Property owners conducting Superfund or Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) clean-up operations are waiting to hear how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will modify its policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. EPA issued guidance on March 26, 2020 explaining how COVID-19 will affect its enforcement discretion policies. That document, however, explicitly carved out Superfund and RCRA stating they would be addressed separately. EPA is expected to release this guidance soon.
EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) released internal guidance on March 19, 2020 for clean-up sites run by EPA directly which is expected to be the template for the public document. OLEM’s guidance called for, among other things, social distancing measures and increased situational awareness.
As it stands, EPA’s expectations of its public sector partners and their clean-up efforts is unclear. Many are struggling to maintain normal operations and meet pre-COVID-19 deadlines. For example, state and local government stay-at-home orders complicate operations because some classify RCRA and Superfund contractors as “essential,” while other states do not.
Affected property owners are advised to abide by EPA’s internal guidance until its public recommendations are released.
Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.