Join us on September 12-13 in Crystal City, Virginia
Join us on September 12-13 in Crystal City, Virginia
Following Scott Pruitt’s resignation late last week, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler assumed the role of acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 9. In his first address to EPA staff, Wheeler indicated that he would continue President Trump’s goals for the agency to reign in federal regulatory overreach and refocus EPA on its core responsibilities. AGC supported Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation as deputy administrator in a letter to the senate earlier this year.
Federal agencies recently have initiated action on several key environmental issues of importance to AGC of America’s contractor members from the Waters of the United States rulemaking to proposed new lead-dust standards and re-evaluating the procedural elements of the National Environmental Policy Act.
AGC Fights Back Against Obama-Era Rule that Would Have Slowed Project Approval
Following in the tradition of Presidents Bush’s “greening the government” and Obama’s “federal sustainability” efforts, President Trump ordered federal agencies to meet statutory requirements for environmental performance and prioritize actions that reduce waste and enhance the resilience of federal infrastructure and operations. Trump’s May 17 Executive Order Regarding Efficient Federal Operations takes a less prescriptive approach and provides agencies greater flexibility in meeting existing requirements than Obama’s now rescinded 2015 order – which set far-reaching goals for federal buildings and fleets beginning in 2016 through 2025 and beyond.
n May 21, AGC challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s consideration of using the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit program to regulate discharges to groundwater eventually making their way to a jurisdictional surface water.
On May 15, AGC put forth its support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to expand the universal waste regulations to include non-empty aerosol cans. Recognizing that aerosol cans are often the only hazardous waste stream produced on a construction site, this proposal could change a company’s status as a “generator” and reduce program costs and facilitate recycling.
From the repeal and replacement of the 2015 definition of Waters of the United States and opening up the National Environmental Policy Act procedures, to reevaluating regulations on listing species and designating critical habitat; the spring Unified Agenda sets a busy schedule for the year ahead.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to meet Clean Air Act deadlines to review, revise and implement national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) – with nitrogen oxides and ozone at the forefront of recent actions. President Trump recently issued a memo that directs the Agency and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to take a series of “actions” to facilitate state and industry compliance with NAAQS and reduce barriers to economic growth. This includes decisions for the air permits needed to construct new facilities or to expand or modernize existing facilities. The memo notes that these air construction permits have become increasingly difficult to obtain as NAAQS have become more stringent. The White House said in a press release that the “Administration will reform NAAQS implementation to provide States with a more efficient process and to promote economic growth."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a rule that would streamline the regulation of hazardous waste aerosol cans (currently managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C, generally because of their ignitability, and subject to stringent rules on handling transport and disposal) by adding them to the existing federal list of materials that can be managed under the universal waste management system. EPA’s universal waste rules provide a streamlined hazardous waste management system for common industrial wastes like batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and lamps. (“Authorized” states would choose whether or not to adopt the new universal waste rules into their state programs. Some states have already added them to their universal waste lists.) This would likely simplify handling and disposal for contractors and save firms money (e.g., no manifest required for transport). Notably, because aerosol cans are often the only hazardous waste stream produced on a construction site, classifying them as universal waste could change a company’s “generator status” and exempt it from RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste requirements. Universal wastes do not need to be counted toward a hazardous waste generator’s inventory for determining whether the generator is classified as a Very Small Quantity Generator, Small Quantity Generator, or Large Quantity Generator.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.
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