Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 5, 2021, that it is reopening the reporting period under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory notification active-inactive rule where companies identified chemicals that were manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016.  As reported in our June 26, 2017, memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules,” the final TSCA Inventory notification (active-inactive) rule established a retrospective electronic notification of chemical substances on the TSCA Inventory that were manufactured (including imported) for nonexempt commercial purposes during the ten-year time period ending on June 21, 2016, with provision to also allow notification by processors.  From August 11, 2017, through October 5, 2018, chemical manufacturers and processors provided information on which chemicals were manufactured, imported, or processed in the United States over the past ten years.  The reporting period included an opportunity for submitters to assert claims to retain specific chemical identities as confidential business information (CBI).  In May 2020, EPA posted an interim list of chemicals expected to lose their CBI status and move to the public portion of the TSCA Inventory.  In its January 5, 2021, announcement, EPA states that it since become aware of “submitter confusion and issues regarding CBI claims” during the initial reporting period.  EPA is allowing companies to submit, amend, or withdraw filings under the TSCA Inventory notification (active-inactive) rule to maintain existing CBI claims for specific chemical identity.  The reporting period will reopen 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and run for 60 days after that date.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham, M.S.

On April 26, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued its order on petition for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements (82 Fed. Reg. 37520 (Aug. 11, 2017)), which denied the petition for review on all but one claim.  Petitioner Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) challenged five distinct features of the Inventory final rule:  (i) EPA’s exclusion of substantiation questions regarding reverse engineering; (ii) the final rule’s criteria for “maintaining” a confidentiality claim; (iii) EPA’s choice not to incorporate certain regulatory requirements into the final rule; (iv) EPA’s failure to implement the Act’s “unique identifier” requirements in this rulemaking; and (v) the final rule’s exemption of exported chemicals from its notification requirements. 

The D.C. Circuit’s order states that only the first claim succeeds past the standard of review required under both the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and TSCA, however; specifically, EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously via its “omission of any inquiry into a chemical identity’s susceptibility to reverse engineering [which] effectively excised a statutorily required criterion from the substantiation process.”  Even though EPA included several substantiation questions to address reverse engineering in the proposed rule, EPA did not include any “substantiation questions related to the requirement that a substance’s chemical identity not be susceptible to reverse engineering” and declined altogether to “‘secure answers’ substantiating a company’s ‘assertion’ that its chemical product cannot be reverse engineered” in the final rule.  The court states that this error was “fatal” and remands this issue back to EPA for EPA to “address its arbitrary elimination of substantiation questions regarding reverse engineering.”

Regarding the other four claims that it denied, the court made the following statements:

  1. “EPA acted well within its discretion in concluding that, as part of the Inventory update, any manufacturer or processor of a chemical substance can file a claim to maintain the chemical substance’s confidentiality”;
  2. “There is nothing facially troubling about the failure to copy every relevant statutory obligation into the regulation”;
  3. “Agencies need not address all regulatory obligations ‘in one fell swoop’ … nothing in [TSCA] requires the EPA to develop and implement the unique identifier system alongside its Inventory review process”; and
  4. “EPA’s decision [to exclude export-only chemicals from the final rule’s requirement that chemical companies notify EPA of chemical substances being manufactured or processed] reflected a reasonable interpretation of [TSCA].”

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) April 2018 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory is now available.  For the first time, the Inventory includes a field designating substances that are “active” in U.S. commerce based on the following:

  • Reporting from the 2012 and 2016 Chemical Data Reporting cycles;
  • Notices of Commencement received by EPA since June 21, 2006; and
  • Notice of Activity Form A’s received by EPA through the February 7, 2018, deadline, per the TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule.

EPA states that it “carefully processed and conducted a quality check of the data to ensure duplicate entries and confidential business information were removed” from the large number of notices received under the Active-Inactive Rule.  EPA also posted a list of substances reported in a Notice of Activity Form A from February 8 through March 30, 2018.  According to EPA, this list should assist processors in determining which of their substances on the Inventory have not yet been designated as “active” to date.  Based on our review, the Inventory lists approximately 38,303 total active substances, or about 44.5 percent.  The deadline for voluntary submission of a Notice of Activity Form A by processors is October 5, 2018.

If your company is having trouble reporting through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX), please contact Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. or Lynn L. Bergeson to obtain a copy of our comprehensive Guidance Materials for TSCA Inventory Notification Rulemaking.  Our TSCA experts would be pleased to assist you with the reporting process!

More information on the TSCA Inventory rulemaking and TSCA Inventory issues is available on our blog under the key phrase TSCA Inventory and on our TSCA Reform News & Information web page.  More information on EPA’s Final TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Rule is available in our memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.”  Specific information on changes in the CDX system is available in our blog item, “EPA Updates eNOA Template in CDX System.”