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Policies and Guidance Documents for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) State Authorization

EPA developed memos and documents that articulate specific Agency policies, or provide useful tools on topics related to state authorization. The below documents may assist states as they prepare authorization applications or assist EPA regions as they review these applications. Many of these documents were developed early in the implementation of the authorization program, and may also help state and regional staff understand the program.

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State Authorization Procedures and Enforcement Guidance

The below table includes documents that provide states and EPA assistance with state authorization procedures and review.

Title Date Description
Procedures for Issuing Immediate Final Rules to Authorize State Hazardous Waste Program Revisions June 1998 This document outlines the appropriate procedure for issuing immediate final rules to authorize revisions to State hazardous waste programs under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 271.21(b)(3).
Guidance for Using the New Streamlined Authorization Procedures for the Approval of Previously Promulgated Rulemakings April 1999 Reiterates the high priority Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (formerly Office of Solid Waste – OSW) places on State authorization by providing guidance that will enhance the use of the streamlined authorization procedure promulgated in the HWIR-media final rule.
Pilot Delegation of RCRA Subtitle C State Program Revision Authorizations to the Regions March 1991 In response to a request made by the Regional Waste Management Division Directors as well as the recommendation of the RCRA Implementation Study, we are fully delegating the responsibility for RCRA Subtitle C State program revision application review and authorization decisions to the Regions on a two year pilot basis.
Guidance on Delegation of Authorization Decisions December 1991 This memo discusses the roles of the Regions and Headquarters during delegation, describes oversight of the pilot program, and provides guidance on nationally significant issues.
Memorandum about Regional Certifications Made During the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C State Program Revision Authorization Process April 1997 During a RCRA Senior Policy Managers Meeting in Kansas City, there was a discussion regarding the certifications that are made by the Regions during the State Authorization Revision process. The result of this discussion was a general agreement that the certifications signed by both the Regional Waste Management Division Director and the Regional Counsel were no longer necessary and should be eliminated.
Clarification of EPA Policy on Authorizing Incomplete or Late “Clusters” Under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 271.21 and Availability of Public Information under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Section 3006(f) November 1992 Discussion of EPA authority to authorize states despite late submission of applications and the omission of some provisions from a cluster.
Memorandum about the Effect of State Audit Immunity/Privilege Laws on Enforcement Authority for Federal Programs February 1997 This memorandum addresses when enforcement and information gathering authority are adequate to approve or delegate programs in states with audit privilege/ immunity laws.
Memorandum on State Equivalence when Determining Equivalency of State Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Programs September 2005 This memorandum reaffirms EPA’s commitment to employing appropriate flexibility in the review of state programs. The issue of equivalency between the federal and state programs has been the subject of much discussion throughout the history of the RCRA program (see, for example, 61 FR 18822, April 29, 1996). However, the issue of how much a state program can differ from the federal program and still be considered equivalent has not been fully addressed. We believe the discussion of RCRA and the examples provided below will further inform the authorization review and decision making process.
Memorandum about Determining Whether State Hazardous Waste Requirements are More Stringent or Broader in Scope than the Federal RCRA Program December 2014 The purpose of this memorandum is to update EPA's guidance to the regional offices on determining whether state hazardous waste requirements are more stringent or broader in scope than the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations.

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Availability of Information

The below table include documents that provide states and EPA with assistance regarding availability of information issues.

Title Date Description
Effect on State Authorization of Hazardous Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) February 2000 This document expands on the discussion of Section 3006(f) in the preamble to the RCRA
Codification Rule and explains how EPA intends to determine whether States have satisfied the Section 3006(f) standards.
Interpretation of April 24, 1986 Draft Guidance on 3006(f) of RCRA July 1986 This memorandum is in response to an EPA Region 5 memorandum concerning EPA's draft guidance on Section
3006(f) of RCRA. The guidance requires States to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests within twenty days.
Region 5 asked whether States, whose statutes or regulations do not contain this requirement could agree to it in the MOA. You believe that this is a Procedural requirement for which an MOA agreement would be appropriate.
Summary of RCRA 3006(f) Issues 1986 This document provides a summary of the major issues that have been raised in reference to compliance
with RCRA §3006(f). It includes for illustration discussions of representative State cases - a number
of these have yet to be finally resolved.
Availability of Information Checklist (DOCX)(10 pp, 25 K) November 1984 This document provides a checklist corresponding to the federal availability of information requirements, and the components of a state’s authorization application in which they should be placed.

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Universal Waste

The table below includes documents that provide states and EPA with assistance regarding universal waste regulations. 

Title Date Description
Universal Waste Rule - Enforcement Issues & Addition of State-only Universal Wastes NA This memorandum deals with questions concerning wastes that are hazardous under the federal program.
Universal Waste Questions and Answers Document February 1997 This document presents a Universal Waste Questions and Answers Document. It addresses state authorization, and discusses the addition of wastes to the federal and state universal waste (UW) programs, fluorescent lamps (SEE ALSO: 64 FR 36466; 7/6/99), land disposal restrictions (LDR) recordkeeping requirements, the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act, batteries, pesticide collection programs, liability and enforcement, storage limits, mixtures of UW and hazardous waste, and manifesting.
The Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act. Public Law 104-142 May 1996 This document addresses the use of the area of contamination (AOC) concept during RCRA cleanups, and the relationship of an AOC to a corrective action management unit (CAMU). An AOC refers to a discrete area of generally dispersed contamination. This document also discusses the regulatory status of the CAMU rule in relation to the Hazardous Waste Identification Rule (HWIR)-Media and litigation (SEE ALSO: 63 FR 65873; 11/30/98); as well as the definition of placement.

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Corrective Action Guidance

The below table includes documents that provide states and EPA with assistance regarding corrective action.

Title Date Description
Reflecting RCRA Cleanup Reforms in MOAs Between EPA and States Authorized for Corrective Action April 2001 OSWER’s announcement of the RCRA Cleanup Reforms in July of 1999 emphasized a results-oriented focus, more flexible approaches, and meeting Environmental Indicators. On January 11, 2001, OSWER announced a second set of reforms that built upon the July 1999 reforms and added new initiatives to strengthen them. EPA’s operating agreements with State agencies should reflect and emphasize the RCRA Cleanup Reforms. For that purpose, as a component of the second round of reforms, EPA has developed the model language set forth in this memorandum for States to include in new or renegotiated Memorandum of Agreement (MOAs) where States are authorized for RCRA Corrective Action.
Remediation Memo Consolidating RCRA Policies on Corrective Action NA This memo provides three categories of information: information on regulations and policies that apply to all remediation waste; information on regulations and policies that apply only to contaminated media; and, information on regulations and policies that apply only to contaminated debris.

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Other Guidance Documents

The below table includes documents that provide states and EPA with assistance miscellaneous state authorization issues.

Title Date Description
Phase IV Effective Dates Memo October 1998 EPA clarifies the effective dates for major provisions of the land disposal restrictions (LDR) Phase IV rule (63 FR 28556; 5/26/98). The rule presents an unusually complex set of effective date considerations since portions of the rule are promulgated under HSWA and others are not, and some provisions are more stringent than current federal regulations and others are not. There is a general discussion of the issues surrounding the determination of the effective dates.
Clarifying State Delisting Authorization Status & Use of Checklist 17B NA In order to improve the quality of our delisting data, please review the attached StATS report for Checklist 17B and determine which States are actually authorized to  implement the delisting program, and which States have simply used the checklist to address how they treat
Federal delisting.
States' Adoption of Rules Involving HSWA Effective Dates NA State laws can not extend HSWA compliance dates. Since a State's listing or characteristic rule is generally promulgated after the Federal rule, the State's rule will usually have a later effective date. Thus the State's Part A submission/compliance deadline could be later than the Federal deadline, unless the State specifically adopted the Federal effective date or Federal compliance deadline.
Non-Delegability 3004(t) / Authorization Status of "Non-Checklist" Authorization NA The Permits and State Programs Division (PSPD), Office of Solid Waste and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) have reexamined the requirement for States to adopt and become authorized for counterparts to certain provisions in RCRA §3004(t) - Third Party Direct Action Against Financial Responsibility Insurers or Guarantors.
Guidelines for State Adoption of Federal RCRA Regulations by Reference December 2002 This document serves as a brief guideline for adopting the Federal code by reference. It was developed from 1) information found in EPA’s State Authorization Manual (SAM), checklists, and guidance materials from Region 9's Office of Regional Counsel; 2) input from Debra Craig, Region 2 and Jerry Sanger, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; and 3) working with regulations as part of State authorization package review.

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