EPA seeks input on a draft revision of RCRA Public Participation Manual

Last edition published in 1996

Posted August 24, 2016

EPA has published a draft 2016 edition of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Public Participation Manual. The manual was last updated in 1996.

The manual explains how public participation works in the RCRA hazardous waste permitting process (including corrective action), and how community members, regulators and industry can collaborate to make it more effective. The manual reviews regulatory requirements, and provides policy guidance to help implement the RCRA program. In addition, the updated manual describes a wide assortment of activities to enhance public participation, highlights the use of digital and social media, provides a guide to integrate public participation into the permit modification process, and incorporates lessons learned and best practices. It furthers EPA’s commitment to promoting community involvement and transparency.

The manual provides detailed descriptions for dozens of public participation techniques — required and optional, formal and informal.

  • Regulators — The manual provides specific details about public participation requirements and outlines EPA's current policies. It also explains activities to help provide better information to the public, and to invite more public input into hazardous waste permitting work. The manual provides tips for opening up dialogue with other stakeholders, for assessing communities and being sensitive to their concerns, and for planning public participation strategies.
  • Individual residents and communities or the public — The manual describes the many public participation activities required by federal hazardous waste permitting regulations. It also points out steps that agencies, facility owners/operators and public interest groups may take to provide more public input into the permitting process. It includes useful tips on interacting with other stakeholders and conducting public involvement activities.
  • Hazardous waste facilities (treatment, storage and disposal facilities) and corrective action sites (regulated facilities) — The manual describes when and how to conduct public participation events required by RCRA. It describes opportunities facility owner/operators can provide that go beyond the requirements, as well as insights into how to cooperate and communicate with other stakeholders. The manual will be helpful to many that have or are setting up public participation programs.

On Wednesday, August 24, 2016, from 1-2 p.m. EDT, EPA will host a conference call seeking input on the draft 2016 edition of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Public Participation Manual. To join the conference, call: (866) 299-3188 and use conference ID# 7033087033. Input may also be submitted to RCRAPPM@epa.gov by September 9, 2016.

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