Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Superfund & Brownfields News Release (HQ): EPA Identifies Three Industries for Financial Obligations in Cleanup of Environmental Releases

Latisha Petteway

Dec. 30, 2009

EPA Identifies Three Industries for Financial Obligations in Cleanup of Environmental Releases

Action is a first step to ensure owners of these facilities, not taxpayers, foot bill for the cleanup of environmental releases

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken a significant step in an effort to help reduce the need for federal taxpayers to fund the cleanup of environmental releases. The agency has identified three additional industry sectors for which it will begin the regulatory development process for any necessary financial assurance requirements: the chemical manufacturing industry; the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, which primarily includes refineries and not coal mines; and the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry. 

Financial assurance requirements help ensure that owners and operators of facilities are able to pay for cleanup of environmental releases and help reduce the number of sites that need to be cleaned up by federal taxpayers through the Superfund program. 

The identification of these industry sectors is part of EPA’s effort under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law, to examine if financial assurance requirements will help promote better environmental outcomes. The action announced today is not a proposed rule or a final regulation. 

EPA selected these particular industries based on a variety of information sources. These include the types of sites listed on the Superfund National Priorities List, which is intended to
guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation under the federal Superfund program, as well as data on hazardous waste generation from the National Biennial Report and data from the Toxics Release Inventory.

Last July, EPA issued a notice that identified the hard-rock mining industry as its priority for the initiation of the regulatory development process for financial responsibility requirements. EPA plans to propose any appropriate financial responsibility rules by spring of 2011 for classes of facilities within the hard-rock mining industry. For the sectors identified today, EPA also will begin the regulatory process for developing appropriate financial assurance requirements.

In addition, EPA has identified the following additional classes of facilities that require further study in order for the agency to decide whether to develop proposed regulations: waste management and remediation services, wood product manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing, electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing, and facilities engaged in the recycling of materials containing CERCLA hazardous substances.

EPA will be accepting public comment on this notice for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

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