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Hazardous Waste Export and Import Regulations Get EPA Overhaul

Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Oct. 28 a final rule updating its regulations to streamline the hazardous waste export and import process, implement mandatory electronic reporting for international shipments, and electronically link export information. Highlights of this rule include the following.

- A single set of requirements – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s more stringent requirements for controlling transboundary movements – will apply to all U.S. hazardous waste exports and imports.

- The consent to export will be linked with the electronic export information submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, providing more efficient monitoring of compliance.

- Electronic reporting to the EPA will be mandatory, enabling increased sharing of export and import data with state programs, the general public, and individual exporters and importers. Some electronic reporting will be required as of Dec. 31 but the full range will not be mandatory until the electronic reporting functions are built and beta tested.

- Hazardous waste imports and exports will occur under contracts between exporters and management facilities and with the written approval of the country of import.

- International shipments must be tracked from start to finish, which will reduce misdirection to unapproved facilities.

Separately, the EPA has approved a proposed rule that would require exporters and facilities that receive hazardous waste from foreign sources to maintain a single publicly accessible website where they post confirmations of receipt and confirmations of completed recovery or disposal of individual shipments. This rule would also exclude certain hazardous waste import and export documents from confidential business information claims.

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