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EPA/OLEM RIN: 2050-AH10 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities; A Holistic Approach to Closure Part A: Deadline to Initiate Closure 
Abstract:

On April 17, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated national minimum criteria for existing and new coal combustion residuals (CCR) landfills and existing and new CCR surface impoundments. On August 21, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, et al v. EPA. In July 2018, EPA amended pieces of the 2015 final rule. Environmental groups challenged that rule and on March 13, 2019, the DC District Court allowed a voluntary remand without vacatur. This rule will propose a new cease receipt of the October 2020 waste deadline and address some issues from the August 2018 court decision.

 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 257   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6906    42 U.S.C. 6907    42 U.S.C. 6912(a)    42 U.S.C. 6944    42 U.S.C. 6945(c)   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Judicial  Court expectation.  12/13/2019 

Statement of Need:

On April 17, 2015, EPA finalized national regulations to regulate the disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) as solid waste under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (2015 CCR final rule). The rule was challenged by several different parties, including a coalition of regulated entities and a coalition of public interest environmental organizations. On August 21, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its opinion in the case of Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, et al v. EPA, 901 F.3d 414 (DC Cir 2018).. The court vacated three provisions from the 2015 CCR final rule. This proposal addresses two of the three vacated provisions from the USWAG decision .

In this rulemaking, EPA extended the deadline for unlined impoundments with an Appendix IV groundwater protection standard (GWPS) exceedance and for impoundments that failed to meet the location standard criteria of being a minimum of five feet from the upper most aquifer. This deadline was extended until October 31, 2020. This provision was challenged, and petitioners requested an expedited review. On March 13, 2019, the court in Waterkeeper Alliance Inc, et al v. EPA granted EPA’s request for a voluntary remand to reconsider the July 2018 rule in light of the USWAG decision. This proposal presents the results of EPA’s reconsideration of the October 2020 deadline.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

This action addresses two of the three provisions of the 2015 CCR final rule vacated by the court in the USWAG v. EPA , 901 F.3d 414. Furthermore, this action presents EPA’s initial reconsideration of the October 2020 deadline in light of the USWAG decision following the DC Circuit’s remand of the July 2918 rule back to the Agency for further action. See Waterkeeper , No 18-1289.

Alternatives:

The Agency must provide public notice and opportunity for comment on these issues. Each of these issues is fairly narrow in scope and EPA have not identified any significant alternatives for analysis.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The EPA will provide estimates of costs and benefits resulting from this proposed rule once they are fully developed and have received Agency clearance.

Risks:

Compared with the risks to human health and the environment that were presented in the 2015 CCR final rule, the proposed amendments discussed in this action are not expected to impact the overall conclusions in the 2015 CCR final rule. As a result, the Agency believes these amendments, if finalized as proposed, would be protective of human health and the environment.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2019 
Additional Information: Docket #:EPA-HQ-OLEM-2019-0172
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: https://www.epa.gov/coalash  
Sectors Affected: 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Kirsten Hillyer
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
Mail Code 5304P, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:703 347-0369
Email: hillyer.kirsten@epa.gov