The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today approved a group of commonsense bills that seek to improve environmental regulations and increase state authority in certain regulatory programs. The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, and the Federal Facility Accountability Act were all approved by voice vote. The Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act was approved by a vote of 11-7. The four bills now move to the full committee for consideration.
"This subcommittee is committed to modernizing environmental statutes such as RCRA and CERCLA by considering whether existing statutory deadlines are workable and acknowledging that in the years since these environmental statutes were enacted, states have come a long way in developing their own regulatory programs to protect human health and the environment," said Shimkus. "These four bills further that goal by creating a new model for environmental permit programs, removing outdated deadlines or deadlines that pose a significant regulatory burden and by making sure states have a meaningful role in cleanups."
The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, authored by Rep. David McKinley, provides a practical alternative to EPA's 2010 proposal to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste by creating a state-based program that sets enforceable federal standards. Learn more about the legislation here.
The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, authored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), eliminates red tape and provides greater regulatory certainty by eliminating two unnecessary deadlines under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The legislation also protects the financial responsibility requirements of states and other federal agencies by ensuring that financial responsibility requirements promulgated by EPA under CERCLA will not preempt existing requirements unless EPA determines it is necessary.
The Federal Facility Accountability Act, authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), would require federal facilities to comply with relevant state and local laws in doing a CERCLA cleanup. The legislation would also provide for a process by which EPA can review, or a state can request a review by EPA, of actions taken pursuant to delegated CERCLA authority.
The Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act, authored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), increases states participation in the superfund process by amending CERCLA provisions relating to state consultation on removal and remediation actions, state concurrence with listing on the National Priorities List, and state credit for contributions to the removal or remediation action.
Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) added, "Today we took a key step toward enacting four pieces of important legislation to protect human health and the environment, reduce red tape, protect jobs, and improve the partnership between the federal and the state governments. We have a strong working relationship with our states, and these bills reflect that ongoing partnership."