The Interstate Commerce Commission has ruled that truckers do not need ICC authority to carry hazardous wastes, with the exception of nuclear or radioactive wastes.
The decision, to which ICC vice chairman Reginald E. Gilliam Jr. filed a strong dissent, scuttled a tentative administrative ruling that would have required the ICC to license truckers carrying any kind of hazardous waste. A trucker will not have to demonstrate he is competent to haul non-nuclear hazardous wastes such as spent chemicals, something he must do before he can legally haul nuclear or radioactive materials.
The only federal requirement a trucker must meet is to register with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has established standards that are rarely enforced but that can be used to evaluate truckers involved in accidents, according to an attorney familiar with hazardous- waste rules.
The ICC concluded that it had no jurisdiction because "hazardous wastes destined for disposal do not constitute 'property' . . . Accordingly, the commission does not have jurisdiction over the for-hire transportation . . . " The decision cited earlier ICC findings that radioactive and nuclear wastes could be defined as property.
Gilliam, in his dissent, said that "continued regulation of hazardous waste transportation is essential and necessary to public health and safety" and said the decision "is hasty, unwise and represents unsound public policy."
Waste-management companies opposed regulation, but others, including three state regulatory commissions and the ICC's Office of Compliance and Consumer Assistance, favored it, saying they believed it would assist state law-enforcement efforts and help combat illicit dumping of hazardous wastes.