More Industry Criticism of EPA's Waste Definition Rule

Date: September 20, 2011

Source: News Room

Industry criticism is growing against the Obama administration's proposed revisions to EPA's Bush-era definition of solid waste (DSW) as chemical manufacturing and scrap recycling industries becoming the latest to complain that the revised rule would be too costly. The Obama EPA proposed July 6 to amend the Bush-era DSW rule, which relaxed certain waste management requirements on industry in the interest of promoting recycling. The new proposal, which follows a lawsuit from environmentalists and complaints from state regulators that the Bush-era rule is too lax, would tighten many of the requirements. Industry groups, including the National Mining Association (NMA) and American Petroleum Institute (API), and now the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) expressed shock that EPA would no longer exclude so-called 'tolling" where a reclaimer or processor operates on the site of the waste generator. EPA had previouslyagreed that tolling arrangements ensure that there is no discard since the hazardous secondary materials remain under the control of the generator. If EPA removes the exclusion, contractors conducting reclamation may need to obtain storage permits under Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) rules.

Meanwhile, ISRI is complaining that the new proposal could have significant impacts on its members. "This current proposal, at least as it relates to ISRI members, appears to completely restructure how the 2008 Rule is applied, and for the first time appears to substantially change how our industry will be treated," ISRI says in Aug. 19 comments it submitted to EPA. The new proposal "may also impose new affirmative obligations relating to notification, containment, and recordkeeping," ISRI says.

The Obama administration's proposal is more stringent in a number of ways. For example, under the proposal companies would have to meet all four of EPA's criteria for determining whether recycling is legitimate -- rather than two of the four criteria as the Bush-era rule requires. The new proposal also more specifically defines the circumstances under which the agency would consider materials destined for recycling to be safely "contained."

See also:
"EPA Takes Heat for Definition of Solid Waste Rule Proposal," (

"EPA to Toughen Definition of Solid Waste Rule," (

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