As we discussed earlier, environmental activists have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to update its oil and gas drilling waste disposal rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). The groups sought to force the EPA’s hand by suing the EPA in an attempt to get a court order requiring the EPA to update its regulations.
Under RCRA, non-hazardous solid waste, which includes oil and gas production waste, is governed by Subtitle D. Subtitle D focuses on state and local governments as the primary regulating entities for the management of non-hazardous solid waste. It establishes minimum federal technical standards and guidelines for state solid waste regulations. The EPA is required to review and approve state Subtitle D waste disposal programs to ensure that they meet the minimum standards.
Section 2002(b) of RCRA requires the EPA to review and, if necessary, revise at least once every three years the Subtitle D regulations. The activists have asked the EPA to revise its Subtitle D regulations and set clear requirements to govern the storage and disposal of oil and gas waste amid a “patchwork of [state] requirements with varying protections.” Continue Reading