I just read that a Kansas state official has stated that the RCRA exemption for toxic oil and gas waste needs to be reviewed to address the challenges faced by state regulators when dealing with the massive amount of this waste.
Last year NRDC petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and asked the agency to write new rules regarding the toxic wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. Right now, all that waste is exempt from the hazardous waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA is our principal federal law intended to ensure the safe management of waste throughout its entire life cycle, from cradle to grave, in order to best protect human health and the environment.
EPA hasn't yet responded to our petition (although it has been active on water and air quality issues).
Current EPA rules are more than 20 years old and are not appropriate for the size or intensity of the oil and gas industry in the 21st century. They don't account for current knowledge about the amount of waste, the toxicity of the waste, or the technologies readily available for improving how the waste is handled throughout its lifetime. I hope more states will admit the sensibility of our petition and support the call for EPA review of the RCRA loophole for oil and gas waste.