Friday, September 17, 2010
USEPA Streamlines Enforceable Consent Agreement Process
But EPA and industry alike have been frustrated by the time it takes to negotiate the ECA. So yesterday the EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register. It not only allows EPA to set a firm deadline on when negotiations must end, but also changes how EPA can initiate the discussion. The rule becomes effective on October 18, 2010.
The new ECA rule is just one of many steps the EPA has taken in the last two years to take full advantage of the authority it has under the Toxic Substances Control Act. In the past EPA has been slow to push its authority, and in fact has been rather gun-shy about mobilizing resources for efforts it felt would just be for naught anyway (10 years of work to ban asbestos and then have it voided by the courts will do that to an Agency). But times have changed, at least EPA believes they have changed. Industry has been supportive of a modernization of TSCA, and while the legislative process on developing a new law is painstakingly slow, they seem less inclined to challenge EPA's new-found assertiveness.
Of course, the election may change that.