Environmental Protection

Obama has ordered EPA and other agencies to clean up burdensome regulations.

Sweeping Out Rule Debris

It's not quite spring but EPA is already cleaning house ─ whether it wants to or not. President Obama has ordered agencies to develop a regulation review process to determine viability and ultimately discard the rules that are burdensome. In addition, the agency is facing budget cuts for 2012 that may be significant if the Republican-heavy House of Representatives gets its way.

To find out what you think about all this, Environmental Protection collected comments and posted a poll about what programs should be supported.

A site visitor named Paul suggested EPA get rid of the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule because it is "a burden" and "outdated." (This rule required contractors to get certified by April 2010.)

John Spang, a chemist with more than 20 years of experience, was more specific still: "I find the EPA's [ toxicity characteristic leaching procedure, TCLP] to make a hazardous waste determination to be based on a landfill reality that does not exist. Lead-containing wastes such as CRT tubes unjustly are designated characteristically hazardous because unlimed materials always require unbuffered acetic acid leaching solution No. 1. Pollution control dusts and incinerator ashes are limed so as to force the selection of solution No. 2 ,which is a buffered acetic acid leach. Consequently, these wastes always fall below the leachable haz limit for lead and the other metals. It would be more realistic and fair to allow the use of the [synthetic precipitation leaching procedure], Method 1312, to determine which wastes are hazardous and concomitantly, the list of metals and organics could be expanded to include those items currently not TCLP target analytes."

Disappointed in Texas wrote that the agency's "fixation on the bureaucratic minutiae and administrivia diverts scarce resources in the field away from the tasks required to solve real pollution problems. In my 38 years of dealing with them, I've never gotten a violation for a real pollution problem, but I've had numerous squabbles with them over reporting issues ─ dates, signatures, formats, color of ink, etc. They need to apply some common sense to their enforcement activities. A missing date on a report is simply not as important as a hex-chrome dump, yet they treat them almost the same. They need more technical people and far fewer attorneys working the issues."

An anonymous contributor wrote: "I feel it's high time EVERY government agency (Fed, state & local) be looked at very carefully with an eye for streamlining, staffing cuts, regulatory needs, budget cuts, etc. Government controls, taxes, and fines just to keep these agencies in business have grown so far out of control and burdensome as to be ridiculous. I applaud the EPA's desire to step up and conduct this level of review."

Those of you who contributed to the poll that was posted Monday found the drinking water program most worthy of support (43 percent), then grants and water quality (16 percent each), air pollution (10 percent), wastewater (6 percent), and hazardous waste and research (3 percent each).

If you would like to continue the discussion, visit Which EPA Rules Are Outmoded? or send e-mail to lwilliams@1105media.com.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:43 PM


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