Monday, January 11, 2010

Rules for Financial Assurance for Chemical, Petroleum, Electric Industries

EPA has announced its intent to complete rulemaking in an effort to help reduce the need for federal taxpayers to fund the cleanup of environmental releases. The agency has identified three additional industry sectors for which it will begin the regulatory development process for any necessary financial assurance requirements:

  • Chemical manufacturing industry;
  • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry, and
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry.
Financial assurance requirements help ensure that owners and operators of facilities are able to pay for cleanup of environmental releases and reduce the number of sites that need to be cleaned up by federal taxpayers through the Superfund program.

The identification of these industry sectors is part of EPA’s effort under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to examine if financial assurance requirements will help promote better environmental outcomes. The action announced recently is not a proposed rule or a final regulation. However, EPA will begin the regulatory process for developing appropriate financial assurance requirements for the sectors identified above.

In addition, EPA has identified the following additional classes of facilities that require further study in order for the agency to decide whether to develop proposed regulations:
  • Waste management and remediation services,
  • Wood product manufacturing,
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing,
  • Electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing, and
  • Facilities engaged in the recycling of materials containing CERCLA hazardous substances.
Finally, EPA plans to propose any appropriate financial responsibility rules by Spring of 2011 for classes of facilities within the hard-rock mining industry.

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