EPA’s “Anti-Environment” Regulation and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Issues

EPA has said that members of the public have to submit their comments on the proposed Anti-Environment regulation by August 16, 2018. This is not enough time to simply cogitate on and discuss the relevant issues much less properly research and  prepare scientific data on the  same. Nonetheless, we will  continue making comments that EPA may find helpful. The salient parts of our latest comment are below. (We omit quotation marks when quoting ourselves.).

EPA estimates that more than 35 million people, roughly 12 percent of the U.S. population, live within one mile of a RCRA Corrective Action site.2 The presence of hazardous constituents in contaminated soil, sediments, groundwater, surface water, and air at, or emanating from, RCRA Corrective Action sites can increase the risk of adverse health effects to ex­posed populations. This can be especially critical for minority and poor communities—as well as sensitive sub-populations such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly—who can be disproportionately af­fected. Dangers include acute health effects, such as poisoning and injuries from fire or explosions, and long-term effects, such as cancers, birth defects, and other chronic non-carcinogenic effects (e.g., damage to kidney, liver, nervous and endocrine systems). By reducing exposures to contaminants listed in Table 1, as well as hundreds of others, RCRA Corrective Action cleanups protect the health of local residents, site workers, and others. Corrective Action sites can, and often do, contain more than one contaminant. ” RCRA Corrective Action: Case Studies Report, April 2013, p. 1 (PDF copy attached [to submission to the EPA]).

In addition to helping humans, RCRA helps both surrounding communities and the environment. Id. at 2.

EPA adopted regulations to administer its duties under RCRA, see id. at p. 24 (Appendix A) . Under previous administrations, EPA used its regulations and powers flexibly to maximize its effectiveness. Id.

Unfortunately, EPA has much to do. See, e.g., id. Even when construction of all RCRA facilities is completed, clean up operations will continue. Id. at p. 25 (Appendix B).

A very scary problem with the EPA’s proposed “Anti-Environment” Regulation is that it will evicerate EPA’s ability to regulate under RCRA to protect the millions of Americans living near RCRA sites. Good public policy requires both EPA and our elected officials to carefully consider, and if appropriate, to rely on the available data and studies. The proposed regulation is nothing short of a brazen attempt to undercut the progress we Americans have made. Ignoring such good studies as proposed would endanger millions.

Additionally, EPA’s success and the success of the existing regulations in handling RCRA problems with current scientific studies (studies that EPA would be compelled to ignore under the proposed regulation) provides further evidence that NEPA requires EPA to prepare a thorough EIS before it adopts the proposed regulation. Adopting the regulation withjout an EIS would violate NEPA.

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