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EPA/OLEM RIN: 2050-AH07 Publication ID: Fall 2020 
Title: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities; Federal CCR Permit Program 
Abstract:

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act established a new coal combustion residual (CCR) regulatory structure under which states may seek approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to operate a permitting program that would regulate CCR facilities within their state; if approved, the state program would operate in lieu of the federal requirements. The WIIN Act requires that such state programs must ensure that facilities comply with either the federal regulations or with state requirements that EPA has determined are "at least as protective as" the federal regulations. Furthermore, the WIIN Act established a requirement for EPA to establish a federal permit program for the disposal of CCR in Indian Country and in "nonparticipating" states, contingent upon Congressional appropriations. In March 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141) and March 2019 (Pub. L. 116-6), Congress appropriated funding for federal CCR permitting. The rule, if finalized, will establish a new federal permitting program for disposal of CCR. The potentially regulated universe is limited to facilities with CCR disposal units subject to regulation under 40 CFR part 257 subpart D, which are located on tribal lands and in nonparticipating states. Remaining CCR facilities will be regulated by an approved state program and will not be subject to Federal permitting requirements.

 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 124    40 CFR 257    40 CFR 22   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6945   
Legal Deadline:  None

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. The court vacated three provisions from the 2015 CCR final rule and remanded the 12,400 threshold in the beneficial use definition and the requirements for managing piles of CCR. This proposal addresses one of the three provisions in the USWAG decision; that is inactive units at inactive facilities. In addition, EPA issued the Phase One, Part One final rule in July 2018. In this rulemaking, EPA extended the deadline for unlined units with an appendix IV groundwater protection standard (GWPS) exceedance and for units 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 2020. This provision was challenged, and petitioners requested an expedited review. On March 13, 2019, the Waterkeeper Alliance Inc, et al v. EPA opinion granted EPA a voluntary remand on the October 2020 deadline. Finally, in December 2016, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act established new statutory provisions applicable to CCR units, including authorizing States to implement the CCR rule through an EPA-approved permit program and authorizing EPA to enforce the rule. The WIIN Act also required EPA to implement a federal permitting program in Indian country, and in nonparticipating states, subject to the availability of appropriations to do so. In light of this legislation, EPA is developing a federal permit program in Indian country and nonparticipating states for CCR units in this proposed rule.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

This action addresses the WIIN Act that directs EPA to develop a federal CCR permitting program.

Alternatives:

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

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

EPA estimated the costs associated with this action in an Economic Analysis (EA) which is available in the docket for the proposal. The EA estimated that the net annualized impact of this proposed rule over a 20-year period of analysis will be annual costs of between $0.09 million and $0.85 million.

Risks:

As 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  02/20/2020  85 FR 9940   
Final Rule  05/00/2021 
Additional Information: Docket #:EPA-HQ-OLEM-2019-0361
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: https://www.epa.gov/coalash   Public Comment URL: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OLEM-2019-0361  
Sectors Affected: 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Stacey Yonce
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 5104A,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:703 308-8476
Email: yonce.stacey@epa.gov