Get Your Checkbooks Ready!

Effective August 1, 2016, EPA implemented significant civil penalty increases. These changes will apply to all pending and future cases relating to violations occurring after November 2, 2015.  In addition, EPA said it intends to do additional inflation adjustments annually, beginning on or shortly before January 15, 2018.

For example, the maximum RCRA (solid and hazardous waste) penalty  increased from $37,500 to $40,779 per violation.  EPCRA Section 313 (Form R) maximum penalties increased roughly 63% from 2001 levels.

My takeaway from this is that it is more important than ever to have a solid environmental management program in place and conduct periodic audits to ensure the program is effective.  EPA’s e-disclosure policy provides various levels of penalty relief for self-discovered, self-reported, and self-corrected violations.  Contrary to recent rumors, the program is alive and well and not being discontinued.

Here’s a link to the EPA memo detailing all of the increases.  The specific adjustments are in Table A.  Note that OSHA is implementing a similar penalty increase.  Link

New Changes to TSCA – Blessing or Curse?

Congress passes bill to modernize nation’s primary chemical management law

The last time the U.S. Congress passed a major environmental law relating to chemicals, Gerald Ford was president, the Dow was around 1000 and Apple Computer was just a few months old.

Now, 40 years later, that law – the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — is finally getting a much-needed update. On June 7, the Senate passed changes to the TSCA, which the House of Representatives had already approved. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon, making it the first major new environmental law since 1990. Bill Summary and Text Continue reading New Changes to TSCA – Blessing or Curse?