EPA suspends plan to revise U.S. used oil regulations

EPA suspends plan to revise U.S. used oil regulations

The National Oil Recyclers Association (NORA) has been informed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the agency will no longer pursue its plan to revise Part 279 of the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA). This decision comes after NORA’s engagement with the EPA regarding the “Permitting Updates Proposed Rulemaking” project.

Part 279, which has remained largely unchanged since its second portion was published in September 1992, sets the standards for managing used oil in the United States. The first portion was established on November 29, 1985. The EPA’s decision to maintain the existing language marks a significant moment for the used oil recycling industry in the United States.

In September 2023, NORA representatives, including Executive Director Scott D. Parker, Valicor Senior Vice President Ken Bentfeld, and Senior Consultant Jack Waggener, met with EPA officials in Washington, D.C. This meeting, facilitated by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, focused on potential impacts of changes to Part 279 on used oil and wastewater management practices.

On November 27th, an EPA representative communicated to Parker, acknowledging the value of the September meeting and the input provided by NORA. The representative stated, “We have considered your input in relation to other information we have gathered about used oil and wastewaters. At this point, we no longer plan to discuss used oil in the upcoming Permitting Updates Proposed Rulemaking.”

Parker expressed gratitude for the EPA’s consideration, stating, “Part 279 is the regulatory bedrock for our industry. It has guided used oil recyclers and oily wastewater processors for decades. We appreciate the EPA’s thoughtful approach and remain dedicated to defending our members’ rights to responsibly recycle vast quantities of used oil and related materials annually.”

Earlier this year, under the NORA Board of Directors’ guidance, the Part 279 Coalition was formed to ensure the EPA heard from all potentially impacted sectors. The coalition represents a diverse group, including original lubricant producers, used oil and wastewater mixture generators, and users of derived products.  

NORA, an association of responsible recyclers based in Gainesville, Virginia, U.S.A., represents nearly 300 companies committed to recycling used oil, oily wastewater, and related materials. Since 1984, NORA has been a staunch defender and promoter of the industry, ensuring more than a billion gallons per year of used oil and related materials are collected, recycled, and repurposed.