EPA Proposes New Protections for International Hazardous Waste Shipments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing enhancements to the oversight of hazardous waste shipments to help ensure safe management of imported and exported hazardous wastes. “When hazardous waste is shipped across multiple countries there can be a higher risk of mismanagement from unsafe transport, recycling and disposal practices,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “This proposal will provide greater protection to communities and the environment through increased transparency, better data sharing and more efficient compliance monitoring.”

The rule proposes consolidation of the regulations so that one set of protective requirements will apply to transboundary movements of hazardous waste. The proposal, when finalized, will affect the approximately 3,000 hazardous waste import shipments and 49,000 hazardous waste export shipments that largely occur within North America. The proposal will also make electronic reporting to EPA mandatory and will require linking the consent to export with the exporter declaration submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These changes will provide for more efficient compliance monitoring and will enable increased sharing of hazardous waste import and export data with state programs, the general public, and individual hazardous waste exporters and importers. The Agency will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

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