Category Archives: CERCLA/RCRA

EPA Releases CERCLA Financial Assurance Rule

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EPA has released its long-awaited proposed CERCLA financial assurance regulations for the hardrock mining industry.  When finalized, these regulations will serve as a model for financial assurance regulations for other industries. Also on December 1, EPA provided notice that its next target industries -  petroleum and coal products manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.  These developments have major implications for a multitude of companies—both in these industries and in industries that could be future targets. Here are some [...]Read more

EPA Commits to Hazardous Waste Retail Strategy, Policy Expected to Address Point of Generation Issues

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On September 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under RCRA’s Regulatory Framework.  As part of this strategy, EPA will finalize the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule this fall, and is working to finalize the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, but appears to need additional time to do so.  While EPA states that it is focusing efforts on these rulemakings, it will also issue a Policy on Reverse Distribution and RCRA. EPA recognizes that [...]Read more

County-Level Pharmaceutical Take-Back Programs May Be Spreading in California and Illinois

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Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest County, has proposed a pharmaceutical take-back ordinance that would require businesses to finance a local government program for disposal of unwanted medications and potentially hazardous medical products like needles and syringes. Under the draft ordinance, termed the “Los Angeles County Pharmaceuticals and Sharps Collection and Disposal Stewardship Ordinance,” certain manufacturers, producers, or distributors of covered medications and supplies would be responsible for designing, implementing and financing the collection program. At its March 22, [...]Read more

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed RCRA Rules

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EPA announced this morning that it extended the comment period for both the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Proposed Rule and the Hazardous Waste Generators Improvements Proposed Rule until December 24, 2015, according to the pre-publication notices here and here.  All healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical reverse distributors and other hazardous waste generators should read the proposed rules, and each should analyze the impacts it will have on its operations and waste management practices.  The proposed rules have broad-reaching implications, and generators should provide [...]Read more

The Floodgates Are Open for EPR Laws

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Last week, the United States Supreme Court denied industry’s petition for certiorari in Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), et al. v. County of Alameda. The petitioners contended that Alameda’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance violated the dormant commerce clause by requiring pharmaceutical companies to finance a drug take-back program. The impact of the Court’s denial—which lets stand a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding the ordinance—will be widespread, both for the pharmaceutical industry, and more broadly, for extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws and ordinances [...]Read more

RCRA Regulation of Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals –Proposed Rule Forthcoming this Summer

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On March 19, 2015, EPA sent its proposed rule, “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals,” to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review.  This review may take up to 90 days (barring a one-time 30-day extension).  Unless OMB returns the rule to EPA for reconsideration, we expect the proposed rule to be released this summer.  This rule will have major implications for the pharmaceutical reverse distribution industry and the management of non-dispensable pharmaceuticals at health care facilities. The fall 2014 Unified Agenda states that [...]Read more

EPA’s Forthcoming RCRA Regulations May Threaten Reverse Distribution of Pharmaceutical Waste

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In February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) seeking information on ways to more effectively regulate hazardous waste—including pharmaceuticals—in the retail sector under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The healthcare industry has already submitted comments expressing concern that EPA may modify the “reverse distribution” system currently in place for disposal of outdated or unsold pharmaceuticals. Under the reverse distribution system, retailers send expired and unsold pharmaceuticals to a central [...]Read more

Judge Imposes Lower Penalty Based on Supreme Court Opinion in Southern Union Hazardous Waste Case

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On November 5, a Rhode Island Federal District Court judge issued a new and lower criminal penalty of $500,000 against Southern Union Company (Southern Union) after the Supreme Court struck down the original $18 penalty. The case presented a significant Sixth Amendment issue regarding the right of a defendant to have a jury, not a judge, determine any fine penalty above a statutes maximum. The case dates back to 2002 when a subsidiary of Southern Union was alleged to have stored spent mercury waste over a 762 day period at an inactive facility in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The illegal storage was [...]Read more