REPRINT FROM THE EPA PRESS RELEASE
EPA Finds That Financial Risks from Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing Industry Does Not Warrant Additional Federal Requirements
WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2019) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to not impose burdensome and potentially duplicative financial responsibility requirements for the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry (the industrial sector that transforms crude petroleum and coal into usable products) because the financial risk to the federal government from those facilities is already addressed by various existing federal and state technical and financial requirements and modern material management practices. EPA’s proposed action would not drop existing federal requirements, rather it is a proposal to not impose additional requirements.
“After a thorough evaluation, EPA has determined that the petroleum and coal manufacturing industry’s current practices, along with existing federal and state regulations, adequately address potential financial risks to the federal government and American taxpayer,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “As part of President Trump’s commitment to protecting our environment and growing our economy, we are committed to responsible regulation while not imposing additional and unnecessary requirements on key sectors of the economy when the current regulatory framework is working.”
In the 39 years since the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted, a comprehensive regulatory framework has developed. Existing monitoring and operation standards have consistently worked over time to decrease the risk in this industry that if a hazardous waste cleanup is needed, the federal government will have to bear the cost of cleanup.
Further, this proposed finding does not affect, limit, or restrict EPA’s current authority to take a response action or enforcement action under CERCLA at any facility in this industry, to include requirements for financial responsibility as part of such response action, or to take appropriate action under various other federal environmental statutes that may apply to individual facilities, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act. These existing regulations, including financial responsibility requirements, continue to apply to facilities in this industry.
This proposal is consistent with the analysis EPA undertook in developing its final action for the hard rock mining industry. In that case, EPA’s approach was unanimously upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2019. EPA has evaluated the degree and duration of risk of the possible cost to cover the cleanup of hazardous substance releases associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous substances in the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry. EPA also examined the industry’s economic trends and the financial health of the sector and found the industry to be in a relatively stable financial position with low default risk. EPA’s evaluation showed that existing regulatory programs and voluntary practices reduce the need for federally financed response action at facilities in this industry.
Section 108(b) of CERCLA, also known as Superfund, directs EPA to develop regulations requiring classes of facilities to establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility to cover the costs associated with releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from their facilities.
In December 2016, EPA described its plan to consider financial requirements under CERCLA for the electric power industry, the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, and the chemical manufacturing industry. On July 2, 2019, EPA proposed to not issue financial responsibility requirements for the electric power industry. EPA is currently working on a proposal for the chemical manufacturing industry.
Today’s proposal for the petroleum and coal industry will be published in the Federal Register, and EPA invites stakeholders and the public to provide comments during the 60-day public comment period.
For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-financial-responsibility, or contact SCS Engineers at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Before the Court: EPA admits that it has failed to meet its nondiscretionary obligations to implement the Landfill Emissions Guidelines, as compelled by the CAA. The only questions before the Court were whether the Plaintiffs have standing and, if so, how long to give EPA to comply with its overdue nondiscretionary duties under the Landfill Emissions Guidelines. The Plaintiffs are the States of Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Vermont, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Ruling: Plaintiffs have standing, and the EPA must approve existing submitted plans by September 6 and issue the federal plan by November 6.
Impact on Landfill Owners/Operators: This will create some confusion, as landfills will be working on getting revised rules in place while at the same time start complying with the old EG rule. We are already doing that with XXX sites, but this ruling adds complexity. If EPA keeps to the schedule and we have final approved revised rules by March 2020, landfills won’t have to do as much under the old rules before new ones take effect.
With much attention given to fossil fuel power plant wastes such as coal combustion residuals, air emissions, and wastewater discharges, lesser-known waste streams can be overlooked. Taking a cautious approach, many plant personnel will dispose of smaller waste streams as hazardous waste based on limited information about the waste streams or a lack of awareness regarding potential RCRA exemptions.
You can save significant money on disposal at most facilities by closely evaluating waste streams and either taking advantage of RCRA exemptions or making minor adjustments to operations that will change a given waste stream so that it no longer meets the definition of hazardous waste. Through case studies, Jim Oliveros of SCS will discuss several types of waste streams generated at power plants, including stack interstitial condensate, hydrolyzer blowdown, and gypsum production, and explain how to properly characterize these wastes to help you save money.
Jim will make his presentation at the USWAG Low Volume Waste Technical Symposium
Jim Oliveros has over 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting field. His experience includes hazardous waste permitting, compliance, and corrective action. He is experienced in conducting assessment and remediation of contaminated properties; completing multimedia compliance audits; assisting with waste stream identification, characterization and management; and, federal and state regulatory consulting.
We will continue to see changes on the federal, state and local regulatory front that together will help us manage storm water in a smart, cost-effective manner preserving our water resources. Betsy Powers of SCS Engineers provides an update in her most recent article.
Until a new WOTUS definition is finalized, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army have indicated their intent to re-codify the pre-Obama regulations. The revised WOTUS rule is expected to include looser regulatory requirements, meaning fewer waters will qualify, and therefore, fewer permits will be required.
To speed up approvals of permits for highways, bridges, pipelines and other major infrastructure, an Obama-era executive order aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change were rolled back reducing the environmental reviews and restrictions on government-funded building projects in flood-prone areas.
Removing phosphorus from storm water runoff is a hot topic, with partners exploring alternative opportunities to reduce the introduction of phosphorus in runoff, remove it or manage it in watersheds.
More proprietary filters are being used for pretreatment before underground infiltration for redevelopment sites for total suspended solids (TSS) control and where land is limited. The performance of proprietary devices continues to be studied and improved to meet regulatory requirements. Increasing general attention is being paid to emerging contaminants that are problematic in storm water runoff. Among the emerging contaminants of concern are pharmaceutical and personal care products, pesticides, hydrocarbons, and hormones. Many of which are now included within the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals group.
Betsy Powers is a civil and environmental engineer with SCS Engineers.
The SWANA Keystone Chapter has elected Tom Lock of SCS Engineers as Secretary of the Chapter. Tom assumed his new position following the Board of Director’s meeting on September 6, 2018.
Tom continues to provide leadership and representation for the waste management industry and in the use of renewable energy resources such as landfill gas and solar in the region. In his new position, he is responsible for keeping full minutes of all proceedings of the Chapter, its members, directors, and committees, and maintaining Chapter records. Tom will issue notices required by law and SWANA bylaws, prepare and submit required annual, periodic or special reports, and shall perform other duties as requested by the Board of Directors. He is a SWANA member of over 25 years and regularly participates in regional and national conferences.
Tom, a Project Manager for SCS Engineers, has three decades of experience in environmental field services and project management, with an emphasis on waste industry operations and maintenance. He manages the SCS Engineers Harrisburg office and coordinates with the firm’s offices and operations nationwide. Lock’s expertise is in Operations, Maintenance, and Monitoring (OM&M) of environmental control systems. His work involves OM&M of renewable energy resources such as landfill gas using a sophisticated collection, monitoring, and reporting system SCSeTools®.
Our congratulations to Tom and the other newly elected officers.
A few years ago, an engineer working for a“friend’s plant” chose to replace their evaporative condenser with an adiabatic condenser. On the surface, the choice seemed like a good idea since adiabatic condensers often provide higher heat rejection with lower water and electricity usage. The condenser was purchased and installed, but all was not well. When not carefully considered, replacing equipment or control programs can have unforeseen consequences such as negative impacts on operational safety.
In this real life example the author examines what information would have made a big difference and significant savings had the right questions been asked.
Click to read this article and others written for those in industries using ammonia refrigeration.
SCS Engineers periodically prepares Technical Bulletins to highlight items of interest to our clients and friends. Our most recent SCS Bulletin summarizes the amendments addressing the updates to the Final Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule that the EPA published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2018, and which takes effect on August 29, 2018. The link above will take you directly to the summary.
SCS will continually update coverage of this Rule on our website. We welcome you to use our staff resources for guidance or to answer questions.
In an increasingly complex regulatory world, Remote Monitoring and Control (RMC) systems provide the tools necessary to improve safety, increase efficiency and make the right decisions quickly. Beyond capturing and storing data, these systems can sort through mountains of data, identify what’s important and deliver meaningful information to operators in real time or as needed.
Some of the added benefits of using RMC systems include:
This paper, presented at A&WMA’s 111th Annual Conference details the Tier 4 process and the potential issues that have arisen from conducting a Tier 4. This paper also assesses potential Tier 4 sites, exceedance reporting, wind monitoring, additional SEM equipment requirements, penetration monitoring, notification and reporting requirements, and impacts on solid waste landfills that will use the Tier 4 SEM procedure for delaying GCCS requirements. This paper reviews the changes between the draft NSPS and the final version of the new NSPS that was promulgated.
Click to read or share the paper, and learn about the authors.
The industry standard SP001 is incorporated into many Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans is now updated. How does it affect your facility’s SPCC Plan?
The Steel Tank Institute (STI) recently released an updated version of SP001 – Standard for the Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks. This document is the industry standard used in most SPCC Plans for inspection guidelines and integrity testing for shop-fabricated aboveground storage tanks. In a typical SPCC Plan prepared by SCS Engineers, your monthly and annual inspection forms, and tank integrity testing frequency requirements are based on the criteria provided in SP001.
No. We recommend incorporating the updated inspection forms during your next SPCC Plan Amendment or 5-year renewal.
The inspection criteria have been simplified, and more flexibility is allowed with the revised inspection forms. This will help make your inspection process easier and of higher quality.
Need help sorting out the details of the revised standard, or have an SPCC Plan that needs amending or is due for a 5-year review? Contact Service@scsengineers.com, and we will help you stay on top of your SPCC needs with offices nationwide.