Significant environmental regulatory changes have been proposed or finalized over the last month, ranging from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) being incorporated across multiple programs. In addition, on Dec. 31, 2019, EPA notified toxic release inventory (TRI) reporting facilities that 160 PFAS chemicals were being added to the list of chemicals subject to TRI reporting as part of an update to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA). This update took effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and will apply to TRI reporting due on July 1, 2021.

For more details regarding NEPA, PFAS, universal waste aerosol cans, and the upcoming hazardous waste reporting deadline, read the articles below from our BLR source. We have also included a listing of upcoming deadlines, including comment periods for some proposed rules.

Substantial streamlining of NEPA proposed
The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed significant amendments to the NEPA regulations this month, indicating the changes would streamline environmental reviews. The proposed changes also narrow federal agencies’ EPA obligations and remove consideration of cumulative impact from environmental reviews. Public comments on the proposed rulemaking are due by March 10 and are expected to be significant.

Comprehensive PFAS bill passes House
Congress moved forward to amend five environmental statutes when the House passed the PFAS Action Act of 2019, pushing forward next steps that some House members indicated did not occur under EPA’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan. The bill would incorporate regulation of PFOA and PFOS in CERCLA, SDWA, TSCA, CAA, and EPCRA.

Aerosol cans enter universal waste program
Next month, hazardous waste aerosol cans will officially enter the national universal waste program, which the EPA believes will result in the diversion of large portions of these cans from landfilling to metal recycling. The final rule applies to both large and small quantity handlers of universal waste and includes management requirements for the puncture and drainage of aerosol cans prior to recycling.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya is Brown and Caldwell’s Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director

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