Proposed Solid Waste Rulemaking to Promote Hazardous Waste Recycling

Environmental Law

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) proposed a modification of the 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (“DSW”) rule of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). The DSW is critical in determining whether a waste is subject to regulation under Subtitle C of RCRA. This rulemaking is being done in an effort to encourage recycling of hazardous waste and to promote the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of waste recycling. The new provisions will attempt to improve the 2008 rule, focusing on more stringent oversight of hazardous waste recycling and greater transparency in the storage and transport of hazardous waste. Under the new rule, companies recycling on-site will be subject to enhanced storage and recordkeeping requirements. Those facilities shipping waste off-site will be required to transport waste to a permitted hazardous waste recycling facility.

Additionally, an impetus for this rule modification lies with environmental justice concerns, as the prior rule may have had a disparate impact on low-income and minority communities. USEPA is focusing more closely on how its regulations may disproportionally affect these vulnerable communities. Through an environmental justice analysis, USEPA is using its policy discretion to remedy these concerns. The USEPA has engaged in such an analysis for the 2008 DSW rule, and has drafted an environmental justice analysis methodology report for review and comment. The 60-day comment period for the proposed provisions will begin once the proposal is published in the Federal Register.  The docket for the rulemaking is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742 and can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov/ once the proposal is published.

For more information on hazardous waste recycling and RCRA waste disposal requirements, please contact Miriam Villani or Jason Kaplan.

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