EPA hosts Public Meeting on the Definition of Solid Waste Rule


Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) US Environmental Protection Agency

On September 12, EPA hosted the first of its two public meetings on the new Definition of Solid Waste proposed rule.

Three representatives of industry groups (including one from the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates) were joined by several speakers from environmental groups and NGO’s at the meeting.   Those groups included:  The Physicians for Social Responsibility, The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, The Clean Air Council, and The Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities.  Additionally, a few students and others associated with the Public Health and Environmental Justice Law Project of the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia spoke. 

Before a panel of three EPA staff members, SOCMA expressed its strong support for the proposed new remanufacturing exclusion, and the proposed retention of the Under the Control of the Generator Exclusion and tolling exemption.  (and strongly opposed the possible repeal of that exemption).  SOCMA also opposed the new requirement to make all four legitimacy criteria mandatory.  The other industry speakers were focused primarily on their opposition to the mandatory legitimacy criteria and the repeal of the transfer-based exclusion.

For the speakers from the environmental groups and NGOs, environmental justice concerns remained central at this meeting, much like they were at the 2009 public meeting.   In general, these speakers focused on several common themes:

  • Support for EPA and the proposed new rule
  • Strong support for the agency’s environmental justice analysis (citing the damage cases), but concern that the agency’s actions were not in keeping with its own conclusions
  • Pleas to not weaken the rule with additional exemptions
  • Calls for greater clarity about containment, transparency, recordkeeping, and permitting requirements
  • A belief that any regulatory costs incurred should be paid by those who benefit from the rule

More than one speaker expressed opposition to the remanufacturing exclusion, and also called on EPA to remove the exemption for tolling relationships.

A second public meeting on the rule is scheduled for September 15 in Chicago.  Written comments on the rule are due on October 20.

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