Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands; Final Determination of Adequacy of U.S. Virgin Islands' Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Permitting Program

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)]
[Pages 70522-70524]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27666]
[FRL-10003-58-Region 2]
Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands; Final Determination of
Adequacy of U.S. Virgin Islands' Municipal Solid Waste Landfill
Permitting Program
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ACTION: Notice of final determination of adequacy of the Territory of
the U.S. Virgin Islands' municipal solid waste landfill permit program.
SUMMARY: The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) applied for a
Determination of Adequacy of its Municipal Solid Waste Landfill (MSWLF)
Permit Program under Section 4005 of the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA). The components of authority and capability were
contained in the USVI's application and its revisions. EPA reviewed the
USVI's application, and revisions thereto, including its revised solid
waste regulations. After consideration of all public comments received
regarding the Tentative Determination of Adequacy, EPA is today issuing
a Final Determination that the U.S. Virgin Islands' MSWLF permit
program is adequate to ensure compliance with the revised MSWLF permit
program criteria.
DATES: The Final Determination of Adequacy of the USVI MSWLF Permit
Program shall be effective immediately upon publication of this Federal
Register Notice, December 23, 2019.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kimiko Link, Sustainable Materials
Management Section, Land, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division,
[email protected], 212-637-4182.
A. Background
    Section 4005(c)(l)(B) of the Resource, Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA) Subtitle D, as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste
Amendments (HSWA) of 1984, requires states to develop and implement
permit programs or other systems of prior approval to ensure that
MSWLFs, which may receive hazardous household waste or small quantity
generator waste, will comply with the revised federal MSWLF regulations
codified in 40 CFR part 258.
    RCRA section 4005(c)(l)(C) requires the EPA to determine whether
states have adequate permit programs for MSWLFs. Pursuant to RCRA, the
term ``State'' includes the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Title
40 CFR part 239 specifies the minimum requirements that state landfill
permit programs must satisfy to be determined to be adequate by EPA,
including: the state must have legally adopted enforceable standards
for new and existing MSWLFs that are technically comparable to EPA' s
revised MSWLF landfill criteria; the state must have an adequate
compliance monitoring program and the legal authority to issue permits
or other forms of prior approval to all new and existing MSWLFs in its
jurisdiction; the state must provide for public participation in permit
issuance and enforcement as required in Section 7004(b) of RCRA, 42
U.S.C. 6974(b); and the state must also demonstrate that it has
sufficient compliance monitoring and enforcement authorities to take
specific action against any owner or operator who fails to comply with
applicable regulations or its landfill permit.
    The EPA regions are authorized to determine whether a state has
submitted an adequate program based on the statute and the regulations
summarized above. EPA expects each state to meet all of these
requirements for its MSWLF program before it gives full approval of the
adequacy of a MSWLF program. As a general matter, the Agency believes
that approvals of state programs have an important benefit. Approved
state permit programs establish procedures for interaction between a
state and an owner/operator regarding site-specific permit conditions.
Also, EPA approval of state MSWLF programs provides directors of
approved states with various flexibilities including: The authority to
approve expansion of an existing landfill or siting a new landfill in a
seismic zone; application of alternative daily cover; and alternate
financial assurance mechanisms. EPA notes that regardless of the
approval status of a state and the permit status of any facility, the
federal landfill criteria apply to all permitted and unpermitted MSWLF
facilities. EPA also notes that Section 4005(a) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C.
6945(a), provides that citizens may use the citizen suit provisions of
Section 7002 of RCRA to enforce the federal MSWLF criteria in 40 CFR
part 258
[[Page 70523]]
independent of any state enforcement program.
B. U.S. Virgin Islands
    The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands originally applied for a
Determination of Adequacy of its MSWLF Permit Program in October 1993.
EPA reviewed the application and published in the Federal Register a
Tentative Determination of Adequacy on June 16, 1995. However, the
public hearings and public comments contained many adverse statements
concerning deficiencies in the USVI solid waste program. In addition,
the USVI did not promulgate revised solid waste regulations that met
EPA requirements. Accordingly, EPA did not publish a Final
Determination of Adequacy. Based on continuing deficiencies in the USVI
solid waste management program, on May 8, 2000 (65 FR 26546), EPA
published in the Federal Register a Tentative Determination of
Inadequacy and held two public hearings on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
After review of public comments, EPA decided not to proceed with a
Final Determination of Inadequacy and to allow the USVI additional time
to develop its solid waste management program, which EPA believes has
now occurred. The EPA has continued to work with the USVI both on its
day-to-day landfill operations practices and the development of
appropriate solid waste regulations. In addition, in 2004, the USVI
established the Waste Management Authority (WMA) and in recent years
has pursued various efforts to improve its solid waste management
program. The USVI WMA is the USVI agency charged with implementing
solid waste management, and it oversees the operation of the Bovoni
landfill on St. Thomas, the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix, and the
Susanaberg Transfer Station on St. John. The WMA has a Solid Waste
Director as well as landfill managers for the Bovoni and Anguilla
landfills and the Susanaberg Transfer Station. Also, scheduling the
work for the final closure of both the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills is
now under the supervision of a federal judge and the Department of
Justice, pursuant to federal Consent Decrees which became effective in
2013 and 2014.
    The USVI submitted revised program application material to EPA in
2008, and in 2017 and 2018 submitted additional information that EPA
had requested. EPA has reviewed all relevant materials concerning the
USVI's MSWLF program including revised solid waste regulations.
    Based on this documentation, EPA determined that: the USVI solid
waste regulations are in conformance with the minimum requirements of
40 CFR part 258 criteria; the Department of Planning and Natural
Resources had sufficient authority and responsibility for implementing
and enforcing solid waste management regulations, including
establishing a permit program, maintaining inspection authority and
pursuing enforcement activities; and that the USVI committed to
ensuring that adequate technical support and legal personnel would be
assigned to implement its permit program. Hence, on June 7, 2019, EPA
published in the Federal Register a Tentative Determination of Adequacy
of the USVI MSWLF Permit Program that concluded all portions of the
USVI MSWLF permit program were adequate to ensure compliance with the
revised federal criteria.
C. Public Comment
    The public comment period for the Tentative Determination of
Adequacy commenced with the publication of the action on June 7, 2019.
Although RCRA does not require EPA to hold a hearing on any
determination to approve a State/Tribe's MSWLF program, the Region held
three public hearings in the Territory on July 23rd in St. Croix, July
24th in St. Thomas, and July 25th in St. John. The public comment
period ended on August 2, 2019. EPA considered all public comments
received during the public comment period and the public hearings in
determining whether to publish in the Federal Register, a Final
Determination of Adequacy of the USVI's RCRA Subtitle D MSWLF Permit
Program. Included below is a summary of responses to all major comments
received at the public hearings and during the written comment period.
    Fifteen comments were received during the three public hearings on
consecutive days in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John on July 23rd,
24th and 25th, respectively, and the written comment period which
closed on August 2, 2019. Most were supportive of the action. Several
commenters requested clarification on the authorities, responsibilities
and roles associated with solid waste management in the USVI.
Clarification was also sought on the implications of approval or
disapproval and how the approval would increase the USVI's solid waste
management options while ensuring human health and environmental
protection. EPA provided responses including the overview of the
statutory role of the USVI and the federal government with respect to
solid waste management and the required compliance with Part 258
landfill regulations established to protect human health and the
environment. Several comments received were related to the need for the
USVI's solid waste regulations and future solid waste management plan
to include recycling and organics management, the results of the waste
characterization study, and the siting of landfills. EPA' s response
clarified that the USVI Government is responsible for its solid waste
management planning, including any organics diversion programs as well
as the siting of any new landfills. EPA also indicated that the waste
characterization report funded on behalf of the USVI would be provided
to the USVI Government and be made available to the public when
D. Decision
    The USVI Attorney General has certified that the current laws and
regulations, which are part of the Virgin Islands' solid waste
management program, are in full force and effect, including an
appropriate technical correction to the solid waste regulations which
has been officially promulgated.
    After reviewing the public comments, I conclude that the USVI's
application for adequacy determination meets all the statutory and
regulatory requirements established by RCRA. Accordingly, the U.S.
Territory of Virgin Islands is granted a determination of adequacy for
all portions of its municipal solid waste landfill permit program.
    Section 4005(a) of RCRA provides that citizens may use the citizen
suit provisions of section 7002 of RCRA to enforce the federal MSWLF
criteria in 40 CFR part 258 independent of any state/tribal enforcement
program. As EPA explained in the preamble to the final MSWLF criteria,
EPA expects that any owner or operator complying with provisions in a
state/tribal permit program approved by EPA at a MSWLF will adequately
reflect the federal criteria. See 56 FR 50978, 50995 (October 9, 1991).
    Today's action takes effect immediately with the publication of
this Final Determination of Adequacy of the USVI MSWLF Permit Program.
    EPA believes it has good cause under section 553(d) of the
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C 553(d), to put this action into
effect less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
    All the requirements and obligations in the Territory's program are
already in effect as a matter of USVI law. EPA's action today does not
impose any new
[[Page 70524]]
requirements that the regulated community must begin to comply with.
Nor do these requirements become enforceable by EPA as federal law.
Consequently, EPA finds that it does not need to give notice prior to
making its approval effective. Authority: This notice is issued under
the authority of sections 2002, 4005 and 4010(c) of the Solid Waste
Disposal Act as amended; 42 U.S.C. 6912, 6945, 6949a(c).
    Dated: November 27, 2019.
Peter D. Lopez,
Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 2019-27666 Filed 12-20-19; 8:45 am]