May 27, 2021, from two separate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcements:
EPA intends to reconsider and revise the 2020 CWA Section 401 Certification Rule
Congress provided authority to states and Tribes under CWA Section 401 to protect the quality of their waters from adverse impacts resulting from federally licensed or permitted projects. Under Section 401, a federal agency may not issue a license or permit to conduct any activity that may result in any discharge into navigable waters unless the affected state or Tribe certifies that the discharge is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and state law, or waives certification.
EPA intends to reconsider and revise the 2020 CWA Section 401 Certification Rule to restore the balance of state, Tribal, and federal authorities while retaining elements that support efficient and effective implementation of Section 401. While EPA engages with stakeholders and develops a revised rule, the 2020 rule will remain in place. The agency will continue listening to states and Tribes about their concerns with implementing the 2020 rule to evaluate potential administrative approaches to help address these near-term challenges.
The agency’s process of reconsidering and revising the 2020 CWA Section 401 Certification Rule will provide an opportunity for public and stakeholder input to inform the development of a proposed regulation, and will include sustained dialogue with state and Tribal co-regulator partners and local governments around these issues. EPA will begin a stakeholder engagement process in June to hear perspectives on this topic and how to move forward. More information will be available at: www.epa.gov/cwa-401.
EPA, Region 7, public listening sessions on the RMP Rule
Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments requires EPA to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances. These regulations and guidance are in the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule, which requires facilities using extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan that:
These plans provide information to local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community.
The Region 7 EPA announced two upcoming virtual public listening sessions on the Agency’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule. The RMP rule has been identified as an action for review under Executive Order 13990: Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis.
The listening sessions will give people the opportunity to present information, and provide comments or views pertaining to revisions made to the RMP rule since 2017. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will also participate in the listening sessions and receive comments on their Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, which contains similar requirements to the RMP rule.
Virtual public listening sessions will be held on:
For more information on the public listening sessions:
Submit written comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0312 until July 15, 2021.
EPA Region 7 serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Nine Tribal Nations.
The American Bar Association’s Section of Environmental, Energy, and Resources (SEER) is hosting its 50th Spring Conference virtually, April 27-30, 2021.
SCS Engineers is a Gold Sponsor of the conference, and SCS Senior Vice President of Environmental Services, Mike McLaughlin, PE, JD, is participating in the conference, which will consist of a series of webinars, networking events, expert insight panels, and more.
This virtual conference celebrates the past, examines the present, and challenges us to make the future better. This year’s conference will have a special focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the practice of law, and environmental justice issues.
All environmental, energy, and resources practitioners are invited to attend as the conference marks its 50th anniversary. Since 1971, the Spring Conference (once known informally as the Keystone Conference) has been a leading forum for the discussion of current issues in environmental, energy, and resources law.
Sponsorship opportunities are currently available at the Gold, Silver and 50th Anniversary Legal Leader levels. For more information about sponsorship, contact Dana Jonusaitis.
Section members can earn up to 11 hours of CLE credit in 60-minute states—and 13.2 hours of CLE credit in 50-minute states. And, if you are unable to attend any sessions in real time, they can be viewed at a later date on demand.
Highlights of the conference include:
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs announced the release of the Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Agenda reports on the actions administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term. Of note:
The EPA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding possible revisions to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D part 258 regulations for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills that may provide regulatory flexibility to encourage accelerated waste decomposition in the presence of water. In light of advances in landfill technology, the EPA is considering whether to revise part 258 to create new national standards for the management of liquids in “wet” landfills and bioreactor landfills, including the possibility of removing the prohibition on the addition of bulk liquids, to foster accelerated waste decomposition. Through the ANPRM, the EPA requested information and data on the performance of bioreactor landfills and wet landfills, including information on appropriate liquids management. In addition, the EPA requested comments on whether new national standards for bioreactor landfills and wet landfills are appropriate, and if so, what regulatory changes the EPA should consider in developing any proposal.
This proposal address the agency’s residual risk and technology review (RTR) of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills. The MSW Landfills NESHAP, subpart AAAA, was promulgated pursuant to section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) on January 16, 2003. The NESHAP established emission limitations based on maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for controlling emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and helped implement the Urban Air Toxics Strategy developed under section 112(k) of the CAA. The HAP emitted by MSW landfills includes, but are not limited to, vinyl chloride, ethylbenzene, toluene, and benzene. This action implements the residual risk review requirements of CAA section 112(f)(2) and the technology review requirements of CAA section 112(d)(6). The statute directs the EPA to promulgate emission standards under CAA 112(f)(2) if such standards are required to provide an ample margin of safety to protect public health or to prevent, taking relevant factors into account, an adverse environmental effect. Any such standards are to be promulgated within 8 years after the promulgation of MACT standards under CAA section 112(d). CAA section 112(d)(6) requires the EPA to review and revise the MACT standards as necessary, taking into account developments in practices, processes and control technologies, no less often than every 8 years. Pursuant to a court order, the EPA is obligated to complete the final action by March 13, 2020. In consideration of this deadline, which also applies to 19 other RTR source categories, we established an internal schedule for this RTR to be proposed and finalized prior to the consent decree deadline. The EPA currently plans to complete this action by July 2019.
The EPA finalized the Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills on August 29, 2016 (81 FR 59276). The requirements for state and federal plans implementing the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills Emission Guidelines are specified in subpart B – 40 CFR 60.20-60 (referred to as the implementing regulations), which is cross-referenced in the emission guidelines issued by the Agency.
In August 2018, the EPA proposed changes to the implementing regulations governing emission guidelines under a new 40 CFR part 60, subpart Ba. This action aligns the regulatory text in the MSW Landfills Emission Guidelines with a cross-reference to the new subpart Ba for the timing requirements of state and federal plans.