October 15, 2015

OIG: EPA Doesn’t Effectively Control Imports of Hazardous Waste

According to a report issued by EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) on July 6, 2015, EPA is unable to confirm that all imported hazardous waste shipments reach their intended destinations. Furthermore, the agency is unable to ensure that imported shipments are received only by properly permitted facilities and to determine whether there are any lost or unaccounted for shipments. Finally, the agency lacks authority to stop shipments from coming into the country without its consent.

The OIG report recommends certain procedures to improve the monitoring and control of imported hazardous waste and also recommends that the agency seek explicit statutory authority to prevent the import of hazardous waste without prior EPA consent. The full report, entitled EPA Does Not Effectively Control or Monitor Imports of Hazardous Waste, is available online.

Note that some of the above OIG concerns and recommendations will likely be addressed in the proposed revisions to the hazardous waste export-import rules, signed on September 24, 2015 by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. EPA has provided a summary, answers to frequent questions, and a prepublication copy of that proposed rule.


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