EPA Preparing Draft Plan to Assess the Potential Environmental Justice Impacts of the Definition of Solid Waste Rule


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: US Environmental Protection Agency

On January 15, EPA announced  that it was soliciting public comment “on a draft plan for assessing the potential impacts of its hazardous waste recycling (Definition of Solid Waste or DSW) rule on low-income, minority and tribal populations.”  (The draft plan can be found here:  EPA had first announced it would be conducting an analysis of the impact of the DSW rule from an environmental justice perspective in the summer of 2009; this draft plan of how to conduct that analysis is the first of several steps in that process.  EPA stated that its goal was “to ensure these materials are safely managed and the results of the evaluation will be used to decide whether additional action is necessary." 

In practical terms, this means that any additional state adoptions of the rule will be delayed.  EPA will not rule on the Sierra Club's petition to reject the rule until after the analysis has been completed.  No additional states will likely adopt the rule while it is still enveloped in regulatory uncertainty.  (State adoption is necessary because the rule is deregulatory in nature.)

EPA outlined the process for proceeding with the analysis:

  • Draft Environmental Justice Methodology for DSW
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Conducting the Analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Support decision-making – EPA will use the completed EJ analysis in deciding how to respond to the Sierra Club’s petition concerning the DSW Final Rule. 

The public will have an opportunity to formally comment on EPA’s tentative decision, as well as on the completed EJ analysis.

EPA will discuss the draft plan at the upcoming public meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) in New Orleans on January 28.  Additionally, EPA will hold  a second public roundtable meeting on the plan on February 23 in Arlington, Virgina, as well as an online public roundtable two days later. Comments on the draft plan are due March 15. 

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