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EPA/OLEM RIN: 2050-AH18 Publication ID: Fall 2022 
Title: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of CCR; A Holistic Approach to Closure Part B: Implementation of 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. On October 15, 2018, the court issued its mandate, vacating certain provisions of the 2015 final rule. On March 3, 2020, the EPA proposed a number of revisions and flexibilities to the CCR regulations. In particular, the EPA proposed the following revisions: (1) Procedures to allow facilities to request approval to use an alternate liner for CCR surface impoundments; (2) Two co-proposed options to allow the use of CCR during unit closure; (3) An additional closure option for CCR units being closed by removal of CCR; and (4) Requirements for annual closure progress reports. The EPA has since taken final action on one of the four proposed issues. Specifically, on November 12, 2020, the EPA issued a final rule that would allow a limited number of facilities to demonstrate to the EPA that based on groundwater data and the design of a particular surface impoundment, the unit has and will continue to have no probability of adverse effects on human health and the environment. (This final rule was covered under RIN 2050-AH11. See "Additional Information" section.) The present rulemaking would consider taking final action on the remaining proposed issues. 
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 
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:  None

Statement of Need: On April 17, 2015, the 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 Rule). On March 3, 2020, the EPA proposed a number of revisions to the CCR regulations, the last in a set of four planned actions to implement the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, respond to petitions, address litigation and apply lessons learned to ensure smoother implementation of the regulations.

Summary of the Legal Basis: No statutory or judicial deadlines apply to this rule. This rule would be established under the authority of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1970, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HWSA) and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016.

Alternatives: The Agency provided public notice and opportunity for comment on these issues associated with the closure of CCR surface impoundments. Each of these issues is fairly narrow in scope and we have not identified any significant alternatives for analysis.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Costs and benefits of the March 3, 2020 proposed targeted changes were presented in the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) supporting the proposed rule. EPA estimated that the net effect of proposed revisions (excluding the one issue that EPA finalized on November 12, 2020) to be an annualized cost savings of between $37 million and $129 million when discounting at 7%. The RIA also qualitatively describes the potential effects of the proposal on two categories of benefits from the 2015 CCR Rule.

Risks: Key benefits of the 2015 CCR Rule included the prevention of future catastrophic failures of CCR surface impoundments, the protection of groundwater from contamination, the reduction of dust in communities near CCR disposal units and increases in the beneficial use of CCR. The average annual monetized benefits of the 2015 CCR Rule were estimated to be $232 million per year using a seven percent discount rate. For reasons discussed in the March 3, 2020 proposal, the EPA was unable to quantify or monetize the proposed rule’s incremental effect on human health and the environment using currently available data.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/03/2020  85 FR 12456   
Final Rule  08/00/2023 
Additional Information: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2019-0173 . The action is related to 2050-AH11: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of CCR; A Holistic Approach to Closure Part B: Alternate Demonstration for Unlined Surface Impoundments; Implementation of Closure. This action was split from 2050-AH11 after the March 3, 2020 NPRM (85 FR 12456) as two final rules would be developed based on the proposed rule. The November 12, 2020 final rule (85 FR 72506) mentioned in this abstract was covered under 2050-AH11.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
Sectors Affected: 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Mary Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 5304P,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:703 308-8453

Frank Behan
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
Mail Code 5304T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1730