REGULATIONS AND POLICY
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the existing regulatory framework governing the use and disposal of PCBs in the binational Great Lakes region with the objective of understanding of how well current policy has succeeded in bringing the parties closer to the dual goals of zero discharge and virtual elimination of PCBs in the Great Lakes. These are goals set out in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and this report proceeds on the assumption that these continue to be the actual goals of regulations and policy on both sides of the border with regard to PCBs. In this section, therefore, we report on the primary regulatory instruments which address PCBs in the U.S. and Canada, and begin to identify gaps in the laws which inhibit the achievement of these goals. The results of this study are presented both in chart matrix format which summarizes key legislation specifically related to PCBs in the U.S. and Canada, and in brief summaries of specific relevant legislation.
The purpose of this section is not to provide an in-depth analysis of existing legislation, but rather to provide a summary of PCB regulatory management in the Great Lakes which brings together in one place all the varied and different policy and legal instruments which currently exist. In the course of our investigations, we found no single source from which it was possible to get a realistic picture of the regulatory and policy scope of PCB management in the Great Lakes. While in some cases the regulations are related to each other, or build on each other, and will therefore contain cross-references, in general, the overall picture is fragmented and medium-specific. This reflects the historically fragmented nature of the regulatory approach, which has typically addressed air and water in regulations separate and independent of laws governing solid and liquid non-water wastes, disposal methods, and soil cleanup. The recent U.S.strategy addressing Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxics, or PBTs, is an effort to look at the problem more comprehensively and holistically, as is the Binational Toxics Strategy. Both of these strategies will be reviewed as discussed below.
For U.S. legislation, two matrices are presented. The first lists all U.S. environmental laws which contain sections addressing PCBs. This matrix contains links to each regulation, allowing the reader to review the primary text if desired, and is followed by a brief narrative discussion of the most important regulations. These include the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), including the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). This matrix also includes programs and policy initiatives such as the Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxics strategy and the Great Lakes 2001 "Plan for the New Millenium" from the Great Lakes National Program Office of the EPA. The second matrix, with several sub-matrices, is a more detailed review of the sections of the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) which address PCBs, in particular the storage, disposal, and reporting requirements.
Canadian regulations relevant to PCBs are discussed in legislation on the federal and provincial levels. The legislation which will be discussed in this section includes the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the Toxic Substances Management Policy (TSMP), the Ontario Environmental Protection Act, Quebec laws and regulations, and the Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA), which is an intergovernmental agreement between the federal and Ontario provincial governments.
In addition to the regulations which are nation-specific, several binational agreements between the U.S. and Canada have had a significant impact on PCB policy. The most important of these is the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), negotiated under the auspices of the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes (IJC). Subsequent biennial reports of the IJC and reports of the IJC's Science Advisory Board (SAB) have had major impact on toxics policy in both countries. The GLWQA, and subsequent IJC science and policy reports led directly to the current bilateral initiative known as the Binational Toxics Strategy (BTS), which directly addresses efforts in both the U.S. and Canada to address PCBs. These documents are important to gaining a comprehensive overview of the PCB policy in the Great Lakes and are included in the matrix which lists U.S. regulations, as well as in the discussion.
The overview will conclude with a discussion of gaps in policy that have been identified based on the findings of the inventory of PCB sources in the Great Lakes basin.
The regulatory section also covers several important agreements and initiatives with respect to PCBs such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the National Regional Action Plan on PCBs, under the guidance of the United Nations and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, respectively.