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Toxic & Hazardous Wastes. Waste Materials: Many Types. Radioactive (nuclear) Hazardous, toxic Biological Liquid, solid Just plain . Waste Materials: Many Issues. Where to put it? A highly politicized question. Danger of environmental contamination Sheer volume NIMBYism

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waste materials many types
Waste Materials: Many Types
  • Radioactive (nuclear)
  • Hazardous, toxic
  • Biological
  • Liquid, solid
  • Just plain
waste materials many issues
Waste Materials: Many Issues
  • Where to put it? A highly politicized question.
    • Danger of environmental contamination
    • Sheer volume
    • NIMBYism
    • Fairness (justice) issues
      • US
      • International (mainly North-South) transport
many issues cont
Many Issues, cont.
  • Resource depletion/valuable materials in waste
    • Petroleum
    • Metals
  • Disposal sites
    • Abandoned sites
    • Criminal activity
traditional approach
Traditional Approach
  • Problem conceptualized as a siting & a public health issue, & largely under local jurisdiction
    • Zoning boards
    • Public health departments (districts, etc.)
    • General purpose jurisdictions (counties, cities, townships, etc.)
  • With some state government oversight
traditional approach cont
Traditional Approach, cont
  • Specific areas would be zoned for waste disposal activity, possibly subject to local public health regulations
  • Would be users could apply for variances if they wished to engage in a non conforming activity
problems with the traditional approach
Problems With The Traditional Approach
  • Expertise???
  • Enforcement
    • Variances were easy to obtain
    • Non conforming activities often ignored
    • Due to
      • Low priority
      • Susceptibility to political & economic pressure
resolving the problems
Resolving The Problems
  • Federalization, but with limits
    • Zoning boards & public health agencies still play traditional roles, e.g. Landfill siting in Dayton/Montgomery County
    • Federal involvement (preemption) in some issue areas, e.g. Montgomery County waste incinerators
  • Several key laws
solid waste disposal act 1965
Solid Waste Disposal Act (1965)
  • Left authority to regulate ordinary wastes with states, but offered
  • Federal $ and technical assistance
resource conservation recovery act of 1970 rcra
Resource Conservation & Recovery Act of 1970 (RCRA)
  • Aimed at the disposal of hazardous substances
  • Federal $ to build disposal facilities
  • Federal research $
rcra amendments 1976
RCRA Amendments, 1976
  • For all wastes:
    • Ordered closing of open dumps
    • Landfills, recycling, incineration, etc. to be substitutes
  • For hazardous/toxic wastes:
    • Required licensing of hazardous/toxic waste handlers (expertise, insurance, financial capacity)
    • Required “cradle to grave” tracking of all such wastes
toxic substances control act of 1976
Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976
  • And its 1986 amendments
  • Aimed at the creation and production of hazardous substances
  • Requires
    • Data gathering on production & use
    • Testing & screening of new and existing substances
    • Controls on use of hazardous substances
    • Controls on asbestos
superfund 1980
Superfund (1980)
  • A.K.A. the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • An effort to deal with existing abandoned toxic/hazardous waste sites
  • Required identification & listing of high priority sites via the National Priority List (NPL)
superfund cont
Superfund, cont.
  • Provided for federal direct action
    • Immediate removal of certain wastes
    • Planning for removal of all other wastes
    • Required remedial action (e.g. topsoil removal, groundwater filtration) after waste removal
superfund cont16
Superfund, cont.
  • Originally provided $16 Billion in a revolving fund to do this
    • Some from an earmarked tax on certain chemicals, the rest from the federal government’s general funds
    • Plus a 10% match from the governments of the states in which Superfund cleanups are conducted
superfund cont17
Superfund, cont.
  • Monies expended on clean ups to be replenished by responsible parties
  • Responsible (liable) parties include
    • Site’s owner(s)
    • All parties that had dumped materials at site, or produced wastes dumped at the site
  • All responsible parties are fully liable (strict liability)
superfund renewal
Superfund Renewal
  • Superfund Amendments & Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA)
  • In response to
    • Serious implementation problems
    • Enormous number of sites
    • Almost no sites actually cleaned up
    • Difficulties in identifying liable parties
    • Liable parties resistance to making payments
superfund renewal cont
Superfund Renewal, cont.
  • $85 Billion
  • New (stricter) cleanup standards
  • Notification (to local governments & communities) requirements
continued funding debate
Continued Funding Debate
  • Authorization for corporate taxes to support trust fund expired in 1995
  • Pres. Clinton tried, but failed, several times to renew them
  • Pres. Bush announced in February, 2002, that it would not ask Congress to reauthorize these taxes
    • Not necessarily opposed in principle, but has concerns about current program
    • Supporters of the taxes are also concerned
funding debate
Funding Debate
  • Bush administration’s (& some Congressional Republicans) concerns
    • Litigation costs waste funds
    • Strict liability
    • Taxes on some industries to pay for pollution caused by others
  • Critics of the Bush administration’s concerns
    • Letting polluters off without payment (disincentive to clean up?)
    • Draining funds from other worthy projects to pay for Superfund projects
  • International waste transport
    • Primarily a North-South (richer-poorer) phenomenon
    • Safety (transportation & disposal)
    • Expertise of receiving nations
    • Disclosure
  • Contamination of international resources, especially the oceans
international transport a key agreement
International Transport: A Key Agreement
  • The Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1989
  • Supplemented by Rotterdam Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Convention in 1998
basel convention
Basel Convention
  • Deals with the generation, transport & disposal of hazardous wastes
  • Especially problematic in Europe/Africa
  • UNEP is the secretariat
  • U.S. a minor exporter, but originally a strong opponent of any limits on export. Signed the treaty after it was modified, but has not yet ratified.
basel convention cont
Basel Convention, cont.
  • Had a slow start
    • Negotiated 1987 - 1989
    • Did not take effect until 1992, & then none of the major exporting nations had ratified
  • Originally a weak regime
    • Parties to the agreement made no effort to restrict the trade
    • Originally only required that recipient nations understood risks, etc. (informed consent)
basel convention cont27
Basel Convention, cont.
  • Then it grew some teeth
    • Total ban on hazardous waste exports adopted by 1994 Council Of Parties (COP) to the Convention
    • Unilateral bans on exports by key actors
      • U.S. (a policy change)
      • Western & Central European nations
basel convention cont28
Basel Convention, cont.
  • As a result of
    • African nations unified front (e.g. Bamako Convention: 12 nations agreed to ban such imports)
    • Pressure by former colonies on their corresponding European nation
    • G77 (Group of 77 developing nations) pressure on members to refuse to accept such imports
rotterdam prior informed consent pic convention
Rotterdam Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Convention
  • Listed (hazardous) substances may only be exported from one country to another with the permission of the receiving state’s government
  • Not strictly limited to wastes
  • As of 2004, 41 products are listed, and 70 nations are party to the treaty
  • Chrysotile (the most important form of asbestos) is not listed – a source of controversy
  • Again, U.S. has signed, but not ratified
contamination of international resources the oceans
Contamination Of International Resources: The Oceans
  • Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Dumping Convention)
  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 & 1978 (MARPOL)
london dumping convention
London Dumping Convention
  • Deals with marine pollution caused by dumping wastes generated on land
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO), London, is the secretariat
  • Adopted in 1972, entered into force in 1975
  • By 1991, had been ratified by 65 nations
london dumping convention cont
London Dumping Convention, cont.
  • Required that nations establish permit systems for dumping some types of wastes (e.g. municipal waste)
  • Adopted a voluntary ban on dumping of others (especially radioactive)
  • Deals with marine dumping of wastes generated by ships themselves
    • Petroleum cargo
    • Human wastes
    • Bilge water
  • Involves both environmental pollution & maritime safety issues
marpol cont
MARPOL, cont.
  • Requires signatory parties to inspect & certify ships before allowing them to be registered (i.e. allowing them to fly the national flag)
  • Requires periodic follow-up inspections (twice within 5 years)
marpol cont35
MARPOL, cont.
  • Requires construction of waste disposal facilities at maritime ports
  • Allows boarding & inspection of ships entering ports
marpol cont36
MARPOL, cont.
  • Enforcement is carried out by signatory parties, e.g.
    • Canadian Coast Guard boards all vessels entering St. Lawrence River
    • Checks ship’s log, shipping manifests
    • Checks ship’s holds, tanks, bilges
    • Enforces both Canadian & U.S. inland waters regulations
  • Secretariat is IMO, London