Hazmat & RCRA Regulatory Agendas Announced

Posted on 5/27/2016 by Roger Marks

Twice a year, US regulatory agencies post Agendas that give us a look at what they have planned for industry in the near (and not-so-near) future. The Spring Agenda was released this month and lays out plans for new regulations, amendments to the current rules, and more. 

Lion Members received a comprehensive overview of the items in the Spring Agenda today. For this post, we’ll focus on just the major, Final Rule—stage items that affect hazardous materials shippers and RCRA hazardous waste professionals.

RCRA Hazardous Waste Management

The Spring Agenda for RCRA shows three major hazardous waste Final Rules still on the way. 
The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule will make seismic changes to the way RCRA is organized, as well as add provisions for episodic generation, new container management rules, and more. Lion presented a free webinar when EPA proposed the rule.

The Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule will create a new RCRA Subpart P for hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities that manage hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. The Rule includes unique requirements that will change how healthcare facilities manage certain forms of hazardous waste. Lion presented a free webinar for Members on this proposed RCRA rule as well.

Lastly, the Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions Rule is designed to change the export and import requirements for hazardous waste at 49 CFR 260–267, 271, and 273. The new rule will allow for electronic submission of certain export/import data, and more.

49 CFR Hazmat Shipping

US DOT’s PHMSA plans to (again) raise the civil penalties for hazmat shipping violations. This is a periodic rulemaking to adjust the penalty amounts to match inflation. The maximum civil penalty for violations of the HMR will, once the Rule is finalized, rise from $75,000 to $77,114 per day, per violation. The minimum penalty for failure to train hazmat employees would rise to $463 per day, per violation. The maximum penalty for violations that result in serious injury, death, or property destruction will rise to $179,933 per day, per violation. The last hike to the hazmat penalties came with 2012’s Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, highway bill.

US DOT is also working to finalize Revised Lithium Battery Provisions to keep pace with off-schedule changes issued by ICAO and IATA for shipping lithium batteries by air. Expected in January 2017, the new DOT lithium battery rules will largely reflect the changes put forth by ICAO and IATA this year, including:  

  • Prohibiting lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft;
  • Setting a 30% state-of-charge limit; and
  • Limiting the number of packages per consignment.  

Also planned are miscellaneous amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) made regularly in response to petitions for rulemaking and to clarify elements of the rules. This time around, the miscellaneous changes include amendments to labeling requirements, updates to the Hazardous Materials Table at 49 CFR 172.101 and the special provisions, changes for cargo tanks, and more. 

US EPA and OSHA Spring Regulatory Agendas

In the Spring Agenda, EPA lists planned changes to major programs like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), and more.

OSHA, for its part, is working to finalize new requirements for fit-testing respirators, clarifying employers’ responsibilities for accurate recordkeeping of injuries and illnesses, and fall protection.  

Want more? Sign up for a Lion Membership to check out the full Spring Agenda Bulletin we sent this afternoon, as well as other exclusive resources. See all the benefits of Membership, like fast answers to your questions, access to the reference library, and more, at

Racing the Regulatory Clock

As we approach the election in November, offices within major government agencies like the US DOT and US EPA are jockeying to finalize their projects before the change in administration. With agencies pushing hard to complete new and pending rulemaking activities, a flurry of new requirements could land before Americans hit the voting booth. Keep your browser locked on Lion News for the latest news and updates that affect hazmat shippers and hazardous waste professionals nationwide!

Tags: DOT, EPA, hazardous waste, hazmat, new rules

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