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Federal Regulations, Agreements & Programs

Federal Regulations

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, was enacted in 1976 to address a problem of enormous magnitude ­ how to safely manage and dispose of the huge volumes of municipal and industrial waste generated nationwide.  RCRA's primary goals are:

  • protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal,
  • conserve energy and natural resources,
  • reduce the amount of waste generated, and
  • ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner. 

To achieve these goals, under RCRA, EPA established three distinct yet interrelated programs:

  • The hazardous waste program, under RCRA Subtitle C, establishes a system for controlling hazardous waste from the time it is generated until its ultimate disposal­ in effect, from cradle to grave.
  • The solid waste program, under RCRA Subtitle D, encourages states to develop comprehensive plans to manage nonhazardous industrial solid waste and municipal solid waste, sets criteria for municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) and other solid waste disposal facilities, and prohibits the open dumping of solid waste.
  • The underground storage tank (UST) program, under RCRA Subtitle I, regulates underground tanks storing hazardous substances and petroleum products

RCRA Subtitles C and D are of particular interest to WasteWatcher.  Subtitle D deals directly with municipal solid waste, which is the core issue.  Subtitle C, covers hazardous waste.  Although hazardous waste is generally not a WasteWatcher issue, there is the concern that municipal waste imported from Canada may contain hazardous wastes that have been improperly managed and combined with municipal wastes.  Therefore, an important issue relative to Subtitle C is the identification of hazardous waste.

Although RCRA is a Federal statute, many States implement the RCRA program. Currently, EPA has delegated its authority to implement various provisions of RCRA to 47 of the 50 States (delegation has not been given to Alaska, Hawaii, or Iowa).

Go to RCRA.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Statutes. Starting in 1935, Congress began enacting a series of statutes and amendments that have established, revised and refined motor carrier rules, and have set forth how those rules are implemented and enforced.

In 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

In carrying out its safety mandate to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, FMCSA:

  • Develops and enforces regulations that balance motor carrier (truck and bus companies) safety with industry efficiency;
  • Harnesses safety information systems to focus on higher risk carriers in enforcing the safety regulations;
  • Targets educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the public; and
  • Partners with stakeholders including Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and organized labor on efforts to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.

Go to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules.

Federal Agreements

Agreement Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste. With respect to imported waste from Canada, a 1986 treaty, the Agreement Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste ("Agreement"), was signed by the U.S. and Canada that could affect imported municipal waste.  This agreement requires that EPA (the designated U.S. authority) receive notification from Environment Canada (the designated Canadian authority) of intended hazardous waste shipments and EPA would have 30 days to respond or object to the waste shipments.  In 1992, the Agreement was amended to include municipal solid waste.  The notice may cover an individual shipment or a series of shipments extending over a twelve month or lesser period.

 

 

   

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