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EPA cancels ocean incineration.

EPA cancels ocean incineration

Each year, 250 million tons of hazardous waste--more than a ton for every resident--is generated in the United States. In exploring ways to dispose of the waste, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been considering burning it at sea--an option that ignited fierce opposition (SN:6/29/85, p.406). To resolve some unanswered questions about the safety and efficacy of ocean incineration, EPA issued a proposed permit last December to Chemical Waste Management Inc. of Oak Brook, Ill., for a "research" burn of more than 700,000 gallons of fuel oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). However, in response to "serious concerns" expressed at hearings on the proposal by elected officials, environmental groups and EPA's own hearings officer, the agency announced last month it would deny permission for the research burn.

According to EPA Assistant Administrator Lawrence J. Jensen, although the agency will continue development of comprehensive ocean-incineration regulations, it is not necessary to conduct a research burn at this time. A decision on whether another research burn at this time. A decision on whether another research burn is necessary--there have been four since 1974 -- must now await completion on those regulations, probably within a year, and the resolution of some important policy issues, he says. In fact, Jensen says, though EPA needs to reaffirm data on the human health and environmental risks of incineration at sea, it will reevaluate whether test burns are the best way to do that.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 21, 1986
Words:245
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