On August 26, 2015, a group of environmental organizations notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their intention to file a lawsuit against the agency for failure to perform their nondiscretionary duties under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA grants EPA the power to control and regulate hazardous waste at all stage of the waste’s lifecycle, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.
In their claims, the environmental organizations argue that EPA has failed to modernize federal technical standards and guidelines associated with oil and gas wastes, which were last reviewed in 1988. Also, they allege that existing drilling state plan guidelines have not been updated since 1981, and that said federal standards and state guidelines must be reviewed on a three-year basis under RCRA. In their notice of intent, the environmental organizations declared that regulations “are outdated, contain generic provisions that do not specifically address issues relevant to the modern oil and gas industry, fail to adequately protect against potential harm to human health and the environment resulting from oil and gas operations, and urgently need review and revision by EPA.”
The lawsuit can proceed sixty days from EPA’s receipt of this notice of intent.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow