United States     Solid Waste and
            Environmental Protection Emergency Response
            Agency        (5305)
                     May 1994
Memorandum on the
Application of
Enhanced Public
Participation and
Stronger Combustion
                      Printed on paper that contains at
                      least 50% post-consumer recycled fiber



                        WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
                                                          OFFICE OF
                                                     SOLID WASTE AND EMERGENCY


Application of Enhanced  Public Participation and
Stronger Combustion Permitting Requiremer

Elliott Laws, Assistant  Administrate,

Regional Administrators,  I  -  X   Iff
     The Agency  is proposing the "RCRA Expanded Public
Participation  and Revisions to Combustion Permitting"  rule.
This proposal  represents a major step in our efforts to enhance
public involvement in the RCRA process, one of the key elements
of the Draft strategy on Hazardous Waste Minimization and
Combustion, announced by Administrator Browner last May.

     The principal goals of the proposed rule are:

     *    to provide more opportunities for public involvement in
          the  RCRA permitting process, both early on and
          throughout the decision-making process; and

     ••    to provide improved interim status combustion
          permitting procedures.

     In the spirit of the Administrator's desire to increase
public involvement,  I strongly encourage all EPA Regions to start
meeting the goals of the proposed rule as soon as possible.
Where EPA is the permitting authority, the Regions should begin
implementing those portions of the proposed rule that are to be
implemented by the permitting authority.  Among such provisions
are proposals  to:  issue  a notice upon receipt of a permit
application (proposed Section 124.32); conduct permitting
activities in  such a manner as to assure the opportunity for
meaningful participation by all segments of the public, including
non-English speakers (proposed Section 124.30); and issue "public
notices announcing the scheduled commencement and completion
dates of facility trial  burns (proposed Section 270.62). I
believe the Agency has discretionary authority to implement these
provisions on  a  case-by-case basis before the Agency promulgates
the final rule.
                                                     Primed with Soy/Canola Ink on paper mat
                                                     contains at least 50% recycled flb«r

      Where the State is the permitting authority, I would like
 the Regions to encourage the States to implement these provisions
 as well.  Many State programs have such provisions already.

      Where requirements proposed in the rule would fall on RCRA
 permit applicants EPA cannot require applicants to comply.
 However, I urge the Regions to encourage these applicants to meet
 the enhanced proposed requirements where feasible.   Among these
 are proposed requirements to require RCRA permit applicants  to
 hold pre-application meetings (proposed Section 124.31);  the
 provision providing for an information repository in certain
 instances (proposed Section 124.33); and the requirement  that
 interim status facilities submit proposed trial burn plans for
 approval with Part B of their RCRA permit applications (proposed
 Sections 270.19 and 270.74 (c)) .

      I am issuing this guidance  in light of  the rulemaking
 procedures that we must follow.   I anticipate a 60-day comment .
 period following the proposal, and then several more months  to
 respond to the coiments.   It,  therefore,  may be six to twelve
 months before the rule in promulgated as a final rule.  In the.
 interim,  unless the Regions and  States expeditiously begin to
 implement the goals of the proposal,  the public will not  have the
 expanded opportunities that the  rule would afford.

      As you know,  the interim status universe of BIFs and
 incinerators  is the Agency's top  priority in RCRA permitting.  We
 believe that  providing meaningful public involvement in the  RCRA
 permitting process and strengthening the combustion permitting
 process for interim status facilities is  consistent with  the
 Administrator's objectives and fortifies  the RCRA permitting
 process.                           ,  .

      The  proposal  should  be published in  the Federal  Register  in
 the coming weeks.   Copies will be sent directly to  all  Regions
 and States  to  facilitate  speedy implementation  of the goals  set

      I  appreciate  your  cooperation  in  promoting early and
 effective public involvement for  all  RCRA facilities  and a
 stronger  permitting process  for interim status  combustion
 facilities.  I  urge you to  consult with your  respective Offices
 of Regional Counsel on  the  application  of  these  goals in
 individual cases.  If you need any additional information about
this proposed rule, please  contact Victoria van  Roden of my  staff
at (703)  308-8623.

cc:  Michael Shapiro
     Matt Straus
     Devereaux Barnes
     Fred Chanania
     Patricia Buzzell

Larry Starfield, OGC
RCRA Branch Chiefs, Regions'! - X
RCRA Section Chiefs, Regions I- X
RCRA Public Involvement Network
RCRA ORC Branch Chiefs, Regions I-X