By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
As reported in our May 29, 2020, blog item, on May 28, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report entitled EPA Toxic Substances Control Act Consent Orders Need Better Coordination. OIG conducted the evaluation to determine what actions EPA took to verify compliance with the requirements of a 2009 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Premanufacture Notice Consent Order. OIG’s recommendations included that EPA implement a process for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) to review and approve the terms and conditions of TSCA Section 5(e) Consent Orders that it is responsible for verifying during compliance monitoring and enforcement activities. On August 5, 2020, OIG announced that EPA has provided an update to its response to the OIG report. EPA states that the Office of Civil Enforcement/Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division (OECA/WCED) and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics/Chemical Control Division (OCSPP/CCD) have developed a TSCA Section 5(e) Order Boilerplate that “clarifies and strengthens the provisions of the Order for New Chemical Substances.” According to EPA, in 2020, OCSPP/CCD and OECA/WCED established and implemented a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure that WCED, the office responsible for compliance monitoring and enforcement activities, reviews and approves the terms and conditions of TSCA Section 5(e) Orders developed by CCD. EPA notes that the establishment of the SOP is intended to meet OIG’s recommendation. EPA states that the Review and Approval Protocol “provides sufficient assurance that compliance and enforcement requirements in TSCA 5(e) orders will be reviewed and approved by OCSPP and OECA.” OIG commented on EPA’s updated response, stating that it now considers this recommendation complete.