On October 25, 2017, EPA Region 6 announced a settlement with Macy’s department stores for alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations. In the press release, EPA alleged that Macy’s generated thousands of pounds of hazardous waste between 2012 – 2015 and qualified as a small-quantity generator but failed to notify EPA and state authorities. EPA also alleged that Macy’s failed to meet the regulatory requirements for small-quantity generators and did not complete appropriate manifests. As part of the settlement, the company is required to pay a $375,000 civil penalty and, as a supplemental environmental project, develop an internal training and audit program. This settlement demonstrates that EPA Region 6 continues to pursue enforcement actions initiated under the former Administration using evidence from data mining of manifests and records related to hazardous waste generators, big and small. With this EPA action, the current Administration appears to be willing to continue its focus on retail hazardous waste enforcement. Troutman Sanders has extensive experience advising clients on retail hazardous waste management and enforcement. Please contact Greg Blount or Angela Levin for further information.
On August 15, 2017, EPA issued non-binding guidance providing insight of EPA’s expectations for states to assume regulation authority over coal combustion residuals (CCRs). Comments on this guidance are due September 14, 2017. Under the Water Infrastructure and Improvements for the Nation Act, states may develop their own CCR permit programs that are “at least as protective” as the federal CCR rule. EPA must review these programs at least every 12 years. Upon the submission of a program application by a state, EPA will have 180 days to act, which includes a period of public notice and comment. States may choose not to submit such a program, and instead opt to remain under the federal scheme.
A recent case decided by the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that an entity involved only in post-closure activities at a site may still be considered an “operator” for purposes of 15A NCAC 13A .0109(h), making the entity subject to closure and post-closure standards for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
As we previously reported, industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council, challenged the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“Final Rule”) in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on February 24, 2017. The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on November 28, 2016 (a discussion of the Final Rule and its potential impacts can be found here). Since our previous post, some updates have occurred in the pending challenge.
On February 24, 2017, industry groups challenged the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“Final Rule”) in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The long-anticipated Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on November 28, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 85732). Pursuant to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) section 7006, petitioners have ninety days from that date to challenge the rule in the D.C. Circuit. Because the ninety-day deadline to challenge the rule expired on Monday, February 27, 2017, no more challenges may be filed. A previous discussion of the Final Rule and its potential impacts can be found here.
On January 11, EPA proposed Superfund financial assurance regulations for the hardrock mining industry. The proposal requires owners and operators of certain types of hardrock mines and mineral processing facilities to give financial assurances of their ability to pay for potential releases of hazardous substances from their facilities, including Superfund cleanup costs, health assessment costs and natural resource damages (NRD).
On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Investment for the Nation Act (WIIN) (S. 612). As one of the last pieces of legislation by Congress this session, the Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to approve state permitting programs for coal combustion residuals units (CCR units). The Act also affects other areas of water resources, ranging from the remediation of lead piping in Flint, Michigan to studies addressing the California drought.
Troutman Sanders attorneys Greg Blount and Karlie Webb are the authors of the Law360 article, “How New EPA Hazardous Waste Rule Impacts Retail Pharmacies” which examines the effect of the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule on retail pharmacies. See the full article here. The two will host a webinar on the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule on Friday, November 18 at 12 p.m. EST. For more information, click here.
Also, Miranda Yost and Andy Flavin authored the article, “Climate Change Litigants Get Creative.” The Law360 article discusses how a new wave of climate change claims is sweeping the country and how claimants are using a broad range of laws (not limited to just environmental), to pursue claims. To see the full article, click here.
You are invited to
A Webinar: The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule
Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
The final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule is Here!
Are you a hazardous waste generator? How will the EPA’s updates to the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule affect your business? Could your company be at risk for noncompliance?
On October 28, 2016, the EPA signed the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. This Rule has been long in the making and addresses various issues applicable to all hazardous waste generators, regardless of the amount of hazardous waste generated or industry sector. Other changes significantly alter requirements applicable to Large Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators.
Yesterday, October 31, 2016, U.S. EPA posted the pre-publication version of its final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“Final Generator Rule”). The Final Generator Rule was signed by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on October 28, 2016. This rule has been long in the making and addresses various issues applicable to all hazardous waste generators, regardless of the amount of hazardous waste generated or industry sector. Other changes significantly alter requirements applicable to Large Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators.