Stoel Rives attorneys Michael Mills and Eric Skanchy authored an article in Law360 titled “Rankling The EPA On RCRA Solid Waste Rules May Work.” The article discusses the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and efforts, including the threat of a lawsuit, taken by a coalition of environmental groups to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency update its regulations under that act to govern the disposal of waste from oil and gas exploration and production (“E&P waste”).
The RCRA contains provisions governing both hazardous and all other solid waste, the latter of which it places the responsibility for managing with state and local governments. The RCRA contains an exemption for E&P waste from definition as a hazardous waste but does not preclude these wastes from being regulated as nonhazardous, although to date the EPA has made little progress in revising the RCRA to include requirements appropriate for the disposal of oil and gas wastes.
The coalition has requested the EPA to update the RCRA solid waste rules for oil and gas within 60 days and will file a lawsuit asking the court to set a deadline if the EPA hasn’t acted. Mills and Skanchy note that “[a] similar lawsuit from activists in 2012 resulted in a court-ordered deadline for the EPA to review its RCRA regulations relating to coal ash disposal. In that case the court noted that it ‘cannot dictate to the agency the outcome of its review and revision, but only that it must undertake a review and revision in accordance with its nondiscretionary duty to do so.’”
Read “Rankling The EPA On RCRA Solid Waste Rules May Work,” published September 11, 2015. (Subscription required.)