[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Federal legislation/policy affecting Michigan waste sites

Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com

Below is an alert on 4 different federal policy initiatives concerning 
waste management.   The alert was generated by David Lennett, 
a former Environmental Defense Fund attorney, who is now in 
private practice as an attorney consultant on waste regulation.

Lennett is the most vigorous, knowledgeable attorney-defender 
speaking for citizen concerns about waste management in the 
United States.

In the alert, Lennett touches on 4 different waste regulation issues
with application to Michigan:

1.   Steel industry acid wastes from National Steel on Zug Island, and 
the Inland Waters and other facilities operated by City Management/
Tony Souve.

2.  Oil field brines and drilling muds produced at oil drilling operations
throughout Michigan (and possibly also from sour gas plants in Michigan 
as well)

3.  Draft legislation that Congressman Stupak is entertaining that 
is being pushed by the hazardous waste burning cement industry and Lafarge
Corporation; and 
legislation being pushed by the National Governor's Association and
responsible parties for inept waste disposal  that would roll back the federal 
law requiring that hazardous wastes produced by cleanups and 
site remediation be sent to a hazardous waste landfill and/or 
thermal treatment facility, instead of being dumped in an ordinary landfill.

4.  Federal policy on how coal combustion wastes from Michigan coal fired
power plants will be disposed....these include massive ash dumps in 
Monroe, West Olive, Muskegon, Essexville, St. Clair, etc. and whether
these wastes should be more stringently regulated to contain such 
contaminants as arsenic and radionuclides found in coal fly ash.  

Citizens around the Consumers Energy Cambell plant in West Olive have
raised significant complaints about poor fly ash containment issues at
that site, including dust/air pollution and threats to surface and 

Message from Attorney Dave Lennett below:

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the Hazardous Waste Information Exchange.  This is the third
of what I hope will be many periodic summaries of important activities
involving hazardous and solid waste management at the federal and state
levels.  I hope you will continue spreading the word regarding its
existence, and will forward information or issues to me as they arise.

1.  On January 8, 1998, several national and state environmental groups
(EDF, NRDC, LEAN) petitioned EPA to repeal an exemption from RCRA
controls for wastewater treatment units (WTUs).  WTUs are tanks located
at industrial facilities used to store and treat hazardous wastewaters.
The discharge from the tanks is regulated under the Clean Water Act, but
the potential groundwater and air releases from the tanks are not
covered by that program.  The exemption was promulgated in 1980 without
public notice or an opportunity to comment, and was intended as a
"temporary" measure until EPA could develop groundwater protection and
air emission controls.  Those controls were never finalized.  As much as
1.5 billion tons of hazardous waste may be managed in exempt WTUs
annually, more than 5 times all the hazardous waste currently covered by
the national program.  I can e-mail a copy of the petition upon
request.  Letters of support would be appreciated, and should be
directed to the EPA Administrator.

2.  As a follow-up to the December 23 CBS special on oilfield wastes,
Chris Shuey of the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) is
preparing a letter to Administrator Browner requesting that the
Administration submit a bill to Congress that would repeal the RCRA
provision preventing EPA from regulating oilfield wastes without an Act
of Congress.  Because no other industrial waste enjoys a similar
restriction on EPA's regulatory authority, and oilfield wastes can pose
significant risks to human health and the environment, the statutory
exemption for oilfield wastes warrants an Administration response (let
alone that Browner essentially called for such action in the CBS
Special).  If you are interested in signing onto the letter, please
contact Chris Shuey of SRIC.  His e-mail address is sric@igc.org.

3.  EDF has prepared fact sheets on two terrible RCRA bills currently
circulating in the Congress.  One bill, prepared by Congressman Stupak
of Michigan, would authorize EPA to enter into sweetheart "enforceable
agreements" with the cement industry, instead of issuing RCRA rules, to
control the disposal of cement kiln dust (CKD).  The second bill drafted
by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, would exempt from RCRA regulation
ALL wastes generated during cleanup activities, no matter how toxic they
may be.  Under this bill, each state could regulate these wastes as it
sees fit, without any baseline national standards, or minimum level of
public participation.  For more information on either bill, please
contact Karen Florini of EDF.  Her e-mail address is

4.  In September of this year, EPA will be a submitting a Report to
Congress on whether and how wastes from fossil fuel combustion should be
regulated under RCRA.  Following the Report to Congress, EPA is required
to issue a final regulatory determination six months later.  This
proceeding may prove extremely important environmentally, not just
because the wastes are generated in very high volumes and contain heavy
metals and other toxic contaminants, but also because in the inadequate
regulation of these wastes will encourage the additional burning of
fossil fuel combustion wastes in direct conflict with global warming
concerns.  Friends of the Earth and the Hoosier Environmental Council
(HEC) are preparing to participate in this proceeding, and are
interested in locating other organizations who may also wish to
participate.  Please contact Matt Waldo of HEC for more information.
His e-mail is hecindy@indy.net.

Take care.

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  asagady@sojourn.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"