Industry Attacks EPA for Retroactive RFS Rule

Date: August 13, 2010

Source: News Room

The petroleum industry is balking at the US EPA's attempt to mandate a renewable fuel standard (RFS) for biomass-based diesel for 2009 and 2010, arguing that it is illegal for the agency to make retroactive requirements for a period before the rule was finalized. EPA has outlined its legal defense of the RFS rule's application in an Aug. 9 brief in the lawsuit, National Petrochemical and Refiners Association v. EPA, which was filed March 24. The American Petroleum Institute filed a similar suit, and the cases have been consolidated.

Under the 2007 Energy Independence & Security Act, EPA was required to promulgate rules to implement the RFS by 2008 and establish the volumes of renewable fuels it would require in 2009. But EPA missed those two deadlines and instead issued its RFS proposal in May 2009 and did not issue its final rule, including volume mandates, until March this year. Since it was late, EPA combined the years 2009 and 2010 to which it applied its biomass-based diesel volume requirements for refiners. In its brief, EPA argues that the energy law required them to fulfill the mandates for each year and gave them discretion to combine years. According to the EPA brief, "EPA is not asking the Court to 'presume' that EPA has authority to require obligated parties to sell or introduce into commerce the 2009 applicable volume of biomass-based diesel. Congress gave EPA that authority." EPA also argues that its RFS approach is reasonable because it provided industry with flexibility in meeting the standard. The biofuel groups Growth Energy and the National Biodiesel Board have intervened on EPA's behalf. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Sept. 17.

PRESS RELEASE

August 16, 2010

NSWMA Comments on Proposed EPA and OSHA Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. Institutes of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) recently submitted comments regarding proposed rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). NSWMA's Landfill Institute offered comments on EPA's proposed rule regarding amendments to the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases, and NSWMA's Healthcare Waste Institute recently submitted comments regarding OSHA's blood-borne pathogens standard.

With the comments regarding greenhouse gas reporting, the Landfill Institute argued that the proposed rules substantially change the requirements for municipal solid waste landfills, imposing substantial new data collection requirements mid-reporting year. NSWMA's Landfill Institute believes that EPA should not retroactively impose these requirements for reports that are to be submitted in 2010 and, in some cases, provide an opportunity for formal public comment. Proposed rule changes include amendments to the definition for construction and demolition landfills; how landfills measure waste quantities; and the methodology, decay rates and values of degradable organic carbon used to estimate greenhouse gas emissions.

Regarding these changes, NSWMA President and CEO Bruce J. Parker stated, "While some of EPA's changes appear to provide a more reasoned approach to account for the amount of water that might infiltrate into a landfill, other changes impose substantial new data collection requirements mid-reporting year without the benefit of adequate public comment."

In the comments regarding the bloodborne pathogens standard, NSWMA's Healthcare Waste Institute stated that the current standard is a necessary part of protecting healthcare workers and should be updated to consider changes in health settings such as medical treatment in non-traditional facilities.

In support of the current regulations, Parker stated, "The current standard ensures a level playing field for companies that should provide health and safety protection for their employees. Without a federal standard, it is less likely that healthcare facilities will be willing to pay for worker protections against bloodborne risks or that they will be willing to cover the costs associated with reducing risks for waste management services."

About NSWMA, the Landfill Institute, and the Healthcare Waste Institute

NSWMA a sub-association of the Environmental Industry Associations represents for-profit companies in North America that provide solid, hazardous and medical waste collection, recycling and disposal services, and companies that provide professional and consulting services to the waste services industry. NSWMA members conduct business in all 50 states.

The Landfill Institute is a policy-making group within NSWMA. Members are owners and operators of landfills and consultants, engineers, and attorneys providing services to landfills.

The Healthcare Waste Institute is a policy-making group within NSWMA serving the interests of entities engaged in the management of health care waste, such as sharps and potentially infectious materials. Members include waste disposal and treatment facilities, collection companies, manufacturers of equipment and products used for managing infectious waste, infection control consultants, and compliance experts.

For more information, contact:
Thom Metzger, 202-506-0511

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin