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Hazardous waste as fuel?

Hazardous Wastes Could Become New Fuel

                        WASHINGTON, DC, March 26, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Environmental
                        Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to allow certain hazardous
                        waste materials to be burned in special power generating plants

                        The proposal would exempt some byproducts of petroleum refining
                        and perhaps other industries from hazardous waste regulations such
                        as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The
                        materials would be processed, along with fossil fuels such as coal,
                        petroleum, coke and even municipal solid waste and sewage sludge,
                        to produce a synthetic gas.

                        The EPA estimates that from the petroleum refining industry alone, up
                        to seven to 10 million tons of hazardous byproducts now managed
                        under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) could be
                        transferred to gasification systems.

                        Gasification is a technology that puts coal and other carbon
                        containing materials under high temperature and pressure to convert
                        them into synthetic gas. This gas is then used as a fuel to generate
                        electricity or steam, or as a basic chemical building block for many
                        uses in the petrochemical and refining industries.

                        When used as a fuel, the synthetic gas, or "syngas," is cleaner than
                        almost any fuel in use today and is comparable to natural gas, the
                        EPA says.

                        The agency says the gasification proposal will promote increased
                        energy efficiency while reducing the volume of hazardous waste that
                        would otherwise be treated and disposed of on land. It will also
                        conserve natural resources by supplementing crude oil sources in
                        electricity production, petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing,
                        the EPA says.

                        "Today's action is a step forward for the environment and energy self
                        sufficiency," said Marianne Lamont Horinko, EPA assistant
                        administrator for solid waste and emergency response. "The agency's
                        objective is to increase recycling and energy recovery. This proposal
                        encourages recycling of waste materials by lessening the regulatory
                        burden on industry, while protecting public health and the

                        The proposal is part of an EPA initiative to promote flexible,
                        innovative ways to recycle more wastes while reducing the nation's
                        reliance on fossil fuels.

                        "Today's announcement is the first in a series of agency initiatives on
                        this issue, with more to be announced later this spring," added


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