After evaluating the risk from electric power generation, transmission and distribution facilities, the EPA says no additional federal requirements are needed to cover the costs of possible hazardous substance releases.

Using the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 108(b), EPA analyzed the need for financial responsibility requirements for the electric power industry. The evaluation was based on the degree and duration of risk associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances in the industry. After completing its analyses, the agency concluded that the level of risk does not warrant financial responsibility requirements for this sector. This reflects EPA’s interpretation of the statute and EPA’s evaluation of the record for this proposed rule.

“After careful analysis, EPA believes that modern industry practices, along with existing state and federal regulations, address risks from operating electric power facilities and, therefore, CERCLA financial responsibility requirements are unwarranted,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By proposing no new financial requirements, we will be ensuring that no duplicative or unnecessary burdens fall on America’s energy producers.” 

Section 108(b) of CERCLA (also known as Superfund) directs EPA to develop regulations requiring classes of facilities to establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility to cover the costs associated with releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances from their facilities.

The proposal will be published in the Federal Register, and EPA invites stakeholders and the public to provide comments during a 60-day public comment period.

EPA is under a court-ordered deadline to take final action on this rulemaking by December 2, 2020. The agency is also working toward court-ordered deadlines for rulemakings addressing CERCLA 108(b) financial responsibility for two additional industries: Chemical Manufacturing, and Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing.

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