In a final rule, the EPA has overhauled its regulations governing U.S. import and export of hazardous waste. One intent of the rule is to make EPA’s import/export provisions more consistent with import/export standards followed by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The EPA also says the revisions respond to a 2015 report by the Agency’s Office of Inspector General, which found that the Agency does not effectively control or monitor imports of hazardous waste.
Mathy Stanislaus, who heads EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, says the revisions address a pattern of mismanagement of hazardous waste crossing national borders that have endangered communities when those shipments are abandoned or sent to unapproved facilities that are unable to manage the waste properly. Stanislaus notes that a strong tracking system is critical because an increasing number of entities are handling and transferring international shipments.