House to Consider Environmental Regulatory Reform Legislation
This week, the House will consider H.R. 2279, the “Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act.” The legislation consolidates three bills that were favorably reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee last year dealing with the Solid Waste Disposal Act (the “SWDA”), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), and compliance issues between the federal government and state governments. Among other provisions, the legislation seeks to: (1) amend 42 U.S.C. § 6912(b), which requires the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to review regulations promulgated under the SWDA every three years, to instead permit the EPA to review regulations as necessary; (2) require the President to consult with state governments before initiating a removal action under CERCLA; and (3) amend CERCLA to require all federally owned facilities to comply with state hazardous substance regulations.
This Week’s Hearings
- Thursday, January 9: the House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing titled “The Obama Administration’s War on Coal: the Recent Report by the Office of the Inspector General.” That hearing will explore a report issued by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General that calls into question several actions taken by the Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement during the rulemaking process for the stream buffer rule.
- Friday, January 10: the House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing titled: “The Science Behind Discovery: Seismic Exploration and the Future of the Atlantic OCS.”
EPA Publishes Final Rule on Carbon Capture Storage and RCRA
On Friday, January 3, the EPA published a final regulation in the Federal Register governing hazardous waste management systems and conditional exclusion for carbon dioxide. The final rule will conditionally exclude hazardous carbon dioxide (CO2) streams from the definition of “hazardous waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) as long as the streams are captured from emission sources and stored in underground wells. The rule intends to provide regulatory relief under RCRA to entities that capture these streams of carbon because, in the agency’s view, captured and stored carbon streams do not pose a danger to human health and the environment. The final rule was originally released by the EPA in August of 2013.