Proposed Rule: Internet Posting of and Confidentiality Determinations for Hazardous Waste Export and Import Documents
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EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, signed the Internet Posting of and Confidentiality Determinations for Hazardous Waste Export and Import documents proposed rule on October 28, 2016 and it was published in the Federal Register (FR) on November 28, 2016.
With this rule, EPA is proposing to amend regulations regarding the export and import of hazardous wastes from and into the United States. The proposed changes, if finalized, will require exporters of hazardous waste and facilities who receive hazardous waste from foreign sources to maintain a single publicly accessible website (“Export/Import Website”). On this website, affected exporters and receiving facilities will be required to post confirmations of receipt, and confirmations of completed recovery or disposal of individual hazardous waste import and export shipments. EPA is also proposing to exclude certain hazardous waste import and export documents from Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims.
The rule proposes:
- Increased transparency and public access to information on the movement and destination of hazardous waste exports and imports;
- Improved monitoring of the management of hazardous waste import and export shipments; and
- Exclusion of certain hazardous waste export and import documents from CBI claims.
Commenting on the Proposed Rule
Comments on this proposal will be accepted for 60 days following publication of this rule in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted by going to Regulations.gov, searching for Docket No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2016-0492 and following the online instructions.
The shipment of hazardous waste in and out of the United States for recovery or disposal represents about one per cent of all U.S. hazardous waste movements. Wastes are shipped for a number of reasons, including geographic proximity of treatment, storage, or disposal facilities, economies of scale, and international market demand for recovered materials.
EPA has established and administers an extensive set of regulations, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), governing the shipment of hazardous waste within the United States. This rule seeks to improve protection of public health with respect to hazardous wastes entering or leaving the United States by ensuring public accessibility and transparency of export and import documentation.
EPA’s proposal to require web posting of confirmations of receipt and confirmations of recovery or disposal is related to the new RCRA hazardous waste export and import requirements issued under the Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions final rule. Under the final rule, EPA is requiring electronic reporting to EPA of documents related to hazardous waste export and import shipments. Because EPA’s Waste Import Export Tracking System (WIETS) is not ready to receive all the electronic submittals of such documents, EPA is proposing web posting of four of the documents until the completion of electronic submission capability in the WIETS system. The four documents are the export and import confirmations of receipt and the export and import confirmations of recovery or disposal.
EPA’s determination that improvements in the tracking of international hazardous waste shipments are needed is further bolstered by the concerns and recommendations in both the 2013 Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) report on export and recycling of spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs) within North America and the 2015 EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on hazardous waste imports. To address some of the recommendations made by these organizations, EPA is proposing this rule in concert with the changes to the RCRA hazardous waste regulations under the Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions Final Rule.