The Hazardous Waste and Solid Waste Subcommittees of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) appreciate your invitation to provide input on the “RCRA Messaging” initiative. In this letter, we offer our perspectives on this initiative and the value of the RCRA Subtitle C and D programs as well as additional State and Territorial (State) programs and their continuing accomplishments. At their heart, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and equivalent State programs are pollution prevention and resource conservation programs. This is truer now than when RCRA first became law, as evidenced by substantial reductions in the amount of hazardous waste generated across the nation and shifts towards use of less-toxic, more environmentally friendly materials in manufacturing and production operations. We believe this fundamental shift in thinking was brought about by RCRA and its implementing regulations.
The Hazardous Waste Recycling and Program Information Management Task Forces (Task Forces) of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) Hazardous Waste Subcommittee, have reviewed the July 22, 2011 Proposed Rule concerning potential revisions to the definition of solid waste (DSW) at 76 FR 44094. The Task Forces’ comments are enclosed.
The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) Hazardous Waste Subcommittee respectfully requests a 60-day extension of the comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) supplemental proposal to revise the definition of solid waste (DSW) rule. The current 60-day comment period is insufficient to allow full analysis and debate among State waste managers, and so we are formally requesting an extension. The extended comment period would end November 29, 2011. EPA has committed to publishing a final rule by December 31, 2012. Therefore, granting a 60-day extension will still allow EPA plenty of time to review comments and publish a final rule.
In January 2007, the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) Board of Directors released the State RCRA Subtitle C Core Hazardous Waste Management Program Implementation Costs Final Report (2007 Core Report), which examined the “nature and costs of implementing a complete and adequate [RCRA Subtitle C] Program.” The Core Report is currently posted on-line <a href=”http://astswmo.org/Files/Policies_and_Publications/Hazardous_Waste/Final%20Report%20-
%20RCRA%20Subtitle%20C%20Core%20Project.pdf” target=”_blank”>here</a>. The 2007 Core Report concluded that there is a significant gap between current federal funding levels and the actual costs associated with administering adequate state hazardous waste (RCRA-equivalent) programs.
The Performance Systems Task Force of the Hazardous Waste Subcommittee of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) has engaged in activities to coordinate States’ efforts in identifying opportunities for facility specific flexibility under the RCRA program to be implemented by States that is designed to result in more protective, yet enforceable, environmental management and outcomes. As such, the Task Force has concluded that there exists to “one size fits all” performance system that would satisfy the goal of needed flexibility among the different State programs.