Consisting of only broad substantive and procedural goals, they remain flexible in terms of methodology and minimum requirements. This allows countries to take new, culturally-sensitive approaches with their own national safeguard systems. The remainder of the report is then split into three sections relating to the creation of a national system: goals, functions, and rules and institutions.
The report defines national REDD+ goals, with one suggestion being safeguards to provide a floor, below which protection for people and the environment cannot fall. The functions of the REDD+ safeguards regard the processes by which goals are achieved. Functions of a national system should cover anticipating risks, planning to avoid or mitigate risks and maximise opportunities, managing implementation, monitoring, and responding to positive and negative outcomes. The process of assessing, improving and creating rules and institutions is discussed. The report offers advice on the types of rules available and notes the need for all institutions involved to be transparent, participatory and accountable.
Throughout the report, examples are highlighted from efforts to create and implement national REDD+ safeguard systems in Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico. Examples of civil society groups and communities participating in the formulation and implementation of safeguard principles are presented, as well as the various legislation efforts. The process for achieving representative institutions in these countries is complicated and has seen mixed results. The lesson from this is the need to systematically ensure full representation of the most vulnerable voices.
New English Heritage guidance helps safeguard the special character of historic chapels that may not remain in use.
Methodist and Nonconformist chapels in Cornwall are vulnerable to decay and closure because of long-term maintenance problems, ageing congregations and small communities that struggle to keep them in good condition. Over 900 chapels have been recorded across the county, but under 250 now remain in religious or community use. The great majority of the others have been converted to other uses, very often domestic. Such new uses can retain their distinctive character, especially if they remain in some form of community use, but in many cases this has been lost due to changes that have removed or hidden the features that made them special.
English Heritage, The Methodist Church and Cornwall Council have produced joint guidance to help local communities make important decisions about the future use of these special buildings which safeguard their character, especially when they are no longer in religious use. The guidance helps new owners to safeguard their character whilst recognising that some adaptation may be needed to give them a sustainable future. The guidance is published on the English Heritage website:
The Guidance for Methodist and Non-Conformist Chapels in Cornwall is divided into two parts with ‘The Chapels Assessment Framework’ aimed at planning officers and applicants, including agents and architects who may be considering new uses for chapels, including where conversion to residential use is accepted as the optimum viable use. The second part, ‘The Historic Chapels in Cornwall’ provides guidance on the historic character and significance of chapels and looks at the issues facing chapel communities.
Methodism in Cornwall
Chapels and their communities developed as an important part of Cornish culture and its landscape, especially after Methodism took root from the late 18th century. Many Cornish people migrated to Australia, the Americas and other parts of the world in the 19th century, taking their mining expertise and technology, they also took their religious conviction and established chapels to serve their new communities.
Cornwall has one of the highest concentrations of Methodist and Nonconformist chapels in England including 184 listed chapels – 30% of the national total. Eighteen are listed at Grade II* for their rarity and historical significance as outstanding examples of their type, and one, the Quaker meeting house at Come-to-Good, Kea, is listed at Grade I. Most chapels date from the 19th century, often resulting from successive phases of rebuilding and reordering, and there is a great variety of size and architectural style.
The Value of the New Guidance
Jeremy Lake, English Heritage expert and co-author of the new guidance said: “The greatest number of chapel closures within the Methodist Church is in Cornwall, and in coming years more chapels will close and be sold with many being converted to residential housing. The challenge with those that remain open is how to maintain them while for those that close it is to find appropriate new uses for them that respect, so far as possible, their interiors. This guidance provides a way of helping owners, estate agents, communities and planners to manage sensitive change to all chapels and find a sustainable future for the most significant and vulnerable ones.”
Joanne Balmforth, Conservation Officer for the Methodist Church, said: “We are extremely proud of the built heritage and legacy resulting from the Methodists presence in the Cornwall area. We support the use of this guidance to conserve what we consider to be buildings of exceptional quality, often retaining intact interiors of significant national interest. We welcome this guidance as a serious attempt to inform and guide those with an interest in the conservation of Nonconformist chapels, whether it be managing sensitive alterations to extend their use, or in finding a sustainable and appropriate new use if the building is no longer in use as a Place of Worship.”
Councillor Colin Brewer, Cornwall Council’s Heritage Champion said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with English Heritage and the Methodist Church on this guidance, which will be a major step forward in taking an informed, consistent and sensible approach to the future of our unique legacy of chapels here in Cornwall. This is not a remote academic issue for those of us, whether Methodist or not, who have grown up with or come to value these chapels as part of our landscape, our shared identity, or our personal histories. It means much to us to know that we can work with partners to make sure that these special places will have that same presence in the lives of future generations in Cornwall.”
Mark Kaczmarek, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning said: “These Methodist Chapels are as important for our towns and villages as the Cornish Engine Houses, they a truly a part of our identity and worthy of protecting. My report endorsing the guidance given by English Heritage has just been submitted to the Planning Advisory Panel today and has had unanimous support from the panel members. The council’s planning officers will be delighted to be able to use this document when considering any change of use/ conversions.”
Examples of Successful and Sensitive Conversions
The 1884 Wesleyan chapel at Gulval is now a studio. It exemplifies a design type where the Sunday School and other rooms are accommodated within a basement underneath the chapel.
The former Wesleyan chapel at Manhay, listed grade II in Wendron parish, has been converted to a residential property but retains its fine facade, with rusticated surrounds to the door and sash windows.
The Gothic style 1903 Alexandra Road Chapel in Penzance has been converted into residential flats and relates well to housing of the same period.
A £1.2 million appeal launched by the National Trust in the summer to raise funds to acquire the iconic stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover coastline has reached its target in just 133 days, raising an average of £9,000 per day.
The Trust needed the money to buy a 0.8 mile stretch of this world-famous and much-loved piece of the Kent coastline overlooking the port.
It completes the missing link of coastline under National Trust care, uniting a stretch of more than 7km (nearly 5 miles) between the Trust’s visitor centre and South Foreland Lighthouse.
More than 16,000 people and organisations* have supported the White Cliffs of Dover appeal which was launched in June 2012 with an average donation of £40.21 (including Gift Aid) from members of the public.
Hundreds of messages of support were posted on a virtual White Cliffs of Dover on the charity’s website**.
Donations from supporters included a significant contribution from the Dover Harbour Board, which helped the Trust to reach its target earlier than had been anticipated, and support from the Regatta Foundation, Royal Oak Foundation and 16 National Trust supporter groups.
The fundraising drive was given a boost in July when a number of household names including Dame Vera Lynn, Dame Judi Dench and the soul singing sensation and Dover-born Joss Stone gave their support.
Writer and philosopher Julian Baggini spent a week in August at the White Cliffs in Dover looking into how they have come to symbolise what they mean for the UK’s national identity***.
Fiona Reynolds, who is in her final week as Director-General at the National Trust, said: “Thanks to the generosity and support of thousands of people we’ve reached our target nearly two months early.
“The Trust will now look to enhance the quality of access to this new land and build on some of the fantastic nature conservation work that has been carried out by the team on the ground.”
Standing proud at over 110 metres (taller than Big Ben or the same height as twenty-five London buses stacked on top of each other), the White Cliffs of Dover have witnessed many dramatic moments in England’s history.
These include the arrival of the Romans and the welcome return of British armed forces after the evacuation of Dunkirk during the Second World War.
The cliffs are also home to a rich array of wildlife including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only pair of breeding ravens in Kent and peregrine falcons.
Alison Burnett, a volunteer on the White Cliffs of Dover team, added: “There has been a real buzz around the appeal with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add the missing piece of the White Cliffs so that they are in the care of the National Trust.”
Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year with their wonderful views across the English Channel.
Notes to editors:
* The total number of people and organisations that donated to the White Cliffs of Dover appeal is 16,570.
** Examples of the messages of support and messages about why the White Cliffs of Dover matter can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/whitecliffsappeal
** ‘A Home on the Rock’ by Julian Baggini was published in October and can be read on the blog that ran during his residency – whitecliffsofdoverwriter.wordpress.com
About The National Trust:
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 720 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information on countryside conservation, and ideas for great value family days out, go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
A new study, published online by Nature this week, has concluded that managing the areas surrounded protected sites is as important as regulating the activities that take place inside, if biodiversity in tropical forest areas is to be conserved. The research, led by William F. Laurance at the James Cook University in Australia and involving over 100 collaborating authors, assessed the efficacy of 60 protected areas across Asia, America and Africa. Half of the reserves were deemed by the research team to not be performing ‘effectively or passably’ in safeguarding biodiversity.
Laurance et al. insist however that they are not aiming through the study to diminish the importance of protected areas as conservation tools. Instead they aim to highlight the challenges facing protected areas, so that these can be mitigated. Improving our understanding of the pressures impinging upon protected areas and how these can be ameliorated is fundamental to the success of meeting target number 11 under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed by the signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010:
‘By 2020 at least 17% of terrestrial and inland waters and 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.’
According to a Nature editorial commenting on the research, assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services to date have been hampered by piecemeal data collection and incomparable methodologies, a function of funding constraints and the difficulties of assessing complex systems. Laurance et al’s analysis therefore marks a significant achievement in filling data and knowledge gaps with respect to tropical forest protected sites.
The researchers carried out 262 interviews with field biologists and environmental scientists, with each asked to complete a 10-page questionnaire. This allowed the team to compile a dataset assessing 20 – 30 years of changes to 31 functional groups of species and on 21 potential drivers of environmental change, for 60 protected areas. The potential drivers of change assessed included road building, hunting and forest product extraction.The researchers claim that data have to date been unavailable for such a sufficiently large and representative sample of reserves.
Laurance et al found that across the 60 reserves there was an alarming ‘erosion of biodiversity that is often widespread taxonomically and functionally’, with biodiversity declines in approximately half of the sites. Eighty five per cent of reserves had experienced declines in the forest cover surrounding the sites, with only two per cent of sites seeing an increase in the adjacent forest cover. The researchers conclude that environmental changes such as these outside the reserves were nearly as important as those inside in determining the state of biodiversity within the protected areas.
The papers’ authors suggest that the best strategy for maintaining biodiversity within protected areas in the tropics is to protect them against major proximate threats, particularly from over-harvesting and habitat destruction. Furthermore they recommend the creation and maintenance of sizeable buffer zones around the protected areas, with substantial connections preserved or enhanced to other forested areas. Finally, local communities must be engaged in the conservation of protected areas and should be encouraged to practice low impact land use in areas surrounding reserves.
[publisher information not available], 2011
While the AWG-LCA decision forms the basis for safeguards in the context of support for readiness and REDD+, questions remain as to how they will be interpreted and applied, the extent of the benefit that they can provide and the challenges in their implementation. This background paper seeks to contribute to the discussion on practical experiences regarding safeguards by informing workshop participants about current approaches to the application of social and environmental standards and principles. It highlights the current REDD+ safeguard initiatives from the FCPF, UN- REDD Programme, and other initiatives, and the lessons learned and anticipated challenges to application of REDD+ safeguards.
Defra will make technical changes to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 to ensure multi-bin recycling systems are not imposed on residents.
The technical changes will make sure the legislation is in line with new EU rules, including guidance which is currently undergoing consultation. The changes will mean that local authorities will be able to choose the types of recycling services local people want, while ensuring quality recycling is collected.
Defra passed legislation in March which brought the requirements of the EU-revised Waste Framework Directive into UK law. This legislation is currently subject to a Judicial Review. The new draft EU guidance and the Judicial Review process have since highlighted that technical changes are needed to prevent the risk of the legislation being overturned, which could lead to more restrictive recycling collection systems being imposed on local councils and residents.
Defra will seek the views of industry, local authorities and other interested parties to inform the change to be made to the legislation.