By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On December 31, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even though they had already shut down due to funding issues, announced that if the government shutdown continues through 5:00 p.m. (EST) January 4, 2019, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals’ (SACC) January 8, 2019, Preparatory Virtual Meeting for the January 29 through February 1, 2019, meeting on Colour Index (C.I.) Pigment Violet 29 will be cancelled, and discussion of charge questions will be folded into the face-to-face meeting scheduled for January 29 through February 1, 2019. Further, if the shutdown continues through 5:00 p.m. (EST) January 11, 2019, the TSCA SACC’s January 29 through February 1, 2019, Peer Review of the draft risk evaluation for C.I. Pigment Violet 29 will be postponed. More information on the draft risk evaluation of C.I. Pigment Violet 29 is available in our memorandum EPA Publishes First Draft TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluation.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On December 18, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) issued an order granting in part respondent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) motion for partial voluntary remand of certain provisions of its final rule on Procedures for Chemicals Risk Evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Specifically, EPA’s motion for partial voluntary remand, filed August 6, 2018, sought remand with vacatur of 40 C.F.R. Section 702.31(d) (Penalty Provision) and remand without vacatur of 40 C.F.R. Sections 702.37(b)(4) (Relevancy Provision) and 702.37(b)(6) (Consistency Provision). The Ninth Circuit granted EPA’s motion to remand and to vacate the Penalty Provision, but referred EPA’s motion to remand without vacatur for the Relevancy and Consistency Provisions. The Penalty Provision states that “[s]ubmission to EPA of inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading information pursuant to a risk evaluation … is a prohibited act … subject to penalties.”
EPA stated in its motion that its “request to remand the Penalty, Relevancy, and Consistency provisions is reasonable, timely, and will serve the interests of judicial economy,” but it has not yet decided on a specific course of action. EPA sought remand to address the potential concerns that petitioners stated in their opening brief. EPA stated that vacatur was only appropriate for the Penalty Provision, however, as “nothing in the proposed rule or rulemaking record gave any indication that EPA was contemplating extending the Penalty Provision beyond manufacturers, and EPA did not purport to make that change in response to public comments, the Penalty Provision is not a logical outgrowth of the proposed rule.”
As for the Relevancy and Consistency Provisions, EPA stated that they should be remanded but not vacated for the following reasons:
- EPA believes that the concerns about these provisions can be addressed through modifications to the language of the regulations;
- The unintended consequences of the Relevancy and Consistency Provisions that Petitioners allege are not serious; even if a manufacturer were to rely on those provisions to withhold information, EPA has independent authority to collect that information or require development of new information as needed to conduct its risk evaluations; and
- The disruptive effects to EPA could be considerable if these regulations were vacated while EPA completes its remand process; if the provisions are vacated, manufacturers could (intentionally or unintentionally) submit junk science or irrelevant material, requiring EPA to consume limited resources and take time out of the statutorily-mandated schedule to review the information. Further, vacatur of the Relevancy Provision would be particularly disruptive because it would eliminate altogether the affirmative requirement for manufacturers to submit lists of information when requesting risk evaluations; and could delay EPA’s information gathering if it had to request or order such information from the outset.
More information on the appeals to the TSCA framework rule on risk evaluation is available on our blog.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Susan M. Kirsch, and Margaret R. Graham
On November 29, 2018, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a hearing on the nomination of Alexandra Dapolito Dunn to be the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator (AA) for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). The hearing was webcast and is available on the EPW Committee website.
In a rare sharing of bipartisan support for a Trump Administration nominee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced Ms. Dunn, stating “Ms. Dunn has a deep passion for working with communities, for environmental justice, and for leveraging the expertise of nongovernmental organizations.” Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) stated he was encouraged by her plans for the office. Ms. Dunn assured lawmakers that, if confirmed, she will “commit to implementing the law, following the law, and bringing all the provisions of the law to full effect.” Dunn also emphasized her intention, if confirmed, to leverage the experience and expertise of EPA career staff, including establishing “open door” hours dedicated to connecting with career staff. Dunn’s written testimony is available on the EPW Committee website. Senators may submit additional questions for the record (QFR) through November 29, 2018, for Ms. Dunn’s response by December 3, 2018. It is being reported that Ms. Dunn could be confirmed as early as next week assuming there are no objections.
Ms. Dunn has been serving as the Regional Administrator for EPA’s New England Region (Region 1) since January of this year. Prior to joining EPA, Ms. Dunn served as Executive Director and General Counsel for the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to helping state agencies improve environment outcomes for Americans. More information on Ms. Dunn’s experience and accolades is available in EPA’s press release announcing her nomination.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On November 29, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has scheduled the first public meetings of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). The first meeting, a preparatory virtual meeting, and will be held on January 8, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EST). The second meeting, a four-day in-person meeting, will be held on January 29, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. (EST) to 5:30 p.m. and on January 30, 31, and February 1, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EST). The official announcement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on November 30, 2018. Further information, including the location of the in-person meeting and how to register, will be posted on EPA’s TSCA Scientific Peer Review Committees website.
The topic for this first series of meetings is the peer review of the draft risk evaluation for Colour Index (C.I.) Pigment Violet 29 and associated documents developed under EPA’s existing chemical substance process under TSCA. EPA states that the two-hour preparatory virtual meeting on January 8, 2019, will consider the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for this peer review -- included with EPA’s Transmission of Background Materials and Charge to the Panel for the TSCA SACC Reviewing the Draft Risk Evaluation for C.I. Pigment Violet 29 (Attachment 23). The 4-day, in-person, public meeting will be comprised of the peer review panel deliberations and a general TSCA orientation for the TSCA SACC. A portion of the in-person meeting will be closed to the public, however, for the discussion of information claimed as confidential business information (CBI).
During these upcoming meetings, EPA states that the public is invited to provide oral comments for the peer review on the draft risk evaluation for C.I. Pigment Violet 29 and related documents; comments submitted by January 14, 2019, on the draft risk evaluation will be provided to the peer review panel members before the in-person meeting. Comments on the draft charge questions will be accepted prior to and during the 2-hour preparatory virtual meeting (but preferably by January 7, 2019); the TSCA SACC peer review panel will consider these comments during their discussions.
More information on the draft risk evaluation for C.I. Pigment Violet 29 is available in our memorandum EPA Publishes First Draft TSCA Chemical Risk Evaluation.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On November 26, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) announced that Lek Kadeli joined OCSPP’s Immediate Office as Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator (AA) (Management). EPA states that Lek has extensive experience managing and supporting a wide range of environmental and human health related programs. Lek has worked at EPA previously; for eight years he was the Principal Deputy AA in EPA’s Office of Research of Development (ORD), serving several periods during that time as ORD’s Acting AA. Lek has also served as Director for ORD’s Office of Resource Management and Administration; Chief of ORD’s Resources Planning and Execution Staff; Office of International Activities Senior Budget Officer; and, as a budget analyst in the Office of Administration and Resource Management’s Office of Comptroller.
Most recently, Lek worked at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. as the co-program manager of the Pollution Management and Environmental Health Program, Environment and National Resources Global Practice. Lek holds a B.A. in Political Science from George Mason University, and a M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on November 15, 2018, announcing the availability of and seeking public comment on the first draft chemical risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg). The draft risk evaluation for Colour Index (C.I.) Pigment Violet 29 is intended to determine whether C.I. Pigment Violet 29 presents an unreasonable risk to health or the environment under the conditions of use, including an unreasonable risk to a relevant potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation. According to the notice, EPA is also submitting these same documents to the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to peer review the draft risk evaluation. EPA intends to publish a separate Federal Register notice containing the peer review meeting details. Comments on the draft risk evaluation are due January 14, 2019. EPA will provide all comments submitted on the draft risk evaluation to the TSCA SACC peer review panel, which will have the opportunity to consider the comments during its discussions. More information is available in the full memorandum.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) will hold a hearing on the nomination of Alexandra Dapolito Dunn to be the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator (AA) for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) on Thursday, November 29, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. (EST) in room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing will be webcast and will be available on the EPW Committee website.
Ms. Dunn has been serving as the Regional Administrator for EPA’s New England Region (Region 1) since January of this year. Prior to joining EPA, Ms. Dunn served as Executive Director and General Counsel for the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to helping state agencies improve environment outcomes for Americans. While at ECOS, Ms. Dunn helped state governments improve water infrastructure, reduce air pollution, clean up contaminated sites, manage chemical safety, and enhance economic development. Before joining ECOS, Ms. Dunn was Executive Director and General Counsel for the Association of Clean Water Administrators. Ms. Dunn was also a former chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER). More information on Ms. Dunn’s experience and accolades is available in EPA’s press release announcing her nomination.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Kathleen M. Roberts, and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
In September 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a consent agreement with Chevron USA, Inc. (Chevron) related to an alleged violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
EPA’s issuance of a consent agreement for the alleged TSCA violation is not especially newsworthy. Neither is the agreed upon penalty for the violation, which could be considered minor based on the penalty provisions allowed under TSCA. What is newsworthy here is that the alleged violation, technically three as the violation occurred on three separate days, was related to the research and development (R&D) exemption. Specifically, EPA alleged that Chevron did not appropriately label chemicals that it had distributed to other companies for R&D purposes. In our experience, the R&D exemption under TSCA is seldom the subject of enforcement scrutiny. This may be changing.
The R&D exemption is a critical aspect of TSCA and it offers many companies significant flexibility to research new chemical innovations. The exemption is self-implementing and thus does not require pre-approval by or submissions to EPA. Nonetheless, there are specific restrictions and recordkeeping requirements associated with reliance on that exemption. The consent agreement at issue here confirms that EPA will hold companies accountable to these requirements. The enforcement action is an important reminder to all entities relying upon the R&D exemption to ensure that they comply strictly with each element of the exemption requirements as identified under TSCA Section 5(h)(3).
Companies relying on the R&D exemption for new chemical development may wish to review internal files and processes to ensure compliance, as EPA has shown its intent to pursue violations and associated penalties for non-compliance instances.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On October 17, 2018, the Trump Administration published its Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Regulatory Agenda). There are many interesting entries, some of which are flagged here.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed implementing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) amendments to enhance public health and chemical safety as one of its top priorities. According to EPA, the amendments to TSCA that were enacted in June 2016 require EPA “to evaluate existing chemicals on the basis of the health risks they pose -- including risks to vulnerable groups and to workers who may use chemicals daily as part of their jobs.” If unreasonable risks are found, EPA must then take steps to eliminate these risks but, “during the risk management phase, EPA must balance the risk management decision with potential disruption based on compliance to the national economy, national security, or critical infrastructure.” The following TSCA items were included.
The rules in the proposed rule stage are:
- Microorganisms: General Exemptions From Reporting Requirements; Revisions of Recipient Organisms Eligible for Tier I and Tier II Exemptions, 2070-AJ65. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is still developing a revised proposal that will address concerns raised by commenters in response to its preliminary determination that certain strains of Trichoderma reesei and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens will not present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment when used as a recipient microorganism, provided that certain criteria for the introduced genetic material and the physical containment conditions are met. EPA is also considering expanding the earlier proposal to prohibit the inclusion of antibiotic resistance genes in the introduced genetic material in microorganisms qualifying for the TSCA Section 5(h)(4) exemption. EPA was scheduled to issue a proposed rule by October 2018.
- Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (LCPFAC) and Perfluoroalkyl Sulfonate Chemical Substances; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), 2070-AJ99. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a supplemental proposal for part of a SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for LCPFAC chemical substances to make inapplicable the exemption for persons who import a subset of LCPFAC chemical substances as part of certain articles. This rule was scheduled to be proposed by October 2018 and issued in final by November 2019. EPA’s initial proposed rule was issued on January 21, 2015.
- Procedural Rule: Review of Confidential Business Information (CBI) Claims for the Identity of Chemicals on the TSCA Inventory -- Amended TSCA Section 8(b)(4)(C), 2070-AK21. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a proposed rule that establishes a plan to review all claims to protect the specific chemical identities of chemical substances on the confidential portion of the active TSCA Inventory. EPA is scheduled to issue the proposed rule by January 2019 and the final rule by December 2019, as TSCA directs a final rule to be issued by December 16, 2019.
- TSCA Chemical Data Reporting Revisions and Small Manufacturer Definition Update for Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under TSCA Section 8(a), 2070-AK33. The Regulatory Agenda states that before the next Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period of 2020, EPA intends to revise the reporting requirements to better align with new statutory requirements resulting from TSCA, as amended, to address submitters' feedback following the 2016 submission period, and may consider reporting requirements for inorganic byproducts. EPA is also proposing amendments to the size standards for small manufacturers, which impacts certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements for TSCA Section 8(a) rules, including CDR. EPA is scheduled to issue the proposed rule by December 2018 and the final rule by October 2019.
- Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals Under TSCA Section 6(h), 2070-AK34. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is developing a proposed rule to implement TSCA Section 6(h), as amended, which directs EPA to issue regulations for certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical substances that were identified in the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan. TSCA directs these regulations to be proposed by June 22, 2019, and issued in final form no later than 18 months after proposal. According to the Regulatory Agenda, EPA will issue a proposed rule by June 2019.
- Technical Issues; Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, 2070-AK47. EPA is proposing to amend the regulations promulgated in a final rule published on December 12, 2016, concerning formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products, specifically to address certain technical issues and further align the final rule requirements with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) Phase II program. EPA issued the proposed rule on November 1, 2018, in the Federal Register; comments are due by December 3, 2018. EPA expects to issue a final rule by March 2019.
The rules in the final rule stage are:
- Review of Dust-Lead Hazard Standards and the Definition of Lead-Based Paint, 2070-AJ82. EPA issued a proposed rule on July 2, 2018, that would lower the current dust-lead hazard standards (DLHS) from 40 mg/ft2 and 250 mg/ft2 to 10 mg/ft2 and 100 mg/ft2 on floors and window sills, respectively, per a final decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Regulatory Agenda states that while EPA has proposed standards of 10 mg/ft2 and 100 mg/ft2 for floors and window sills respectively, EPA encouraged public comment on the full range of candidate standards analyzed as alternatives to the proposal, including the option not to change the current standard or to reduce the floor dust standard but leave the sill dust standard unchanged, since reducing floor dust lead has the greatest impact on children's health. EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule by June 2019. More information on the proposed rule is available in our memorandum “Recent Federal Developments -- July 2018.”
- SNUR for Toluene Diisocyanates (TDI) and Related Compounds, 2070-AJ91. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is preparing the final version of a proposed SNUR issued on January 15, 2015, under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for 2,4-toluene diisocyanate, 2,6-toluene diisocyanate, toluene diisocyanate unspecified isomers, and related compounds; and that there are no changes in the chemicals subject to the SNUR between the proposed and final rule. EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule in November 2018.
- Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances; Updates to the Hazard Communication Program and Regulatory Framework; Minor Amendments to Reporting Requirements for Premanufacture Notices, 2070-AJ94. On July 28, 2016, EPA issued a rule proposing changes to the applicable significant new uses of chemical substances regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 721 to align EPA's regulations, where possible, with the final revisions to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standard. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is reviewing the comments received and is planning to issue a final rule in February 2019.
- Certain Nonylphenols and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates; SNUR, 2070-AJ96. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is reviewing the comments received on the proposed SNUR issued on October 1, 2014, for certain chemical substances commonly known as nonylphenols (NP) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) and is planning to issue a final rule in September 2019. More information on the proposed SNUR is available in our memorandum “EPA Proposes SNUR for Nonylphenols and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates.”
- Methylene Chloride; Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a), 2070-AK07. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA is scheduled to issue the final rule prohibiting the consumer and commercial paint stripping uses for methylene chloride by December 2018. In a press release issued on May 10, 2018, EPA stated that it will not re-evaluate the paint stripping uses of methylene chloride and will rely on its previous risk assessments. See our memorandum “EPA Will Send Final Methylene Chloride Rule to OMB ‘Shortly’” for more information on the proposed rule.
- Asbestos; SNUR, 2070-AK45. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA’s proposed SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for certain uses of asbestos that are no longer in use in the United States is scheduled to be issued in final by January 2019. The proposed SNUR was issued on June 11, 2018, and the comment period ended on August 10, 2018. More information on the proposed rule is available in our memorandum “Monthly Update for June 2018.”
The following Long-Term Action was also listed:
- N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP); Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA Section 6(a), RIN 2070-AK46. The Regulatory Agenda states that EPA’s two co-proposals for NMP that were proposed on January 19, 2017 (as part of RIN 2070-AK07), will be issued in final with a future date “To Be Determined.” The first co-proposal would prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and most commercial paint and coating removal and the use of NMP for most commercial paint and coating removal. The second co-proposal would require commercial users of NMP for paint and coating removal to establish a worker protection program and not use paint and coating removal products that contain greater than 35 percent NMP by weight, with certain exceptions; and require processors of products containing NMP for paint and coating removal to reformulate products such that they do not exceed 35 percent NMP by weight, to identify gloves that provide effective protection for the formulation, and to provide warnings and instructions on any paint and coating removal products containing NMP. For more information on the proposed rule, please see our memorandum "Monthly Update for February 2017."
For information on the TSCA items included in the Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda, please see our blog item “EPA’s Spring 2018 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan Includes TSCA Rulemakings.”
B&C is launching a podcast November 1, 2018. It’s called All Things Chemical™ and it will engage listeners in intelligent, insightful conversation about everything related to industrial, pesticidal, and specialty chemicals and the law and business issues surrounding chemicals. B&C’s talented team of lawyers, scientists, and consultants will keep listeners abreast of the changing world of both domestic and international chemical regulation and provide analysis of the many intriguing and complicated issues surrounding this space.
A teaser introduction to the podcast is available now. Full episodes will be available November 1, 2018, on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.