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EPA Denies Petition to Withdraw Idaho’s Hazardous Waste Program

Release Date: 3/20/2002
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

March 20, 2002

The Northwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it is denying a citizen petition to withdraw the state’s EPA-authorized hazardous waste program which regulates the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
On September 13, 2001, the EPA received a petition from Keep Yellowstone Nuclear Free, the Environmental Defense Institute, and Attorney David McCoy to withdraw the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s (IDEQ) authorized Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste program. The petition alleged that the IDEQ failed to enforce hazardous waste regulations at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) in southeastern Idaho where nuclear and hazardous waste is stored and processed.

In response to the petition, the EPA’s offices in Seattle and Washington, D.C. reviewed IDEQ’s permitting and enforcement actions at the INEEL and determined that the state’s program is effective.

Rick Albright, Director of EPA’s Region 10 Office of Waste and Chemicals Management, said that while he understands the concerns expressed by KYNF and EDI, the EPA review of IDEQ’s permitting and enforcement program shows that the state is performing in accordance with applicable hazardous waste regulations.

“Actually, it looks like the state is doing a very good job,” Albright said. “As long as IDEQ continues to issue permits in a timely fashion, we’re confident that its experts should continue to be in the lead for implementing hazardous waste laws. ”