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Hazardous Waste

Legislative and Regulatory Timeline for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Waste

This timeline walks through the history of crude oil and natural gas waste regulation since 1976 and includes information such as regulations, proposals, notices, amendments, reports and meetings and site visits conducted.

Date(s) Action or Event Notes on Significance to Crude Oil and Natural Gas Wastes


Enactment of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (117 pp, 662 K, About PDF)  


EPA proposes first set of hazardous waste management standards (PDF) (volume 43 of the Federal Register (FR) starting on page 58945) (248 pp, 63 MB, About PDF) Oil and gas drilling muds and oil production brines are proposed to be designated as one of the six “special wastes”, which are exempt from RCRA Subtitle C regulations


Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments enacted (26 pp, 4.58 MB, About PDF) Bentsen amendment added: temporarily exempts crude oil and gas waste from hazardous waste regulation until further study is completed
10/31/1983 EPA misses the statutory deadline for submitting crude oil and gas waste report to Congress  
04/1987 Deadline for submission is extended to 12/1987  
12/1987 EPA submits a three-volume report to Congress Covers Management of Waste form the Exploration, Development, and Production of Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Geothermal Energy
07/06/1988 EPA issues its Regulatory Determination for Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Exploration, Development and Production Wastes EPA believes that regulation of oil and gas exploration and production wastes under RCRA Subtitle C is not warranted
03/22/1993 EPA issues Clarification of the Regulatory Determination for Wastes from the Exploration, Development and Production of Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Geothermal Energy  
10/2002 EPA issues the publication, Exemption of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Wastes from Federal Hazardous Waste Regulations  
12/2008 EPA clarifies the regulatory status of spent oil shale generated by above ground retorting or heating of oil shale  
04/2019 EPA determines that revisions to the federal regulations for the management of wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas and geothermal energy under Subtitle D of RCRA (title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations in Part 257) are not necessary at this time. This determination fulfills EPA's obligation under a consent decree issued by a federal court in December of 2016.