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NORA to Tackle PCBs with TSCA Reform Effort

Friday, January 25, 2013  
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NORA to Tackle PCBs with TSCA Reform Effort
NORA Board of Directors votes unanimously to move forward with a federal legislative initiative; retain Washington, DC-based attorney Steve Shimberg

Haymarket, Virginia (January 25, 2013) – NORA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to move forward with a federal legislative initiative to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in order to provide relief to NORA members relating to PCB contamination.

Additionally, the NORA Board voted to retain Steve Shimberg, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney, to represent NORA and submit legislation to Congress. The Board also approved raising $150,000 to support this effort. To date, $20,000 has already been pledged.

"NORA is taking on this important project in order to protect our members from the problems that arise from PCB-contaminated used oil,” said Scott D. Parker, NORA Executive Director. "For too long, NORA members who have followed the appropriate protocols have been penalized unfairly related to PCB-contaminated used oil. NORA will be proposing common sense reform that will protect NORA members and the environment.”

Shimberg is regarded as one of the most experienced and highly respected environmental attorneys in the United States. His lengthy career at the Justice Department, EPA and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (where he served as Staff Director and Chief Counsel), gives him a unique perspective to accurately analyze the legislative climate and the political dynamics from each of the key players’ perspectives.

The initiative will address the immensely complicated problems faced by NORA members whose facilities become contaminated by PCBs. Typically, EPA targets the used oil collectors/processors rather than those truly responsible and compels the processor to pay for the expensive cleanup. NORA is considering five proposals, which are based on the precondition that NORA members will follow best management practices for collecting, testing, and managing used oil:

  • NORA is proposing that the relevant concentration for deciding how to manage PCBs is the levelwhen they are discovered by the collector/recycler– not the original level at the generator. This would make it much easier for NORAmembers to know what rules apply when they have an incident. Existing regulations say that the original PCB concentration (before any mixing/dilution) determines how the material is regulated, but this is often difficult or impossible to determine.

  • NORA is proposing that used oil that is discovered by the collector/recycler at a concentration of 50 ppm of PCBs or less can be managed like normal used oil.

  • NORA is proposing that used oil with more than 50 ppm of PCBs will be easier and cheaper to manage, because we are suggesting that EPA give permission for other outlets including high efficiency boilers and hydrotreating re-refiners.

  • NORA is proposing that the unintentional dilution of PCBs by a collector/recycler is not a violation or a crime, and EPA would not be able to assess penalties or fines against the collector or recycler for this.

  • NORA is proposing to exempt oil recyclers who follow best management practices from EPA fines or other penalties that are often imposed when the generator has certified that the used oil does not have any PCBs. Such fines have been imposed simply because the PCB-contaminated used oil is being transported from the generator's facility to the processing facility -- even though the oil will be tested for PCBs before being processed. NORA's amendment would abolish these punitive and draconian"enforcement" actions and penalties.

To contribute to the 2013 PCB/TSCA Reform Effort, click here for a printable donation form. Click here for more information on the PCB/TSCA Reform Effort.

About NORA

NORA, An Association of Responsible Recyclers represents over 340 leading companies involved in responsibly recycling used oil and related materials that would otherwise negatively impact the environment. NORA members work every day to ensure that more than a billion gallons per year of used oil and related materials are collected, recycled and given another useful life. NORA has been defending and promoting the industry since 1985. For more information on NORA, visit

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