Beveridge & Diamond
 

RCRA’s Hazardous Waste Manifest System Enters the Electronic Age

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., October 12, 2012

On October 5, President Obama signed into law an amendment to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that will establish an electronic hazardous waste manifest system.  The electronic system will replace the current paper-based manifest system, which requires hazardous waste handlers to file multiple paper copies of hazardous waste manifests. 

The bill, known as the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, passed both chambers of Congress by unanimous consent and enjoys support from both industry and NGOs.  Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the bill’s author, stated that the current manifest system costs regulated parties between $200 million and $500 million per year.  EPA testified earlier this year that an electronic manifest system could save agencies and regulated parties more than $75 million per year.

The bill requires EPA to establish user fees to fund the e-manifest system by promulgating regulations in the next year.  The system itself would be operational within three years.

EPA originally proposed an optional paperless hazardous waste manifest system in 2001, but the system was never implemented.  The agency noted in subsequent years that there remained “a fairly broad consensus” in favor of an electronic system but that implementation of the system depended on increased funding or the authority to collect user fees.  With this Act, Congress has authorized EPA to collect user fees, and hazardous waste generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities will soon be able to manage the hazardous waste manifest system electronically.  Precisely how the e-manifest system will be implemented, including how the user fees will be collected, will be set forth in a proposed rule from EPA.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Richardson, 202-789-6066, ERichardson@bdlaw.com; Bethany French, 202-789-6042, BFrench@bdlaw.com; or Ryan Carra, 202-789-6059, RCarra@bdlaw.com

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