On May 30th, EPA reinstated a Bush Administration RCRA exemption that allows third-party recycling of hazardous secondary materials, known as the “Transfer-Based Exclusion.” The move will make it easier for facilities to use vendors to recycle materials like spent solvents and expired pharmaceuticals without managing them as hazardous waste. As a result, it may be possible for Large Quantity Generators (“LQG”) to reduce their generator status and avoid the compliance obligations that come with being an LQG.
On November 7, EPA filed a motion asking the D.C. Circuit to remand certain provisions of the CCR Rule for the Agency’s reconsideration. As background, on September 13, EPA granted USWAG’s and AES Puerto Rico’s petitions for reconsideration of the CCR Rule stating that it was “appropriate and in the public interest” for the Agency to reconsider parts of the regulation. EPA’s decision was largely based on the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which alters the self-implementing nature of the Rule to one implemented through enforceable permit programs.
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.