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The Universe of Solid Waste and its Regulatory Limits Under RCRA: Evolving Principles and "New Found" Applications

John D. Fognani, RCRA and CERCLA (1997)

1.The enactment of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (“RCRA”), amending the Solid Waste Disposal Act, created comprehensive environmental regulation of solid waste disposal. 42 U.S.C. § § 6901-6992k.

2.In 1984, RCRA was amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (“HSWA”), which created more stringent requirements for managing hazardous wastes (e.g., landfill liners, LDR requirements).

3.With RCRA's enactment, Congress believed it closed “the last remaining loophole in environmental law” regarding the unregulated land disposal of discarded materials and wastes. H.R. Rep. No. 1491, 94th Cong. 1st Sess. 4 (1976).

4.Congress found that prior to RCRA's enactment, environmental efforts focused on removal of pollutants from air and water, with resulting pollutants oftentimes placed or disposed on land in an environmentally unsound manner.