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U.S. EPA Hits Pause On CERCLA Vapor Intrusion Regulations

U.S. EPA has voluntarily withdrawn its proposed Hazard Ranking System ("HRS") rule that would have allowed regulators to list a site on the National Priorities List ("NPL") solely on the basis of the risks posed by vapor intrusion. The withdrawal occurred after the proposed rule had been sitting at the Office of Management & Budget ("OMB") for over two years without OMB taking any action on the proposed rule. A 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office estimated that as many as 37 sites might be eligible for NPL listing solely on the basis of vapor intrusion risks (although the report did not identify these 37 sites). Industry, however, was opposed to the draft rule, noting that many sites with vapor intrusion risks are already listed on the NPL due to other factors and that NPL listings are a poor means to address vapor intrusion sites which often require immediate action and are relatively straightforward to remediate (as opposed to the years of study and assessments that are typical for NPL sites). Notwithstanding its decision to withdraw its pending rule from OMB review, U.S. EPA indicated that it remains committed to submitting the proposed rule for consideration by OMB at a later date.

  By Steven M. Siros, Partner, Jenner & Block

Read more at Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog by Jenner & Block LLP.

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