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FLASH: NEW EPA RULES ADOPTED - UST Training

June 22, 2015

om-logo2After years of review, the new Federal UST regulations have been adopted.  event pages in the near future.

Meanwhile here’s the condensed version (10 pages).

Here’s an email we received today from Carolyn Hoskinson, the head of EPA’s UST program:

Dear UST Colleagues (EPA Headquarters and Regions, States, Territories, Tribes, Industry, and Others):

I am writing to tell you that EPA’s updated underground storage tanks (UST) regulations are final and will be published soon in the Federal Register.  You can access these regulations via EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/oust/fedlaws/revregs.html, where you will find:

·         links to a pre-publication version of the signed regulations, regulatory impact analysis, and response to comments document;
·         a summary-level comparison of the 1988 UST regulation to the final 2015 UST regulation;
·         a redline strikeout version showing the final 2015 regulations imbedded into the existing regulations;
·         additional resources; and
·         once published, a link to the Federal Register version of the regulations.

As you recall, we initiated a process in 2007 to determine which areas to change in the 1988 regulations.  We reached out to a wide variety of interested and affected UST stakeholders and considered input from states, tribes, owners and operators, equipment manufacturers, industry groups, environmentalists, and community groups.  Following that intensive dialog, we issued proposed changes to the UST regulation in November 2011, accepted public comments for five months, and then carefully analyzed all the comments.  We are so appreciative of the time and effort that so many people put into giving us input before we wrote the proposal, and then sending in comments and meeting with us after the proposal was out.  Your input and the additional information you gave us have truly improved the quality of the final regulation.

Because of the rules and regulations that govern the process for federal regulation development, after the close of the comment period on April 6, 2012, we entered a long period of time when EPA was forbidden from talking to our stakeholders about what changes we were making from proposal to final as a result of all the helpful input and additional information that so many of you shared with us.  This was a very awkward and uncomfortable time for us in EPA’s UST program where we, from the beginning of time, have always placed a high value on collaboration, communication, and transparency.  I’m sure it was frustrating and awkward for many of you too!!  Thank goodness that phase of the process has now ended.

I hope that when each of you reads the final regulations, the explanations in the preamble, and the response to comments document, you will see how seriously we listened to what you told us, and see the changes that we made because of your input.  In some cases not all of you agreed on the best path forward, and we were left to use our best judgment and the best data we had available to make decisions on which way to go with certain provisions.  Yet, let me assure you at all times we based our decisions on these strong values:

·         balance important environmental protection with the reasonableness of the cost and complexity to our regulated community
·         focus on the highest priority areas that appear to continue to lead to ongoing releases from UST systems
·         allow flexibility whenever possible
·         rely on industry standards whenever possible
·         consider the implementation of these requirements and strive to make the requirements as straightforward as possible by things like
□        aligning due dates
□        writing in plain, easy-to-understand language

I’m sure that some of you will find areas where you wish we had gone another way, but it is my sincerest hope that on the whole you find that we were balanced and considerate in our decisions.

Issuing these revised regulations is, of course the first step.  Going forward, we will need to draw again upon our collaborative partnerships, as we will need assistance and cooperation from all stakeholders to implement these new requirements.  I look forward to working with you and others as we implement these UST program changes, which strengthen UST prevention and detection practices, increase emphasis on properly operating and maintaining UST equipment, and ensure parity in implementing the national UST program.  The new regulations will allow us to better prevent and detect releases from UST systems, and people’s health and our country’s environment will be better protected from UST releases.

Please contact me or Liz McDermott (mcdermott.elizabeth@epa.gov or 703-603-7175) of my staff with questions or for more information.

Lastly, I hope to see many of you at the National Tanks Conference in Phoenix in September where we can talk in person about these new regulations and all other things UST and LUST.

Carolyn Hoskinson, Director
Office of Underground Storage Tanks
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 

 

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