To construct and operate a smelter in the United States of America, one is required to apply for several environmental permits. RRE International wants to build and operate a smelter in the City of Riverside. This company is establishing its first presence in the United States of America and therefore, it needs to be offered guidance on how to go about it to obtain the environmental permits. This is the purpose of this paper. In this paper, guidance is going to be offered on how RRE International is to obtain the permits under the CAA to build and operate the smelter, a permit under the CWA to discharge into the Long Trout River, and a permit under RCRA to store and transport hazardous waste to a TSDF. For each of these permits, the company is going to be given information on what the permit process is, what the company needs to do in order to secure the permits and the opportunities for public comment. The company will also be given information on the steps in the administrative adjudication process should any of these permits be challenged by a local environmental group. The last part of the paper will give information about if mediation is an option that should be considered if any of the permits are challenged under the administrative adjudication process.
Permits under the CAA
Under the CAA, there are required for two main kinds of air pollution permits and these are the construction permit as well as the operation permit. All the new stationary sources require construction and operating permits. In most cases, permits are given out by a local or state agency in charge of the environmental matters, especially air pollution, in the region where the source is (“Air permits”, 2012). The “Environmental Protection Agency” plays a role as the permitting authority in particular cases (“Air permits”, 2012).
Permits have particular requirements that the companies need to meet in order to “operate pollution control equipment, monitor and limit pollution emissions, and report violations” (“Air permits”, 2012, p.1). For the operating permits, the company looking for the permits needs to carry out compilation of all air pollution requirements that are applicable at the source. The permitting process also encompasses the review undertaken by the public of the operating and constructing permits that are proposed (“Air permits”, 2012).
The construction and operating permits have a “thirty-day public comment period and a 45 day EPA review period” (“Air permits”, 2012, p.1). The starting point for the review tor EPA and the public may be similar and this can actually accelerate the process of granting the permits. When the review of the permits is undertaken by EPA, it makes recommendations to either the local or state permitting authority on how to make improvements on the permits as well as the changes which have to be undertaken before issuance of the permits.
In case a decision is made by EPA that the permits applied for do not give guarantee of conformity with the requirements, this agency will make objection to the granting of the permit in the course of “its 45-day review period” (“Air permits”, 2012, p.1). In case the EPA makes objection, the authority that issues permits is given ninety days within which it has to engage in amend the permit basing on the EPA directions. In case this is not done by the air agency, EPA takes the responsibility of permitting and gives out or refuses to give out the permit (“Air permits”, 2012, p.1).
If there is no objection to permits by EPA, a community member or members may engage in petitioning the EPA for it to object in the course of a period of sixty days after the expiry of the time of reviewing. Such a petition has to be made on the basis of the concerns presented in the course of the time the public was presenting comments, if not that at that time, it wasn’t convenient to bring up such concerns or justification for objection came up after the expiry of the period during which there was a public comment (“Air permits”, 2012).
“Permit Under the CWA to Discharge into the Long Trout River”
In order for a company to receive a CWA permit, it has to show that the dredged matter discharge would not cause degradation of the United States’ waters to a considerable level and that realistic alternatives that are less destructive to the water environment are not available. The applying company is also supposed to explain the initiatives they have undertaken in order to reduce the impacts to the waters and offer suitable and feasible alleviation, like the creation and restoration of wetlands for whatever remaining and unavoidable impacts. There will be no issuing of permits for the applications which are established to be against the interest of the general interest.
The issuing of the standard permits can be carried out when the case is that determination is made by the “USACE District Engineer” that the activity that is proposed is not against the interests of the general public ((“What is CWA Section 404?”, 2012). Notice to the public is given out by the USACE in the course of a 15-day duration after the application for the permit is received. The notice to the general public gives description of the planned activity, where it is to be set up, the possible impact on the environment, and welcomes the comments in the course stated time duration which does not exceed thirty days. The opportunity to give comments on the activity that is proposed is presented to the public and other interested parties (“What is CWA Section 404?”, 2012).
Permit Under RCRA to Store and Transport Hazardous Waste to a TSDF
The RCRA permit is defined as “a legally binding document that establishes the waste management activities that a facility can conduct and he conditions under which it can conduct them” (“The hazardous permitting process”, 2012, p.1). This permit gives an outline of the facility’s design as well as operation. It also lays out the safety principles and gives a description of the activities which has to be carried out by the facility. All the facilities, including RRE International, that have to store and transport hazardous waste have to obtain this permit. The new TSDFs have to obtain a permit prior to commencing on construction. They have to provide evidence that they are in a position to engage in managing the perilous waste in a harmless way and also in a responsible manner. A permit application review is carried out by the agency that issues a permit makes a decision to issue or not to issue the permit. When the permit is given out, it may last for a period of up to a decade.
The process of receiving “the permit for a hazardous waste management facility needs great effort and a lot of time” (“The hazardous permitting process”, 2012, p.1). The company applying for the permit has to look at the RCRA rules keenly when setting up and undertaking submission of the applications and making preparation of activities for public participation. The agency responsible for issuing permits has to engage in reviewing the permit application in order to make sure the application is deficient in any way, is sufficient and saves the environment as well as public health from harm. It has also to engage in the organizing of the review in order to make sure there is the participation of the public. The general public is supposed to be having knowledge about the permit-issuing procedure and take part in this process or procedure in order for the community concerns to be presented and dealt with. These efforts of organization will assist in ensuring that the American people together with their environment have maximum protection (The hazardous permitting process”, 2012).
Administrative Adjudication Process Should Any of These Permits Be Challenged By a Local Environmental Group
Any person who has been denied any of the environmental permits may decide to request for administrative hearing as the statute provides. The appeals for issuing a permit or the ultimate denial of a “Waste Management Act permit must be filed in writing within 30 days of issuance with the AAD for environmental matters”(“Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure“, 2012, p.22). The petition interventions have to be similarly filed in the course of the same period of time.
The petitions or appeals to undertake intervention “shall be limited to the applicant and any person/entity who demonstrates an injury in fact which will result from the challenged action or application and whose interests are not adequately represented by existing parties to the hearing” (“Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure“, 2012, p.22). Moreover, the petitions or appeals will have to be presented in writing and will also have to contain accurate statements concerning issues that are presented on the appeal encompassing regulatory as well as statutory citations and will have to give an indication of specific sections of the Director’s decisions that are challenged (“Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure “, 2012). The petitions or appeals for intervention shall have to be “limited to those issues raised by the parties in the written appeal/petition, filed with the AAD provided however, that upon good cause shown, the AHO shall allow additional issues to be raised” (“Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure “, 2012, p.23). The hearings on appeal/petitions to the AAD are only the evidentiary ones.
Mediation as an Option that Should be Considered if Any of the Permits Are Challenged under the Administrative Adjudication Process
Several states in the United States of America have a panel of the ALJs (Administrative Law Judges) who engage in hearing appeals that come from all agencies. Among these states, there are those that provide for or have authorized administrative law judges in the offices. The parties are usually offered an opportunity to ask for mediation by the “administrative law judges” not assigned to engage in hearing the case, “and rule or policy prohibits the ALJ/mediator from disclosing the content of settlement discussions” (“The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation”, 2012, p.1). In some states, the functions of administrative law are accommodated in the “environmental protection agencies” or they may also be housed in the special boards that are committed to hearing the appeals arising from the decisions made by environmental agencies (“The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation”, 2012).
The “Department of Environmental management” provides mediation undertaken by the hearing officers that are in its office of OAA or “Office of Administrative Adjudication” (“The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation”, 2012, p.1), which engages in hearing appeals from the actions of enforcement and permitting. All of the hearing officers are mediators who are certified. After an appeal is made, the “Office of Administrative Adjudication” provides mediation and does not charge any cost to the concerned parties in a larger number of the enforcement cases (“The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation”, 2012). Offering of mediation is carried out after the parties holding the initial meeting and after a period of two months in the course of which the alleged violators as well as the department make efforts to obtain a solution for the case through having a direct negotiation. In case the parties concerned make a request for mediation, the hearing officer who is not assigned to this case is given the responsibility to undertake mediation. The “Office of Administrative Adjudication” as well provides mediation in those cases where there is appealing of the decisions made by the “Department of Environmental Management” to a superior court (“The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation”, 2012).
Administrative Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Administrative Adjudication Division for Environmental Matters. (2012). Web.
Air Permits. (2012). Web.
The Hazardous Waste Permitting Process: A Citizens Guide. (2012). Web.
The state of State Environmental Agency Mediation. (2012). Web.
What is CWA Section 404? (2012). Web.