Members of Congress Express Concern About New EPA Used Oil Proposal
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Members of Congress Express Concern About New EPA Used Oil Proposal

Twenty-six members of Congress have signed a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson concerning the EPA’s new used oil proposal. The proposal, titled “Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Waste,” would severely disrupt the relationship between do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers and the automotive service facilities that accept used oil for recycling.

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Twenty-six members of Congress have signed a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson concerning the EPA’s new used oil proposal. The proposal, titled “Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Waste,” would severely disrupt the relationship between do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers and the automotive service facilities that accept used oil for recycling.

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The EPA is proposing to define all off-specification used oil as a solid waste. Under the Clean Air Act, solid waste cannot be recycled as fuel; it must be burned in an incinerator. This rule would devastate the traditional used-oil recycling system and would decrease, not increase, the protection of the environment.

Existing EPA regulations ensure the safe collection and recycling of used oil. Approximately 780 million gallons of used oil is used as fuel annually in accordance with these regulations. No problem has been identified with the current recycling system. Under current law, both on- and off-specification used oil can be recycled through use as fuel in boilers, industrial furnaces and space heaters. Approximately 113 million gallons is used for heating purposes by approximately 100,000 small businesses across the U.S. in used-oil-fired space heaters.

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Current law includes incentives for persons to collect used oil from do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers:
•  Allows both on- and off-specification used oil that is collected from households to be used as fuel in space heaters,
•  Allows automotive maintenance facilities to collect DIY oil without incurring the cost of testing it,
•  Provides for an exemption from Superfund liability for those repair facilities that collect used oil from the public and send it to recyclers.

If the proposed rule is finalized, and off-specification used oil cannot be recycled as fuel, then automotive maintenance facilities will have to test any used oil they collect from the public to determine if it meets specification. Members of Congress expressed their concern to the EPA for the proposal and its potential negative effects by stating in the letter, “No small business is going to be willing to either incur the cost of testing the oil or of sending any oil to an incinerator. As a result, automotive maintenance facilities across the country will stop accepting DIY used oil. If this collection system is eliminated when the EPA finalizes its rule, our concern is that much of the used oil that for many years has been safely burned for heat in industrial furnaces, industrial boilers, utility boilers and space heaters could end up being improperly disposed of on the ground or down the drain.”

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ASA and many other industry leaders are supporting the letter to the EPA administrator. To view the letter, visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.

The Automotive Service Association is the largest not-for-profit trade association of its kind dedicated to and governed by independent automotive service and repair professionals. ASA serves an international membership base that includes numerous affiliate, state and chapter groups from both the mechanical and collision repair segments of the automotive service industry. ASA’s headquarters is in Bedford, TX.

ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. For additional information about ASA, go to http://www.ASAshop.org, or visit ASA’s legislative website at http://www.TakingTheHill.com.

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