The evolving retail legal and regulatory landscape is creating increasingly significant challenges for the operations of national chains, smaller retailers, and their trading partners, and that trend is likely to continue. Often, the federal regulations provide a regulatory floor (set of minimum requirements for all states) and then states develop a patchwork of additional regulations that can quickly impact the day-to-day operations of a retailer.
As an example, the federal hazardous waste regulations were written for the management of wastes in the industrial environment - not retail. In 1980, when EPA first issued its hazardous waste regulations, it was not known how those rules, written for manufacturing, would be applied to retailers. However, to EPA's credit, they realized that a one-size-fits-all national hazardous waste program would likely lead to overregulation in some situations. In 2014, it has become apparent that the strict application of the hazardous waste regulations to retailers is just such a case.
EPA has issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) requesting input from stakeholders for the future regulation of hazardous waste in the retail environment. Comments are due to EPA by May 30, 2014. If EPA decides to modify the regulations to accommodate the unique issues found there, then they would do so through a proposed rule. If you are unable to respond to the NODA, we would encourage you to participate in any future step of the rule making process. EPA's decisions cannot adequately accommodate the unique issues, if the retailers' voice is not heard. Rest assured that EPA will hear Inmar's voice during this process.
We hope that you will consider collaborating with the Inmar team when future regulatory and legislative issues arise. We are tracking state and federal regulatory developments and we will use my monthly column in our newsletter and other communication tools in an effort to collaborate.
Associations such as RILA, GMA and FMI are important players in the collaborative effort to achieve reasonable regulations that allow the agencies to accomplish their goals without excessively burdening the retail industry. Of course, we would encourage any of our clients to reach out to Inmar to collaborate on these efforts. I look forward to working with you.
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