JUNE 2011

Recyclers ask EPA to revise stormwater permitting

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to retract its November, 2010 Guidance Memorandum that encourages state permitting authorities to measure industrial stormwater discharges through numeric effluent limits rather than use the traditional and effective best management practices (bmp) approach.

“This memorandum goes well beyond simply updating a policy as EPA suggests,” said ARA’s CEO Michael E. Wilson. “Rather, it appears to represent a major shift in how best to measure stormwater discharges – a change that ARA believes to be wholly unnecessary and done in an inappropriate manner,” Wilson added.

ARA made this request in response to EPA’s invitation to concerned stakeholders to comment on its Memorandum – an invitation tendered only after EPA received numerous objections that they had not been made aware of the change nor given an opportunity to comment before it was finalized. In its communication to EPA, ARA voiced serious concerns about the procedural process surrounding the Guidance Memorandum as well as the potential negative impacts of the EPA’s stormwater measurement recommendations on both the environment and the industry.

ARA believes that rulings of past court cases and the provisions of both the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 and recent Presidential Executive Orders require that EPA follow the formal notice and comment rulemaking process for a change of this significance.

Even more importantly however, ARA asserted that if the appropriate rulemaking procedures had been followed initially, then EPA would have heard real world examples of how the longstanding process of measuring stormwater discharges through best management practices and benchmarks is far more effective than the proposed system of numeric effluent limits. Further, as part of this process, EPA would have realized that the automotive recycling industry and others with stormwater discharges are committed to protecting our nation’s waterways – but they need the proper tools to do so.