Frequent Questions

How do state adoption and authorization work?

A state typically adopts the federal regulations by either incorporating federal rules into the state's rules or by creating state rules that are equivalent to federal rules. After a state has submitted an application and demonstrated the equivalency of it's program, the state can then be granted final authorization. A state's program must be fully equivalent to, no less stringent than, and consistent with the federal program. 

However, the state programs can be more stringent or broader in scope than the federal regulations. After states have been authorized for the Base RCRA program, they are authorized for and have primacy for all RCRA final rules published in the Federal Register between 1976 though April 1, 1983. HSWA refers to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of RCRA, enacted in 1984.  Whether the rule has a HSWA or non-HSWA legal basis determines whether the EPA or the state enforces the rule in that state.  If a rule is based on non-HSWA legal authority, then this rule is generally not effective immediately in both authorized and unauthorized states. 
EPA implements HSWA authority rules until a state becomes authorized. Individuals can utilize EPA's State Authorization Web Site to obtain publications regarding state authorization and to access the State Authorizations Tracking System (StATS).  StATS is an information management system designed to document the progress of each state and territory in establishing and maintaining RCRA authorized hazardous waste management programs.
Related Materials: RCRA Orientation Manual, EPA 530-R-02-016 (RCRA Online 50888)
Memo, Shapiro to Richardson, February 3, 1994 (RCRA Online 11964) 
Waste, State Authorization Web Site

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