November 21, 2023

Incorporating Climate Change Adaptations During RCRA Corrective Action

EPA’s 2021 climate adaptation plan established priority actions for cli-mate impacts in the agency’s programs, policies, rulemaking efforts, and enforcement activities. In October 2022, EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) released its climate adaptation implementation plan, calling for climate change impacts to be considered as part of the corrective action process. The agency then issued a draft memorandum on corrective action and climate change adaptations on October 18, 2023.

The draft memo reviews the stages of corrective action where climate change impacts and risks can be considered. Starting with RCRA facility assessments, investigations, and corrective measures studies, climate change impacts can be evaluated by reviewing factors such as:

During the remedy selection and implementation stages of corrective action, adverse climate change impacts should be considered based on the results from the climate vulnerability assessment. Remedies should also be adaptive, allowing for evaluation and changes over time. EPA emphasizes the two-phased evaluation approach for final remedy selection. The first phase addresses four specific “remedy threshold criteria,” and the second phase covers five “balancing criteria.” Remedy implementation should then ensure the long-term integrity of the constructed remedies, consistent with the adaptive approach during the remedy selection.

Long-term stewardship reviews can assess the adaptive capacity of the implemented remedies. Any problems or vulnerabilities identified after the remedy implementation can be considered and addressed at this point.

EPA’s draft memo includes a list of climate adaptation strategies to be used in the corrective action process. A few examples include:

Comments on this draft memo may be submitted through November 17, 2023, to RCRApost@epa.gov with the subject line “Comments on draft memo Integrating Climate Change Adaptation Considerations into the RCRA Corrective Action Process.”

 


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Considerable care has been exercised in preparing this document; however, McCoy and Associates, Inc. makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with the publication of this information. McCoy and Associates, Inc. expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal law or regulation with which this information may conflict. McCoy and Associates, Inc. does not undertake any duty to ensure the continued accuracy of this information.

This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.