Jerry Desmond, Desmond & Desmond LLC
March 31, 2016
Following the introduction of 2,000 new bills in February, initial policy committee hearings on most of those measures are being held this week and through the next three weeks. Key legislation impacting our interests include:
- AB 2794 [Santiago] & possibly through the state budget process – that would amend Section 25205.7 of the Health and Safety Code to eliminate the current flat fee option for the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) hazardous waste permits.
- SB 654 [DeLeón] – that would require submittal of DTSC hazardous waste facility permit renewals two years prior to the expiration date and would establish a maximum extension of 36 months.
- AB 1063 [Williams] – that would Increase the solid waste tipping fee imposed on operators of disposal facilities from up to $1.40 per ton to $4 per ton, beginning in 2017.
- SB 3 [Leno] – as this article is being written, the Legislature is quickly passing to the Governor this bill to increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022, with annual increases thereafter tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) [not to exceed 3.5% per year], together with a one-year delay for small businesses with less than 25 employees.
On the regulatory front, DTSC has been quite active. As required by the enactment of SB 83 last year, an Independent Review Panel (IRP) has been established, and has held several meetings as it reviews and makes recommendations regarding improvements to permitting, enforcement, public outreach, and fiscal management. Recommendations are anticipated to address permitting and other issues. The next meeting will be held on April 7, 2016.
DTSC has issued a “Draft Violation Scoring Procedure” intended to clarify how DTSC will utilize a facility’s compliance history to deny or revoke a permit within a transparent process. The new scoring procedure would apply to Class I violations by permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, as determined through DTSC inspections.
Valuation would be based on two criteria: extent of deviation, and potential for harm. The scores of each inspection would be summed over a period of time. Additional factors would include: intent; repeat violations; environmental justice considerations; and compliance with other environmental requirements.
We are cautiously optimistic that this informal draft proposal will not proceed to a formal proposal until later this year.
Significant Proposition 65 – related regulatory proceedings also continue. These include separate California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) regulatory proceedings towards listing nickel, significantly revising the regulations pertaining to warnings, and other issues, as well as a Department of Justice proceeding to revise its enforcement regulations.
Recent political developments at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) have led to the departure of long-time executive director Barry Wallerstein and the possible selection of a more business-minded individual.
These developments could impact on the one-year extension the associations obtained by the SCAQMD and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on the ability to use PFOS-based fume suppressants in chrome plating/anodizing equipment until September 21, 2016 or until a non-PFOS based fume suppressant substitute has been certified.
Discussions continue as the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) explores a proposal it is contemplating that would move away from a flat fee of approximately $1790 per site to a tiered fee that could vary based possibly on acreage (industrial square footage), permeable square footage, complexity of the facility or compliance.