Stoel Rives attorney Geoff Tichenor was quoted in Law360 in an article titled “5 RCRA Cases To Watch.” The article summarizes five high-profile legal battles involving the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
An environmental group is seeking to compel the EPA to respond to a rule-making petition to amend the RCRA hazardous waste listing regarding the criteria for alkaline corrosivity so it more closely matches the standard set by the United Nations’ World Health Organization. The change would require materials exceeding this standard to be handled as hazardous wastes requiring proper handling, transport and disposal to prevent exposures to the public.
Tichenor said the change could mean a whole set of alkaline materials currently treated as nonhazardous, such as ammonia, would need to be handled as hazardous waste.
"That could fundamentally change the manner in which industry relates to RCRA," he said. “It could change not only the manner in which industry that's currently regulated under RCRA has to manage things, because they're going to have to do more, but it also could drag in others that aren't typically even small or large quantity generators.”
Other cases discussed include:
- The finalization by the EPA of a rule restoring hazardous waste restrictions removed during the George W. Bush presidency.
- The recent ruling by an Ohio federal judge that DuPont Co. polluted a nonprofit water supplier’s wells because air emissions related to its production of Teflon that later settled on the soil and contaminated groundwater can be considered solid waste.
- A request by the Ecological Rights Foundation to the Ninth Circuit to overturn a district court decision dismissing its claims that PG&E's treated wood waste and utility poles held at storage facilities contaminate sediments and storm water that discharge to San Francisco Bay and Humboldt Bay.
- The decision by the EPA to regulate coal combustion residuals as solid waste rather than more strictly controlled hazardous waste.
Read “5 RCRA Cases to Watch,” published July 24, 2015. (Subscription required.)