CCRs Dodge a Hazardous Waste Bullet: EPA Regulates under RCRA Subtitle D

On Friday, EPA finally released its final rule regulating coal combustion residuals.  Facility owners breathed a sigh of relief, as EPA chose to regulate under Subtitle D of RCRA, rather than under the cradle-to-grave provisions of Subtitle C.  Given the extensive beneficial reuse of CCRs, EPA clearly made the right call.

The rule is obviously lengthy.  EPA provided a Fact Sheet to summarize the rule, but those who want the quick summary should review the Executive Summary in the rule itself, which has a helpful table summarizing the different requirements of the rule, and which apply to existing landfills or surface impoundments, and which apply only to new landfills and surface impoundments and lateral expansions of existing landfills and surface impoundments.

I’m not even going to try to summarize the requirements here, but I will provide a reminder that the rule is not enforceable by EPA.  It is subject to EPA’s citizen suit authority.  EPA has also strongly encouraged states to implement the criteria in the rule through amendments to their Solid Waste Management Plans.

I do feel compelled to note that EPA projects that the net present value of the cost of the rule substantially exceed its benefits (costs of $23 billion, benefits of less than $9 billion).  I thought it was supposed to work the other way around.

Finally, because, to those of us of a certain generation, CCR will always have a totally different meaning than that provided by EPA, I leave you with the following:

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