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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Refineries Still Allowed to Burn Hazardous Waste

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Environmental Protection Agency will not reconsider its 2008 decision to allow hazardous wastes to be turned into gasified fuel for refineries, frustrating a bid by environmentalists to ban the burning of such wastes.

Earthjustice, on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, petitioned the EPA to reconsider its final rule removing hazardous wastes from the list of solid waste products regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The act placed strict regulations on the storage, transportation and disposal of petroleum infused waste products. The 2008 decision allowed hazardous waste to be burned in combustion facilities not outfitted with decontamination filters.

The petitioners objected that the regulations would allow the burning of refinery catalysts that might otherwise have been recycled, reducing the need to mine metals like vanadium.

The environmental groups also were concerned that, once removed from the hazardous waste stream, the waste products of the gasified materials would similarly escape regulation as hazardous materials.

The EPA said that the issues raised by the Earthjustice petition had already been dealt with either during the original rule making process or subsequent legal challenges.

The agency also rejected claims that its adoption of the regulations violated the Administrative Procedures Act because sufficient notice was not given to garner meaningful public input.

The petitioners said that the agency based its decision on previous regulatory actions that had expired. The EPA responded that it gave ample notice that it was basing its then proposed decision on past regulatory actions.

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