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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On November 30, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register a notice of its final determination on whether revision to the current size standards for small manufacturers and processors, which are used in connection with reporting regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a), is warranted.

The notice states that EPA has made its final determination that revision is warranted based upon three factors, listed below.

  1. Its preliminary determination.  EPA states in the notice that it preliminarily determined that a revision to the size standards is warranted “because of the magnitude of the increase in the [Producer Price Index (PPI)] since the last revision of the size standards and because the current annual sales standard is comparatively low given current revenue-based size standards developed by [the Small Business Administration (SBA)].”  When EPA reviewed the change in the PPI for Chemicals and Allied Products between 1988 and 2015 it found that the PPI has changed by 129 percent, which far exceeds the 20 percent inflation index specified as a level above which EPA may adjust annual sales levels in the current standard if deemed necessary. 
  2. A review of the comments on the preliminary determination.  EPA states that most commenters agreed with its preliminary determination that an update is warranted and several also provided their opinions on how the standards should be revised.  EPA states the actual changes to the standards were out of the scope of this determination, but it will address those issues in the subsequent proposed rulemaking.
  3. Feedback from consultation with the SBA.  SBA’s Office of Advocacy substantively agreed with EPA’s preliminary determination (that a revision to the current size standards is warranted), but it had requested EPA to consider additional factors in reaching that conclusion which EPA did not.  Specifically, the SBA wanted EPA to consider whether the standard is structured appropriately, and wanted EPA evaluate a broader set of factors related to firm and industry characteristics and percentage of firms impacted by Section 8 rules.

More information on these standards is available on our blog item under key phrase size standards.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) has announced that it will be hosting regional small business roundtables “to hear firsthand from small businesses facing regulatory burdens [on] … which federal agency regulations should be considered for reform or elimination,” and “which regulations are problematic for your business,” as a result of the recent Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 on regulatory reform.

The first two roundtables in this series will be held on June 7, 2017, and June 8, 2017, in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, respectively.  Several more are expected to be scheduled soon for Boise, Idaho, Phoenix, Arizona, and St. Louis, Missouri, among others.

The Advocacy website states that the purpose of regional regulatory roundtables is to:

  • Identify regional small business regulatory issues in order to assist agencies with regulatory reform and reduction in compliance with Executive Orders 13771 & 13777;
  • Compile crucial information for Advocacy’s new report on existing small business regulatory burdens across the nation, identifying specific recommendations for regulatory changes based upon first-hand accounts from small businesses across the country; and
  • Inform and educate the small business public as to how Advocacy and SBA can assist them with their small business.

Registration for the first two roundtables is available online:  Baton Rouge registration; New Orleans registration.  Advocacy is also accepting comments regarding regulatory reform via an online form.  More information on the Executive Orders and their implementation is available on our blog.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice requesting public comment on whether a revision of the current size standard definitions for small manufacturers and processors, that are used in connection with reporting regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is warranted at this time.  Under amended TSCA Section 8(a)(3)(C), the EPA Administrator, after consultation with the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), is required to “(i) review the adequacy of the standards prescribed under subparagraph (B); and (ii) after providing public notice and an opportunity for comment, make a determination as to whether revision of the standards is warranted.”

EPA states in the notice that its preliminary determination is that revisions to currently codified size standards for TSCA Section 8(a) are indeed warranted due to “the magnitude of the increase in the [Producer Price Index (PPI) for Chemicals and Allied Products] since the last revision of the size standards and the current annual sales standard is comparatively low given current revenue-based size standards developed by SBA.”

The need to review and update the definition is long overdue.  Stakeholders have been seeking a more appropriate definition for years recognizing that the existing metric is dated and has not kept pace with the passage of time, posing unintended regulatory consequences. EPA is to be commended for its rapid response to yet another new TSCA mandate.

Comments must be received on or before January 17, 2017.