From Bush to Obama: Hazardous Waste

Last year, on October 30, 2008, the EPA revised the definition of “solid waste” to exclude certain recycled materials under RCRA. Under the rule, hazardous secondary materials, which are legitimately reclaimed, may be excluded from regulation as hazardous waste. Proponents claim the new rule makes it easier to recycle hazardous manufacturing byproducts. Environmental groups, however, are asking the Obama administration to overturn the change arguing it essentially deregulates 1.5 million tons of hazardous waste. The rule has not been changed, yet EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has stated the EPA will strive to accelerate the pace of cleanup at the hundreds of contaminated sites across the country. Moreover, the 2009 Stimulus package expressly appropriates $1.2 billion for EPA’s nationwide environmental cleanup programs, including Superfund, further indicating hazardous waste management and clean-up activities are moving forward.

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