EPA eyes stricter rules for burning explosive wastes

By Ellie Borst | 03/12/2024 03:49 PM EDT

Advocates say anything short of a complete ban doesn’t go far enough, especially for communities hosting open burn facilities.

EPA headquarters.

EPA headquarters. Francis Chung/POLITICO | Francis Chung/E&E News

EPA for the first time in more than 40 years is looking to strengthen standards for open burning of hazardous explosives, thanks to technological developments for safer alternatives.

The agency banned open burning and open denotation of wastes in 1980 but carved out exceptions for explosive wastes like munitions, fireworks or flares that cannot be safely disposed of in another way.

The proposed rule, released Tuesday, would amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by establishing new requirements and encouraging increased use of newly discovered alternatives, such as mobile treatment units, listed in a 2019 EPA report.


“In close coordination with federal, state and local partners, EPA’s proposal will work to better protect local communities from environmental and health harm while ensuring facilities are supported in the transition to new alternative technologies that safely manage explosive wastes,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a news release.