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February 5, 2017

EPA Updates RCRA Public Participation Manual and Other Recent EPA Developments

The ACTA Group

EPA Updates RCRA Public Participation Manual: For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Public Participation Manual. The revised document, issued by EPA in January 2017, replaces the 1996 version. EPA has updated the document to reflect current regulations, policies, and practices. It also presents new information about technical assistance, environmental justice, social media, and other topics. In addition, the revised document focuses more attention on public involvement during permit modifications, as permit maintenance and modifications currently account for most RCRA permitting activities.

House Bill Would Exempt Nutrient Management Practices From RCRA: Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on February 3, 2017, introduced legislation that would exempt certain nutrient management activities from RCRA regulation. The Farm Regulatory Certainty Act (H.R. 848) “reaffirms and clarifies Congress’ intent regarding the inappropriateness of subjecting agricultural operation nutrient management activities under . . . RCRA.” The bill would also codify EPA’s regulations regarding the treatment of agricultural operation nutrients under RCRA. Newhouse introduced the legislation in response to a 2015 ruling by a federal judge in Washington deciding that nitrates found in groundwater — commonly a byproduct of manure and fertilizers — were a “solid waste” under RCRA and that high water nitrate levels constituted “open dumping.”