Final Rule: Confidentiality Determinations for Hazardous Waste Export and Import Documents
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The EPA Administrator signed the Confidentiality Determinations for Hazardous Waste Export and Import Documents final rule on December 11, 2017 and it was published in the Federal Register (FR) on December 26, 2017.
With this rule, EPA is amending existing regulations regarding the export and import of hazardous wastes from and into the United States. Specifically, this rule applies a confidentiality determination such that no person can assert confidential business information (CBI) claims for documents related to the export, import, and transit of hazardous waste and excluded cathode ray tubes (CRTs). EPA is making these changes to apply a consistent approach in addressing confidentiality claims for export and import documentation. The rule will result in cost-savings and greater efficiency for EPA and the regulated community as well as facilitate transparency with respect to the documents that are within the scope of this rulemaking. EPA is not finalizing the internet posting requirement in the proposed rule.
EPA has established and administers regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governing the shipment of hazardous waste within the United States and with other countries. Compliance with these regulations involves completion of documentation by hazardous waste exporters and receiving facilities of hazardous waste from foreign sources to ensure the proper tracking of hazardous waste from its point of generation to its final destination.
In 2016, EPA developed a proposal to develop a consistent approach to addressing confidentiality claims for and facilitate transparency to export and import documentation. The proposed rule aimed to:
- Apply confidentiality determinations such that no person can assert CBI claims for documents related to the export, import, and transit of hazardous waste and excluded CRTs; and
- Require exporters of hazardous waste and receiving facilities recycling or disposing hazardous waste from foreign sources to maintain a publicly accessible website to upload documents regarding the confirmation of receipt and confirmation of completed recovery or disposal of hazardous waste export and import shipments.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on November 28, 2016 (81 FR 85459).
EPA is not finalizing the proposed internet posting requirement to require web posting of confirmations of receipt and confirmations of recovery or disposal, which document the receipt and completed management of hazardous waste exports and imports. This proposed requirement was intended to be in effect on a temporary basis while EPA develops its Waste Import Export Tracking System (WIETS) to be able to receive electronic submittals of confirmations of receipt and confirmations of recovery or disposal. Recognizing that the internet posting requirement would be superseded when exporters and receiving facilities are required to submit confirmations electronically, EPA decided to avoid the potential confusion, as described by some public commenters, that may result from requiring companies to upload documents on their websites on a temporary basis.