EPCRA

EPA Denies Petition to Remove EGBE from TRI Chemical List

EPA has denied a petition to remove ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE) from the category Certain Glycol Ethers under the list of chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990. EPA reviewed the available data EGBE and determined that EGBE does not meet the deletion criterion of EPCRA section 313(d)(3). Specifically, EPA denied the petition because EPA’s review of the petition and available information resulted in the conclusion that EGBE meets the listing criterion of EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(B) due to its potential to cause serious or irreversible chronic health effects in humans, specifically, liver toxicity and concerns for hematological effects. EPA denied the petition on September 24, 2015.

 

Section 313 of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. 11023, requires certain facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use listed toxic chemicals in amounts above reporting threshold levels to report their environmental releases and other waste management quantities of such chemicals annually. These facilities must also report pollution prevention and recycling data for such chemicals, pursuant to section 6607 of the PPA, 42 U.S.C. 13106. Congress established an initial list of toxic chemicals that comprised more than 300 chemicals and 20 chemical categories. EPCRA section 313(d) authorizes EPA to add or delete chemicals from the list and sets criteria for these actions. EPCRA section 313(d)(2) states that EPA may add a chemical to the list if any of the listing criteria in Section 313(d)(2) are met. Therefore, to add a chemical, EPA must demonstrate that at least one criterion is met, but need not determine whether any other criterion is met. EPCRA section 313(d)(3) states that a chemical may be deleted if the Administrator determines there is not sufficient evidence to establish any of the criteria described in EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(A)-(C).

 

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EPA to Offer Streamlined System for Self-disclosure and Penalty Mitigation

This fall, EPA will unveil eDisclosure, a web-based system to more efficiently receive and process compliance violations self-disclosed under its 2000 Audit Policy and Small Business Compliance Policy.

These policies offer penalty mitigation and other incentives for companies that discover, promptly disclose, and quickly correct environmental compliance violations and take steps to prevent future violations. While the new system will make reporting easier and speed the resolution process, the requirements of the audit policies will remain unchanged.

In general, to take advantage of the penalty mitigation under the audit policy, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Systematic Discovery (discovery of the violations through an environmental compliance audit or through an environmental management system review) – required for 100% penalty mitigation, otherwise only 75% mitigation
  2. Voluntary Discovery
  3. Prompt Disclosure – within 21 days of discovery
  4. Discovery, Disclosure Independent of Government/Third Party Plaintiff
  5. Correction and Remediation – within 60 days after discovery unless written agreement/order
  6. Prevent Recurrence
  7. No Repeat Violations – can’t have same or closely related violation at same facility within past 3 years
  8. Other Violations Excluded (serious actual harm, imminent and substantial endangerment)
  9. Cooperation

The portal will accept new disclosures involving almost all types of civil violations. Pre-existing unresolved EPCRA disclosures can be resubmitted through the eDisclosure system within 90 days after launch of the portal, but preexisting disclosures that are subject to audit agreements will be resolved outside the eDisclosure system through a Notice of Determination (NOD), Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO), or Consent Decree (CD).

To use the eDisclosure portal, reporters must: (1) register with the system; (2) promptly disclose their violations online within 21 days of discovery; and (3) submit an online Compliance Report certifying that any noncompliance was timely corrected. The Compliance Report is usually due within 60 days of submitting an initial online Audit Policy disclosure (or within 90 days for Small Business Compliance Policy disclosures), but limited reporting deadline extensions will be available in certain circumstances.

Compliance violation disclosures resolved through the portal will be resolved either as a “Tier 1” or “Tier 2” disclosure.

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5 Environmental Programs that Apply to You: EPCRA

One of the toughest tasks in a compliance audit is telling a well-intentioned client that the environmental program that he has been ignoring does, in fact, apply to his operation. In most instances, it’s not a matter of being unaware of the regulation but instead incorrectly determining that the requirement doesn’t apply. This can result from several sources of false confidence:

  • A program may not be an exact fit.

An emergency response program would seem on the surface not to apply to a facility that doesn’t house any hazardous materials or dispose of hazardous waste.

  • A program may not have been intended for them.

An oil spill prevention program would seem not to apply to a facility that does not store oil.

  • A facility may have had successful agency compliance inspections.

The inspector may have been conducting a media-specific inspection and may not have looked at issues outside that specific medium. Or, as inspectors or human, he may have just missed it—this time.

In this first article of a five part series, we will briefly touch on the requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPCRA was passed by Congress in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These requirements covered emergency planning and “Community Right-to-Know” reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals.

Very few facilities have no reporting requirements under EPCRA.

Among the most common EPCRA requirements:

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