- Special Waste Home
- Cement Kiln Dust
- Crude Oil and Gas
- Fossil Fuel Combustion
- Mineral Processing
CCR Webinar Transcript, August 8, 2010
Betsy Devlin: Okay. You can see we’re doing the presentation on our proposed rule for coal combustion residuals, and the purpose of the webinar is really to provide a summary of our proposal, our [coal] proposal, to highlight the key issues on which we’re requesting comment, and really to give you some tips on how to comments effectively on this proposal.
We will answer some basic clarifying questions about the proposed regulatory requirements, but I want to make sure everybody understands that this webinar is not a forum where we’re going to be taking any official public comments. If you want to make official comments, I’ll show you how to do that, but they do need to be submitted to the docket.
As I said before, if you have a question at any time, simply type it in using the question feature and we’ll answer them again. We’ll answer technical questions immediately. If you're having any kind of technical difficulties with the webinar and other questions on the proposal, we’ll answer as many as we can at the end of the presentation. And again, we’re trying to take questions that will assist you in understanding our proposal and the areas where we’re seeking comments and additional information.
And you'll find there are a number of places, as you know, that we haven’t taken a position that we are taking comments, so there are some questions we may tell you that our answer is [get that to us] as part of the comments.
Okay. I’m now going to start with a basic, a very brief overview, a pretty high level, of the major pieces of our goal. Coal combustion residuals are byproducts from the combustion of coal. Primarily they consist of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and flue gas desulfurization materials.
And why are we concerned about them? Well, they do contain some constituents which may leach into the ground water or get into the surface water, things like arsenic, cadmium, mercury, so we’re concerned about that. Again, we’re also concerned because in 2008 in the United States, we generated more than 136 million tons and so that makes it one of our largest waste streams.
And you may ask what happens to the CCRs that are generated? Well, about 34% or 46 million tons are landfilled; about 22% or 29 million tons are disposed of in surface impoundment; about 37% are beneficially reused and about 8% are placed in mines. We also have some information on the facilities that take CCRs that are for disposal. 75% of our surface impoundments are greater than 25 years old with 10% of them being greater than 50 years old.
So we have a bit of an aging infrastructure for our disposal units and we have about 300 landfills and about 584 surface impoundments in use at approximately 495 coal-fired plants. So again, we have a very large waste stream and we have a large number of facilities that are handling materials, so it’s important that you handle this material properly.
Okay. What did we propose? On June 21, we issued our proposal and we proposed to approach this for regulating the disposal of CCRs under RCRA, Resource Conservation Recovery Act. We proposed an approach under Subtitle C and we proposed an approach under Subtitle D, and a key point is that this proposal covers those CCRS that are generated from the combustion of coal at electric utilities and independent power producers. We are not covering those electric plants that are used captively by industries or universities and we have had a number of questions on that. So if you don't -- if your primary business is not generating electricity, this rule is not -- doesn’t cover the CCRs.
Again, when we look at our proposal, the engineering requirements like liners, ground-water monitoring, for example, of our two options, the Subtitle C and the Subtitle D option, are very similar, and the differences in the approaches are primarily in enforcement and implementation. And we’ll be getting into that when we compare the two options in a little bit.
Also, a point under both of our alternatives, the Bevill exemption from regulation remains in place for beneficial uses of CCRs. So again, beneficial uses, we’re not regulating them by this proposal. And also mine-filling, which is the placement of CCRs in mines to stabilize them, etc., is not covered by this proposal and we explain that in the preamble.
Okay. Let me turn now to the specifics of each of the alternatives and again, this is going to be a very brief summary, but before I get into this, I want to mention one thing that isn’t on the slides. In the preamble to the proposal, we have quite an extensive discussion of a prior regulatory -- of our regulatory determination in May of 2000. And we talk a lot about that and about our revisiting that determination and the information we have to revisit that. It’s important -- while we’re not covering that here, it is important that you even understand that part because that forms the basis for our regulatory alternative. So it’s helpful if you would read that.
Regulating under Subtitle C -- now what we will do here is CCRs being disposed will be listed as a special waste subject to Subtitle C. What we mean when you're subject to C, you're subject to the existing Subtitle C requirements and these include the generator requirements, the transporter requirements and that includes manifesting. So if you are moving CCRs off for disposal, you would be doing a manifest. It includes the permitting, ground-water monitoring, corrective action, financial assurance, LDRs, land disposal restrictions and treatment standards. Basically, if you list them, they are subject to all the requirements in Subtitle C, so all of the 260 regulations that you know that.
Specifically, we have however modified some of those requirements and in Subtitle C, we’re going with a single composite liner. Our risk assessment shows that a single composite liner is sufficiently protective. We are also modifying the time for surface impoundments to comply. We’re giving them five years to comply with the requirements and no requirement for annual dredging. We propose structural stability requirements. These are primarily engineering requirements and section requirements to ensure structural stability for the impoundments.
Just a couple of highlights -- existing landfills have to install ground-water monitoring within a year of the effective date of the rule, but existing landfills do not need to retrofit with composite liners. New landfills or lateral expansions of existing landfills, however, do have to install composite liners and ground-water monitoring before they begin operation, before they begin taking CCRs.
Surface impoundments have to meet LDRs and liner requirements within five years of the effective date of the rule or close, and they’ll have an additional two years to do that, and we believe that the combination of the liners and the LDRs are effectively going to phase out surface impoundments. That was a very, very brief overview of Subtitle C.
Turning now to a very brief overview of our Subtitle D proposal -- under Subtitle D, CCRs being disposed would remain classified as a non-hazardous waste. We would be proposing -- we would have regulations. They would be national minimum criteria governing facilities disposing of CCRs and again, the key word is facilities there. You do not cover generation, transportation and things like that in a D rule.
Many of the engineering requirements again are very similar to Subtitle C. The ground-water monitoring, liners, structural stability requirements, they're very much the same as Subtitle C, but under Subtitle D, the requirements are self-implementing. There’s no requirement for a permit program.
However, the owner-operator under the Subtitle D rule is required to take certifications by professional engineers. We have minimum qualification requirements for this and make these certifications. They have to -- the owner-operator has to document how the various standards are being met. These documentations must be kept in the operating records. States have to be notified and the owner-operator has to maintain a website available to the public that contains the documentation of how that standard is met. So that is a very concise overview of the Subtitle D requirements.
Now if you look on your screen, we've prepared a chart to really highlight the key differences between Subtitle C and Subtitle D, and as you'll see, as I said before, most of the real differences are in the enforcement and the implementation area, but let’s look at a few of the key ones.
On Subtitle D, the first one we have is the effective data. Under a Subtitle C rule, the timing would vary from state to state because under Subtitle C, each state will have to adopt this rule before it becomes effective and that can take one or two years or more for the states to actually adopt the rule. They will have to adopt it. It will be a most stringent requirement, so it will be a requirement for them to retain an authorized program, but it will take some time.
Under Subtitle D, we will have an effective date of the rule to be six months after the final rule is promulgated. There will be additional time to comply with some of the provisions, but the rule will be effective in six months.
Another key difference in enforcement -- under Subtitle C, there is a very strong federal enforcement program. There are very strong state-enforcement programs for the Subtitle C world. In Subtitle D, at the federal level, we have enforcement only really through citizen suits. States however can act as citizens, but the federal government does not have routine enforcement authority for Subtitle D rules. We can always use our imminent substantial endangerment authorities, but we don't have routine enforcement.
For corrective action, we have corrective action under both Subtitle C and Subtitle D, but under Subtitle C, it’s monitored very closely by the authorized states and by EPA. Under Subtitle D, corrective action is self-implementing.
Financial assurance -- under Subtitle D, yes, we have it. The facilities effectively become treatment storage disposal facilities, so they have all the same financial assurance requirements of our -- in the rules right now. For Subtitle D, we’re considering a subsequent rule using several 108B authority financial assurance. For permits, under Subtitle C, again, we’ll have a requirement for permits, but they will be issued either by the states or by EPA where we directly run the program. There are no requirements for permits under Subtitle D.
Requirements for storage, including containers, tanks, containment buildings, under Subtitle C, yes, again, we have those requirements because those are part of the base Subtitle C requirements. There are no requirements for that under Subtitle D. Again, as I said before, for D, we go to the facility managing the waste, not the other requirements.
For surface impoundments that are built before the rule is finalized, under Subtitle D, you have to remove solids and meet land disposal restrictions, retrofit within five years of the effective date and again, as I said before, we believe this is going to effectively phase out the use of surface impoundments under the C rule.
Under the D rule, you still have to remove solids and retrofit with a composite liner when receiving CCRs within five years on the effective date and close the unit. So those requirements are somewhat similar, not exactly the same, but they are similar. For surface impoundments built after the rule is finalized, again, meeting land disposal restrictions and liner requirements, for Subtitle D, they have to have composite liners. There are no land disposal restrictions under Subtitle D.
For landfills, as I indicated before, if the landfill is built before the rule is finalized, you don't have to install a liner, but you do have to install ground-water monitoring and that is the same for a Subtitle D rule. For landfills built after the rule is finalized again, the requirements of Subtitle C and Subtitle D are quite similar -- the liner and ground-water monitoring.
And requirements for closure and post-closure, again, under Subtitle C, we have those requirements and again, closely monitored by the states and EPA. Under a Subtitle D rule, they are more self-implementing.
So that is a very brief again summary of the two regulatory alternatives and the major differences between the two, and we hope that -- we’re seeking comment again on all aspects of this proposal. One thing that putting a chart out like this does help you in thinking about the comments you could make on the rule.
In our proposal, we did discuss a few other regulatory options and I want to highlight just a couple of them here. One, we called it D prime. Basically, the existing surface impoundments under this option would be allowed to operate until the end of their useful life. They would not have to close within five years, but the other requirements in this rule are exactly the same as under the D proposal.
Another proposal -- another option we talked about was handling -- was wet-handled CCRs would be regulated under Subtitle C and dry-handled under Subtitle D. Another option we discussed would be issuing Subtitle C regulations, but these would only be effective if a state did not develop enforceable Subtitle D regulations and submit them to EPA for approval. And if a state failed to develop a program within two years, or EPA did not approve it within a year, then the federal Subtitle C rule would go into effect in that state.
Another approach is what we call the quote Cement Kiln Dust approach modeled after a proposal we did a few years ago for Cement Kiln Dust. We would establish detailed management standards under Subtitle D and if, however there were egregious violations of the requirements, then the Subtitle C requirements would kick in and the CCRs would be considered a special waste under C.
And a final option would need to rely on NPDS permits for structural integrity requirements, not for disposal, but just for the integrity requirements for the impoundments. So those are some of the other options discussed in the preamble that we’re taking comments on.
I’d like to give -- we've done -- looking at the cost of the regulations, we have estimated the cost of the benefits, ground-water protection, cancer cases avoided, avoided future cleanup costs, increased beneficial use. We've done this in our RIA. It’s a very, very detailed document which is in the docket and available for comment, but just very briefly, under Subtitle C, assuming that we have no reduction in beneficial use, we estimated the costs to be up to 1.5 billion a year with benefits of up to 7.4 billion a year, and with Subtitle D, using the same assumption of no reductions in beneficial uses, the cost would be up to 587 million a year and the benefits of up to 3 billion a year.
We’ve also estimated that if the full regulatory costs of Subtitle C were passed on from utility companies to consumers, our estimates indicated that electricity prices nationwide could increase on the average at about 8 tenths of a percent. And for Subtitle D, that cost increase is estimated at about .2%.
We did do an environmental justice analysis for our proposal and in this analysis, we collected demographic data on minority on low-income populations by zip code, and we compared that to the demographic data surrounding the coal-fired plants. And we estimated that 52% or 256 of the 495 plants had surrounding low-income population percentages that exceeded their state low-income percentages. And we also estimated that 28% or 138 of the 495 plants had minority population percentages which exceeded the state minority percentages, so we did do that analysis.
One of the key issues that is coming up is how does the proposal address beneficial use of this material? And as we said before, a large percentage of this material is beneficially used and EPA supports and encourages safe and environmentally appropriate beneficial use of this material. And when we say beneficial use, we really mean using CCRs as ingredients or substitutes for other materials. It’s mainly industrial products and activities, examples being use in cement and asphalt and concrete.
As I said before, under all our regulatory options, we are proposing to retain the Bevill exemptions of beneficial uses and again, it’s important for people to understand that our proposal is not regulating beneficial uses. However, concerns have been raised with some specific uses. To EPA, there is a good deal of ongoing research. We know that composition of CCRs are likely changing as a result of the more aggressive air pollution controls and so we’re requesting a lot of comment on beneficial uses, particularly as it relates to unencapsulated uses.
Another really key point that we want to emphasize is that we do not consider placement in sand and gravel pits or large-scale fill operations to be beneficial use. We’re very clear about this in the preamble. This we consider to be disposal. We would subject such uses or such placement to the disposal management standards. Some of the placement or the -- it includes -- things we’re saying are disposal and through the filling of whole quarries and gravel pits or landscaping with large quantities of CCRs, and it includes, for example, the quarry in Gambrills, Maryland, where we do have a damage case where we had contamination of local drinking water wells. I also want to reiterate that this type of use is a use that we did not consider to be beneficial in our May 2000 regulatory determination. And obviously, we’re still not considering it to be a beneficial use. We really do want to be clear about that.
We do believe that again, properly performed beneficial use is an environmentally preferable outcome. We know that it saves resources; we know there are greenhouse gas benefits from beneficial use and so we are concerned about regulatory decisions that would limit beneficial uses, yet we recognize there’s a disparity in the quality of state beneficial use programs and uncertain about the future characteristics of CCRs and uncertainty about some of the risk. So we’re really requesting comment on whether beneficial uses present risk to health in the environment and whether or how they should be addressed in the final rule or in another rule.
I’m going to really give you now sort of a brief overview of where EPA is seeking comment. Essentially, I say we’re seeking comment in three main areas -- on the regulatory options themselves and on all aspects of regulatory options. We’re asking for a lot of comments in the area of beneficial use and we’re asking for comments on our supporting analyses, things like our economics, our risk analysis, our damage case analysis. We’re asking for a lot of additional data on state programs, things like that.
First of all, a little more detail where we’re seeking comment on all aspects of our regulatory options, Subtitle C versus Subtitle D, specific comments on which alternative is most appropriate. We’re asking for comment on the specific elements of each alternative -- for example, the liners, ground-water monitoring, how much flexibility should we provide, things like that. And we’re seeking comment on other alternative regulatory approaches, but the ones I mentioned and others.
On beneficial uses, again, a major area where we’re seeking both comment and additional information, we’re seeking information on new beneficial uses that are coming into the marketplaces on incentives that EPA could provide that would increase the amount of the CCRs that are beneficially reused, information and data on the best means for estimating the quantities and changes in the beneficial use of CCRs, especially as we do our impact analysis, and information on beneficial uses that may present a risk to human health and the environment.
There has been a great deal of discussion or allegations about potential stigma and the idea that if we were to regulate under Subtitle C, would that -- the allegation is it would impose a stigma on the material and beneficial use with their decline, and since this has been brought up quite a bit, we’re asking for quite a bit of data and comment on that. So we’re saying if we were to regulate CCRs as a specialized subject of Subtitle C, what could we do to reduce any stigma or any impact that might arise from that?
We’re also seeking concrete data on actual instances where stigma has adversely affected unofficial use of CCRs and the cost; in other words, what’s happened and why is it happening? We need data and we’re looking for specific information on how stigma could cause procedural difficulties for state beneficial use programs and again, measures EPA might adopt to mitigate these effects.
And for those who believe that regulating CCRs under Subtitle C would raise liability issues, we’re asking you to describe the text of liability and the basis of the information on which you're making a claim, and again, ideas on how to estimate stigma effects for the purposes of conducting our regulatory impact analyses and any data or methods you have to assist EPA in this effort.
Seeking comment on our supporting analyses, again, on the extent of our existing damage cases, on the extent of risks posed by the mismanagement of CCRs, on the adequacy of state programs to ensure the proper management of CCRs, we are requesting data or details of how the states currently regulate CCRs and of course, we’ll take comment on our risks and our economic analysis. And in short, we really are taking comment on all aspects of the proposal.
As we said, we want to have a robust public dialogue on this to ensure that any decisions we make are based on the best available information and we think that one of the best ways to do this is to have a dialogue and to put this out broadly to the public and seek comments and data.
And if you wish to comment, our official comment period on this regulation ends on September 20 and you can comment on the Web. The site is there, Regulations.gov and you put in the proper docket ID number and again, you can email it to the record docket. You can fax it to the docket or you can mail it and if you mail it, include two copies of it, and the address is on the screen for you. It’s important that you put in the docket number and the appropriate mail code. That’s how we get those comments.
And in addition, we have scheduled five public hearings on this rule and again, this is on our website, but to pre-register, you can go to our website and pre-register. We will also accept written comments at these hearings and the hearings are in Arlington on August 30; in Denver on Sept. 2; in Dallas on Sept. 8; in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sept. 14; and in Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 20, and these are the five. We encourage all to attend and to provide comments to us at the hearings.
And that actually concludes the formal presentation. So we ask that you type your questions into the question feature and we will answer as many questions as we can before 3:00 o’clock and another point we wanted to make is that the frequently asked questions on this proposal are already on our website at that Web address, and the presentation and recording will be on the Web soon.
So with that, okay, we are going -- we've received a lot of questions and we’re going to take a break for about five minutes to organize the questions, so that we can answer them in somewhat of an orderly fashion.
Okay. Thank you all for bearing with us as we got some of these questions organized. We've had a great number of questions on costs and benefits of the rule and so to answer some of those questions, I’m going to turn it over to Mark Eads, who is our Senior Economist, who’s done a great deal of this work, and he’s going to answer some of those questions for you now.
Mark Eads: Thank you, Betsy. My name is Mark Eads. I’m a Senior Economist with EPA. For the purpose of saving time today, rather than going into a level of detail on these questions about the economic analysis, the benefits and the costs of the proposed rule, what I’d like to do is give everybody a reference to the economic analysis document.
We call it a regulatory impact analysis. For shorthand, we call it an RIA document. It’s available electronically free to the public from the federal regulatory docket and that website is Regulations.gov. And if you go to that website, you can type in the docket for our RIA and let me give that to you because I would like to point you to the different sections in the RIA document where you can find detailed data and calculations supporting the general answers I’m about to give you for the questions. The RIA document ID number is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640-0003. Now, that’s where you'll find the RA document and the details.
With respect to the benefits, I asked Betsy to back up to, in her presentation, to Slide 11 and hopefully that appears on your computer screen now. The short general answer to the question is contained -- identified in the first sentence on Slide 11. You'll see that we generally have three benefit categories that we've quantified and valued in a dollar monetization sense and those consist of protecting the ground water from the leaching of the landfills and the surface impoundments and that results in cancer cases that we estimate we would avoid in the future. And we monetize two different types of cancers in the analysis and again, you can read about the details of that in the RIA document that I referenced and in particular, you'll find that in Section 5A of the RIA.
And we also have a second category of avoided future cleanup costs. That’s in Section 5B of the RIA and you'll see on Slide 11 the third category of benefits we've listed is we actually have as our lead scenario a resultant increase in future beneficial use of coal ash as a result of the Subtitle C option. We don't have that under the Subtitle D option, only the Subtitle C. That scenario, we describe and do calculations in Section 5C of the RIA.
Another corollary question that we got from Alison Lindburg is if we can go over the cost and benefits slide, so I just went over the benefits part of that Slide 11, so the costs -- again, you'll see that under our lead assumption, assuming that we have no reduction, no effect, on beneficial use, we have the costs for Subtitle C of up to 1.5 billion a year. We use a per-year cost as an average annualized cost that is an average annual value over the 50 years of the cost and benefit analysis that we applied. In the analysis, we applied a discount rate and you'll see in the RIA that we go into detail and describe that used the 3% rate as well as the 7% that are prescribed by OMB.
In comparison, you'll see on Slide 11 the Subtitle D co-proposed option is less costly, only about a third less costly, 587 million per year average annual cost.
[Points], the electricity price impacts, we did have a question that came in from Mr. Newkirk on that, those two figures. These do assume that there are no effects on beneficial use; that’s correct. And we did, in the RIA, model another scenario whereby beneficial use potentially decreases under the Subtitle -- that discussion, those scenarios, you’ll find in Section 5C of the RIA. There’s a lot of relatively complex data that support both the increase scenario and the -- I really don't think we can go into that now over the webinar, those details.
There’s one question -- perhaps this might be the last response from my group of questions -- concerning the environmental justice issue. The question is “Since over 70% of facilities are in non-minority areas, do we conclude that there’s not an environmental justice issue?” The data for this analysis is offered earlier and in particular, that’s in Section 7C and I’ll just generally give you the overall nationwide results.
The environmental justice analysis that we did, looked at the populations areas of the 495 coal-fired electric plants. We looked at the population of two environment justice groups that are defined in that executive order that requires agencies to (inaudible) poverty and minority for what we define as non-white populations around the plants. And we compared the percent of those populations to the statewide percentages.
Each of those two groups at the plant were greater or less than their respective statewide percentages and result on -- overall nation groups are only marginally different from their respective statewide populations on an overall national basis. In an aggregate outcome, we are not concluding that there’s any disproportionate effect of either the current baseline conditions of either the Subtitle C or Subtitle D option.
So with that, I will turn the presentation --
Betsy Devlin: This is Betsy Devlin again. I’m going to answer just a couple of brief questions that we've gotten a number of them and then I’m going to turn it over to Alex Livnat who’s on our staff who’s done a lot of the technical work on this. “What about an extension to the comment period?” EPA has received a number of requests for extensions to the comment period that is currently evaluating those requests. We will have a decision on that yet shortly.
Well, CCRs are regulated under Subtitle C. What does that -- “Does that have to count towards their generator status and could -- does that mean the answer to that is yes?” If you're regulated under Subtitle C, this material is now a listed hazardous waste -- or listed status. And if you're shipping that material offsite for disposal, yes, you do have to use the uniform manifest. A number of you have asked when the slides will be up -- soon. I don’t know if it’ll be today or tomorrow, but it will be in the next couple of days, the slides will be up on our website.
A fairly decent question about when the rule is effective and authorized to states. We have a fairly detailed discussion about it in the preamble, but the short answer is in a state, the rule is effective in that state when the state picks it up. It would be effective in the place where EPA runs the [play] of Alaska, so the territories, but in the rest of the states, it is effected when the states pick it up, but again, we do have a fairly detailed discussion of that in the -- folks, after where you could find the risk assessment, the risk assessment is in the docket, can be found there online, as with all the supporting documents. And you can get to it at Regulations.gov with the preceding and copy it down if that’s helpful.
We have time for a few other technical questions and I’m going to turn them over to Alex, who’s on my staff, who will try to answer some of those for you.
Alex Livnat: Hi. My name is Alex Livnat and I will answer some of the questions Jerry Kubal asked. “If regulated under Subtitle C, would the facility with the surface impoundment be required to file a Part A permit until closure?” The answer is yes.
And Christopher Wood asked special ways count towards the facility’s total quantity -- in other words, would a current small-quantity generator become a large-quantity generator in this case?” And the answer again is yes. Chad Stobbe asked under Subtitle D option, would CERCLA 108B authority for financial assurance only be applicable to electric generation entities? We are still considering what kind of mechanism to apply under Subtitle D type of option for financial assurance.
And (inaudible) asked under Subtitle C, are silos that contain fly ash that is being beneficial use regulated? Any fly ash which is designed for beneficial use by definition is Bevill-exempt and won’t be regulated. And the operation that utilities or owners of disposal facilities of surface impoundments or ash ponds used by removing some of the sediment or settled wet disposed ash to transfer it to other type of disposal facility in order to retain the volume of the surface impoundment.
Kay Parker asked “Does the Subtitle D option apply only to CCR generated by electric utilities and independent power generators or to any other facility disposing of CCRs?” As we have clearly defined, the scope of our proposed rule applies only to CCR generators apply to manufacturers or other entities that use the power for their own manufacturing needs.
Asked under Subtitle C, what happens if CCRs that are slated from use, does the facility at which they are spilled become subject to Subtitle C? As I have indicated, any CCRs that therefore, even if they are spilled during a transport, they are still exempt from regulation.
Okay. Thank you for your patience and I’m trying to find some more to address.
Betsy Devlin: (Inaudible) as well as Subtitle D. Oh, we saw a question quickly on citizen suits and the question was, “Are not citizen suits able to be filed under both Subtitle C? Was the citizen suit provision is in 7000 and (inaudible)” -- so that is the distinction you were attempting to make on that. I apologize if that was not abundantly clear.
Okay. We have a couple of questions. I’m going to turn it back to Alex for a couple of technical questions.
Alex Livnat: Hi. This is Alex Livnat again. Sean Todd asked, “What is an example of unencapsulated beneficial reuse and whether this practice will be now subject to Subtitle C or deregulation after the rule-making?” Well, first, again, any unencapsulated beneficial use where large hollows in the ground, whether previous quarrying, gravel and sand-quarrying areas or other filling of large hollows, would not be considered beneficial uses, such as using the material as a sub-base for roads, for instance, or ergonomically controlled amounts as a measure to beneficiate soil or improve crop yields, would be considered beneficial use, although we are soliciting questions to basically provide us with information as whether they are records that these types of applications are associated with environmental or health damages. And of course, unless determined otherwise, use are Bevill conditionally exempt.
Mike Cashin asked, “Aren’t citizens” -- did you answer this? Yes. I’m sorry. This one has been addressed.
Betsy Devlin: This is Betsy Devlin again. We have received a number of specific comments on our economics and our benefits analysis and while there are a number of them, I’m going to turn it back to Mark Eads, so that he can answer a number of those questions on how we did our analysis.
Mark Eads: In the cost estimates that we summarized in Slide 11 that we examined earlier, and the -- essentially there are questions about what types of costs that we included, one specifically asking whether we consider the costs of two generators and two transportation under the Subtitle C scenario -- that was from Ralph Nuerenberg-- and a related question concerns whether we considered the costs for the upgrading the disposal units to meet the Subtitle C design standards. That was from Douglas Green.
Again, I’ll refer you to the RIA document for the details, but I’ll give a verbal summary now of those details. The details of the cost analysis are contained in Chapter 4 of the RIA and in that chapter, we evaluated for both the Subtitle C, as well as the Subtitle D, three different scenarios.
As you recall from Betsy’s presentation, she had a chart which distinguished and compared the similarities, as well as the differences, between the Subtitle C and Subtitle D options. So we reflected those differences in the cost analysis, but in general, we looked at the three different cost categories we call engineering control costs. Sometimes the agency calls those technical requirement costs.
The second category we looked at consisted of what we called ancillary (inaudible) requirements that are not just involving engineering or technical modifications of the disposal units, but concern things such as regulatory paperwork requirements. So we grouped those into a second category called ancillary costs.
And then the third category was really a unique one that we focused on the surface impoundments because under the Subtitle C option, we have something called an LDR or land disposal dewatering treatment [we call] a requirement. So we looked at the costs specific to dewatering these surface impoundments as a third distinct category of cost. So concerning Slide 11 of Betsy’s presentation, those total costs reflect those three different cost categories, and again, you'll find those in Chapter 4 of the RIA and what I will do now is just -- I can name the different elements in each of the three categories.
The first category, engineering controls, we had 10 different types of costs that address the ground-water monitoring requirements, the disposal unit liner requirements, the leach [shape] collection requirements. The fourth cost in this group was addressing the [fugitive] dust controls.
The surface water runoff and runoff controls, financial assurance, the disposal unit location restrictions, the covering and capping the unit upon its closure in the future, as well as post-closure monitoring of the ground-water, and we didn’t have data though to address in the RIA storage, design and operating requirements because we didn’t have baseline data on what types of equipment or storage units are present at these power plants currently in relation to the standards that we’re proposing.
So those are the 10 cost elements we identified under engineering controls. The ancillary costs we identified and monetized in RIA consisted of transportation costs and that was under Subtitle C. That, for example, would involve RCRA manifesting. That would be a type of paperwork burden cost, added costs for Hazmat trucking, as opposed to non-Hazmat truck, and a second cost under the ancillary category, structural integrity inspections. Under Subtitle C, we have a facility-wide investigation requirement that would be triggered under RCRA Subtitle C, as well as facility-wide corrective action.
A fifth element of cost under the second category concerns getting Subtitle C hazardous waste disposal permits for the plants who would be continued to dispose onsite, RCRA enforcement inspections under the Subtitle C option. And then under the Subtitle C, there would be an added cost for future cleanup of sites as a hazardous waste as opposed to a non-hazardous waste.
And then finally, we had a catch-all category involving other types of paperwork reporting and record-keeping requirements under the Subtitle C option. So those are the cost elements we monetized under the second category of ancillary costs.
And then distinctly, the third category, as I mentioned, we looked at the cost of dewatering the surface impoundments according to what’s described as the land disposal restriction or dewatering treatment requirement.
So those are the cost elements. There’s a question concerning Exhibit 7A in the analysis and it is asking that the average cost come from Exhibit 4F and what exactly are the dollar amounts meant to indicate? And that’s from Maggie Boyd and Maggie, the dollar amounts are indicating those 18 different cost elements that I just mentioned. In terms of the benefits, there are two questions concerning benefits. One are the ground-water benefits different in C and D and why would that occur? And the answer is yes. In the RIA, you'll find that again in the section I mentioned, we provide the data and calculations in Section 5A of the RIA.
If you look there, you'll see the benefits do differ between C and D because we make an assumption as to different compliance rates because under Subtitle D, EPA doesn’t have federal enforcement authority.
So we make an alternative assumption as to which states, or what percentage of states, would actually adopt and implement the regulations under the Subtitle D options. So that’s predominantly why the benefits are different under C compared to D and those actually from James Stine, those two related questions.
I’ll turn it back to Betsy. I think I’ve covered all of the economic and cost and benefit questions up to this point.
Betsy Devlin: Okay. This is Betsy Devlin. Again, we had a request to repeat the answer to the citizen suit question and the question that came in was aren’t citizen suits available under both Subtitle C and Subtitle D? And the answer is yes. The citizen suit provision applies to basically all of RCRA so it would apply to the Subtitle D requirements, as well as to the Subtitle C requirements. It applies to both. What we were trying to explain is that under a Subtitle D rule, EPA does not have direct federal enforcement authority and the reason the EPA does not have that authority is basically the statute does not provide it to us.
The enforcement authorities, for example, for administrative orders for judicial actions are tied directly to the Subtitle C requirements. They are in the statute. Thus, we go with the D option. EPA does not have that authority, so the way the federal requirements would be enforced, it was to the federal level; it would be federal citizen suits. So that’s again sort of a quick summary of the citizen suit provision why EPA can’t directly enforce Subtitle D.
We did have a really quick question from one of our commentors who really asked what an MPDS permit was, and I -- under the Clean Water Act, a person who seeks to discharge -- have a water discharge into basically a water in the US, basically a river, a lake, is required to have a permit. And that permit is part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES. And so that’s we’re referring to when we’re talking about perhaps relying on those permits to do deal with integrity issues or surface impoundments.
And at this point, we -- another question we’ve had from a number of questioners, “Would states have the ability to pass rules that would be more stringent than the federal requirements?” And the answer is yes and if the state rules are more stringent than the federal, then they would precede the federal. That’s an authority that the states always have; they can do that under both Subtitle C and Subtitle D. So they do have that.
With that, I think that we have answered basically all the clarifying questions that we can at this time. I want to apologize for any sound issues. I understand that people did have some trouble hearing these and I apologize for that.
You do have another webinar next Thursday afternoon. We will be using the same presentation and again, encourage you to listen and submit additional clarifying questions if others occur to you. I do want to reiterate that you can submit comments to us and the comments go to the docket, and again, that is up on the screen right now, to Regulations.gov and on our website for registering for public hearings or for registering for the webinar next week.
And again, we thank you for your participation and look forward to receiving comments from all of you on this rule.