WASHINGTON (CN) – Fuel refineries must now follow hazardous waste requirements when they combine non-fossil fuels with fossil fuels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced that has implemented a June order by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which vacated exclusions to the EPA’s “comparable fuels rule” and gasification rule under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
“Comparable fuels” are roughly defined as fuels that are as dangerous as the fossil-fuels with which they are being combined. The comparable fuels exception, issued by the EPA in 1998, meant certain fuels that previously would have been considered hazardous waste were treated as “non-waste,” since, the EPA said, it is not being disposed of, but instead is being used in a product.
Besides the hazardous constituents being comparably dangerous, the EPA said the fuels, produced as secondary to the refining process, were equivalent in “physical properties that affect fuel burning efficiency, such as viscosity and heating value,” and would “pose no greater risk than commercial fuels when burned.”
New regulation revisions also require that, before the secondary materials are burned in a process called “gasification,” they must be treated as hazardous waste under the regulations for hazardous waste combustors.
The EPA says that it did not notify the public of the rule change, or take public comment, because the change “merely carries out the court’s order.”
The rule was effective April 8.
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