Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

EPA Revises Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements – Part 2 (Separate Summaries For Generator Categories)

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Feb 21, 2017

In November, EPA published substantial regulatory revisions (which EPA entitles collectively as the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule). The revisions are scheduled to become effective on May 30, 2017. In Part 1 of this pair of blogs (click here), I summarized the principal revisions. In this Part 2 I re-compile the changes applicable to different categories of generators:

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom

EPA Revises Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements – Part 1

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Feb 16, 2017

In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published substantial revisions to its hazardous waste regulations, which it entitles the “Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (HWGIR).” These include more than 60 changes to specific requirements, plus dozens of technical clarifications and corrections. Some requirements apply to nearly all generators, while others are targeted at one or more of three volume-based tiers. EPA has scheduled the revisions to take effect on May 30, 2017 – but it’s possible that some provisions will be reviewed and revised by the incoming Trump Administration before that date.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EHS, EPA, Hazcom

U.S. EPA Regulatory Outlook: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Larry Cahill on Tue, Feb 14, 2017

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.”
Stewart Udall, 37th U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1961-1969)

With the inauguration of a new U.S. President and the changing of the guard in the Executive Branch of the government, there has been considerable discussion and concerns expressed about new directions that might be taken by the incoming administration. One area of heightened interest has been regulatory reform. This article discusses what regulatory reform might mean to one particular government agency – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To put things in perspective, first the history of environmental laws and regulations is discussed briefly. This is followed by an analysis of the historical growth of environmental regulations and how a January 30th Presidential Executive Order and certain other initiatives might impact that growth. And finally, a word of caution about gutting environmental regulations, lest we forget the Agency’s legislated responsibilities and substantial accomplishments in protecting human health and the environment.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA

OSHA Revises Walking, Climbing and Fall Protection Standards – Part 2 (Protective Systems and Training)

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jan 31, 2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued massive revisions to its regulations requiring most employers (“General Industry”, in OSHA parlance), to protect employees from slip and fall hazards in most workplace contexts, including:

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Tags: Employer Best Practices, Health & Safety, OSHA, Employee Rights, Environmental risks

U.S. Environmental Regulatory Trends at the Close of the Obama Administration

Posted by Larry Cahill on Thu, Jan 19, 2017


“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

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Tags: Business & Legal, Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA

What Might We Expect From Trump’s EPA?

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jan 16, 2017

Since last November’s election, reporters, pundits and rumor-mongers have all worked overtime trying to predict President-elect Trump’s actions. I’ve resisted joining that chorus. Environmental issues received only a tiny portion of candidate Trump’s rhetorical attention (I presented a compilation before the election here), and he had said and done little about these issues since the election.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA

EPA Adds Subsurface Intrusion to the Superfund Hazard Ranking System

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

On December 7, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) it uses to compare site contamination and to designate the most hazardous sites for the National Priority List (NPL) for cleanup. This revision adds “subsurface intrusion” – i.e., intrusion of hazardous liquids such as contaminated groundwater and/or vapors from subsurface chemical contamination into structures – to the potential pathways to public harm evaluated by HRS when evaluating contaminated sites. This represents the first additional pathway added in nearly three decades. The revisions will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, presumably during the first quarter of 2017.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom

The US Green Building Council’s New LEED v4 Rating System

Posted by Rebecca Luman on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

The US Green Building Council (USGBC), founded in 1993, is a consensus-based nonprofit organization with more than 12,000 national members representing the entire building industry. USGBC plays an important role in providing leadership and integration for the building industry in driving sustainable building.

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Tags: Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EHS, RCRA

EPA Proposes First Major Reviews of Existing Chemicals Under the 2016 Amendments to TSCA

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Dec 13, 2016

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976 to develop adequate data regarding the effects of chemical substances and mixtures on human health and the environment, and to prevent unduly hazardous chemicals from entering commercial use. Over the next 40 years the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focused on addressing new chemical substances, and made minimal progress on updating information about the 62,000 chemicals already in commerce when TSCA was enacted, to discern whether those chemicals posed unacceptable hazards. (I summarized basic provisions here). As the exception proving that rule, EPA conducted a decade-long review of asbestos before determining it should be banned, only to have the decision overturned by a federal court finding that the agency hadn’t incorporated adequate cost-benefit analyses.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom, tsca

EPA Revises Hazardous Waste Import-Export Requirements

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Nov 29, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers rules governing the import and export of hazardous waste regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These rules ensure that the U.S. meets its international responsibilities as a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by creating national rules that meet agreed-upon OECD standards.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Greenhouse Gas, ghg, Hazcom