White House clears EPA rewrite of hazardous waste rule

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved a regulation that seeks to strengthen federal standards for recycling hazardous waste.

The rule to change the definition of solid waste under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards would partially roll back a 2008 rule from the final months of the Bush administration.


The 2008 rule loosened federal authority over some hazardous waste from industries like mining, agriculture and industrial operations, in what the EPA said was an effort to increase the recycling of those substances.

The Obama administration quickly started the process of changing the 2008 rule and proposed new restrictions in 2011 under pressure from environmentalists who said it puts an unequal burden on low-income and minority communities near waste sites.

Representatives from industries like oil and chemical manufacturing have pushed back against the agency’s revisions.

OMB's review is the final step before the EPA can publicize the final rule.