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, Carla N. Hutton, Charles M. Auer, and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on May 16, 2017, announcing the availability of and requesting public comment on a draft guidance document entitled “Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce.” 82 Fed. Reg. 22452. The promised guidance provides answers to questions EPA has received from manufacturers (includes importers) and processors of certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale as described in the January 12, 2017, final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a) rule. The final rule requires one-time reporting for existing discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials, and a standing one-time reporting requirement for new discrete forms of certain nanoscale materials. More information regarding the final rule is available in our January 12, 2017, memorandum, “EPA Promulgates Final TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Rule for Nanoscale Materials.” EPA states that it will accept comments regarding the draft guidance, but not regarding the rule itself, “which has already been finalized.” Comments are due June 15, 2017.
The 14-page draft guidance, in the form of questions and answers, addresses questions within the following categories: what chemicals are reportable; who is required to report; information that is to be reported; when is reporting required; general questions; and confidentiality. While the publication of draft guidance within four months of promulgation of the final rule is an achievement, the draft guidance does not significantly expand upon that which is already known, or make the rule clearer or easier with which to comply. Companies subject to the reporting requirements of the final rule can expect to continue to struggle in sorting out what discrete forms are required to be reported. More information regarding the draft guidance is available in our May 16, 2017, memorandum, “EPA Seeks Comment on Draft Guidance for Nanoscale Materials Reporting Rule.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On May 9, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a notice stating that it was reopening the comment period regarding 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. 82 Fed. Reg. 21542. EPA is opening the comment period for another 15 days, until May 24, 2017, to provide adequate opportunity for the public to consider the results of EPA’s consultation with the Small Business Administration (SBA). EPA’s initial request for comments was published on December 15, 2016, and comments on its initial notice were due by January 17, 2017.
The reopening of the comment period allows for public review and comment on EPA’s December 7, 2016, consultation request to the SBA on the adequacy of the current standards, as well as the SBA Administrator’s April 5, 2017, feedback on EPA’s consultation request. In the notice, EPA states that it had intended to add SBA’s response to the docket to give the public an opportunity to review the response to inform their comments on EPA’s preliminary determination; EPA is providing that opportunity now.
By Christopher R. Bryant, Lynn L. Bergeson, and Margaret R. Graham
Facing a government shutdown, late on April 30, 2017, lawmakers reached agreement on a spending bill that funds the federal government through September 2017, which is the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.
President Trump’s budget blueprint sought to slash EPA’s coffers by some 31 percent (and more if certain programs were eliminated from the base). The deal reached by lawmakers, however, would essentially fund EPA at its current levels and retain current staff levels. The bill appropriates $8.058 billion for EPA, paring a little over $80 million -- about one percent -- from EPA’s FY 2016 budget.
Programs targeted for elimination by President Trump remain funded, at least through September, when Congress will face another budget showdown. For example, the bill funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and lead elimination programs.
While EPA’s budget is generally unchanged, the bill does contain several policy riders. It would require EPA to treat air emissions from forest biomass as carbon neutral. EPA also would not be allowed to regulate manure and similar agricultural byproducts as wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the bill would bar EPA from requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for certain agricultural practices. The legislation also prohibits funding to regulate lead content of ammunition, ammunition components, and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) or any other law.
Senate Report No. 114-281 on the pending FY 2017 budget deal and an accompanying explanatory statement also address specifically TSCA, the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), and nanomaterials. The specific language is below.
- Toxic Substances Control Act Modernization -- The Committee notes that legislation to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA] was recently approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. This bill includes language that will enable the EPA to collect and spend new fees to conduct additional chemical reviews, consistent with TSCA modernization legislation. Those fees are expected to be $25,000,000 per year once the program is fully implemented. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in fiscal year 2017, fee collections will begin several months after the beginning of the fiscal year and will total $4,000,000. This bill also includes language ensuring that new fee collections will supplement, not supplant, appropriated resources for these activities.
- Integrated Risk Information System -- The Committee is aware of efforts by the Agency to implement the 2011 National Academy of Science’s [NAS] Chapter 7 and 2014 NAS report recommendations for the Integrated Risk Information System [IRIS] but remains concerned that the recommendations have not been fully implemented. In published appendices that accompany final IRIS assessments, EPA has detailed some of the Agency’s deficiencies in meeting the NAS high-priority reforms. The Committee directs the Agency to convene an interagency working group to be Co-Chaired with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and to include relevant executive branch stakeholders to review compliance with the NAS recommendations in IRIS assessments issued since the 2014 NAS report. The working group shall focus specifically on transition from the use of single point estimates of hazard and exposure to presenting more complete information on the distribution of estimated hazards, exposures, and/or risks, including central tendency values; on processes for evaluating study quality, relevance, and risk of bias; the use of a transparent and reproducible weight-of-evidence process for applying scientific findings; the selection of an adverse outcome; and the use of default linear low-dose extrapolation and other default modeling approaches to hazard determinations. The Committee directs the Agency to issue a report to the Committees of Appropriations of the House and Senate on the findings of the working group and the implementation plans of its findings within 180 days of enactment of this act. The working group report shall also include a timetable for EPA’s full implementation of the NAS recommendations for all IRIS assessments issued since the 2014 NAS report.
- Nanomaterials Research -- The Committee notes the increased capabilities that the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has developed to study environment, health, and safety of nanomaterials [nanoEHS] within FDA’s Jefferson Laboratory Campus, including the National Center for Toxicological Research, and its consolidated headquarters at White Oak, Maryland. The FDA can and should be more involved in nanoEHS research with other agencies, particularly in activities involving human health. Out of the amounts appropriated, the [EPA} Administrator shall seek to involve the FDA in nanoEHS research to the maximum extent possible, including participation in EPA funded research.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
The amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has ushered in new developments in testing strategies. In March 2017, Andre E. Nel, Ph.D. (Division of NanoMedicine, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California (UCLA); California NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (CNSI)) and Timothy F. Malloy (CNSI; UCLA School of Law; UCLA Center on Environmental and Occupational Health) published Policy reforms to update chemical safety testing: TSCA reform empowers EPA to use modernized safety testing in the United States, in the Journal Science. This article discusses this new “paradigm” in testing, which it states relies “largely on nonanimal, alternative testing strategies (ATS), uses mechanism-based in vitro assays and in silico predictive tools for testing chemicals at considerably less cost.” There are technological and institutional challenges, however, that the article addresses, but the authors state they hope to provide a “cautious but hopeful assessment of this intersection of law and science.”
The article describes five iterative components that make up the elements of ATS: conceptual pathways; biomolecular events; screening and modeling; integrating evidence; and regulatory applications. These components work together to inform four types of regulatory decisions: “screening to identify chemicals and nanomaterials for more extensive testing and evaluation; ranking or prioritization for further action; qualitative or quantitative risk management in support of risk management; and comparative evaluation of the hazards and risks of different substances in support of safer design.”
Amended TSCA Section 4(h)(2) implements alternative testing methods to “promote the development and timely incorporation of new scientifically valid test methods and strategies that are not based on vertebrate animals,” and Section 4(h)(2)(A) directs EPA, by June 2018, to develop a strategic plan that will promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine or replace vertebrate animal testing and provide information of equivalent or better scientific quality and relevance for assessing risks of injury to health or the environment of chemical substances or mixtures….”
The article states that while the amended statute seems to be only “procedural in nature” in terms of the implementation of ATS, as the statute compels EPA to facilitate development of ATS but does not obligate the agency to adopt it, two factors bode well for ATS implementation: (1) various EPA offices as well as its partner entities are “already engaged in bringing ATS into the regulatory context”; and (2) as amended TSCA mandates EPA to prioritize chemicals already in the marketplace for safety evaluations, by “specified enforceable deadlines,” which incentivizes the broader EPA chemical regulatory program to “adopt ATS for prioritization and subsequent risk evaluation of chemicals deemed high priority.” The article references EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), the Office of Science Coordination and Policy (OSCP), the new chemical review program, and EPA’s partner entity the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods as those entities engaged in ATS implementation.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On May 2, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would convene a public meeting to clarify and discuss the process of negotiated rulemaking on changes to Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements for inorganic byproducts. The meeting will be held on May 9, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) and on May 10, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EDT), in Washington, D.C. at the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street, N.W, in the General Session Room (South American AB).
On December 15, 2017, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register of its intention to establish a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee (NRC) under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act. 81 Fed. Reg. 90843. The NRC will implement the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a)(6) requirement that EPA “enter into a negotiated rulemaking … to develop and publish, not later than 3 years after the date of enactment … a proposed rule providing for limiting the reporting requirements under this subsection for manufacturers of any inorganic byproducts, if the byproducts, whether by the byproduct manufacturer or by any other person, are subsequently recycled, reused, or reprocessed.” EPA states that it is holding this public meeting prior to the establishment of that NRC to “exchange information and clarify a number of aspects of inorganic byproduct identification and reporting.”
Information about attending this meeting and its agenda will be posted to the NRC website. More information on the establishment of the NRC is available in our blog item EPA To Establish Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Under Amended TSCA.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On May 1, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register stating it was reopening and extending the comment period for two proposed rules: (1) to prohibit the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of TCE for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping (issued January 19, 2017); and (2) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal; to prohibit the use of methylene chloride and NMP in these commercial uses; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride and NMP for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require recordkeeping (issued January 19, 2017). 82 Fed. Reg. 20310.
This is the second extension of the comment period for the proposed rule to ban TCE use in vapor degreasing and the first extension of the comment period for the proposed rule to ban the uses of NMP and methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal. Comments on both proposed rules are now due on May 19, 2017.
On April 14, 2017, Lynn L. Bergeson’s article “TSCA Reform: Key Provisions and Implications,” was published in Volume 26, Issue 2, of Environmental Quality Management. On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which substantially amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and, in so doing, fundamentally altered the domestic management of industrial chemicals -- the lifeblood of many manufacturing processes. This article summarizes key changes to TSCA and explains their likely impacts on the manufacturing sector.
By Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Margaret R. Graham
On April 25, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two notices in the Federal Register expressing its determination that 28 new chemical notifications are “not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” 82 Fed Reg. 19044 (Statement of Findings for December 2016); 82 Fed. Reg. 19046 (Statements of Findings for February 2017). The statements of findings list premanufacture notices (PMN) and microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN) regarding new polymer and biodegradable chemicals submitted to EPA under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The notices listed in the December 2016 statement of findings are:
- EPA Case Number (MCAN): J-16-0033: Chemical identity: Saccharomyces cerevisiae modified to express glucoamylase activity (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (MCAN): J-16-0034: Chemical identity: Saccharomyces cerevisiae modified (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (MCAN): J-16-0035: Chemical identity: Saccharomyces cerevisiae modified (generic name);
- EPA Case Numbers (MCANs): J-16-0036 to J-16-0041: Chemical identity: Biofuel producing modified microorganism(s), with chromosomally-borne modifications (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0009: Chemical identity: Depolymerized waste plastics (generic name);
- EPA Case Numbers (PMNs): P-17-0016, P-17-0017, P-17-0019, and P-17-0020: Chemical identity: Hydroxyl alkyl acrylate ester, polymer with acrylates, aromatic vinyl monomer, cycloaliphatic lactone, and alkyl carboxylic acid, peroxide initiated (generic name); and
- EPA Case Numbers (PMNs): P-17-0018 and P-17-0021: Chemical identity: Hydroxyl alkyl acrylate ester, polymer with acrylates, aromatic vinyl monomer, cycloaliphatic lactone, and alkyl carboxylic acid, Azobis [aliphatic nitrile] initiated (generic name).
The notices listed in the February 2017 statement of findings are:
- EPA Case Numbers (MCANs): J-17-0001 to J-17-0005: Chemical identity: Saccharomyces cerevisiae modified (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (MCAN): J-17-0006: Chemical identity: Saccharomyces cerevisiae modified (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0144: Chemical identity: Amines, C36- alkylenedi-, polymers with octahydro- 4,7-methano-1H-indenedimethanamine and pyromellitic dianhydride, maleated (CASRN: 2020378-57-6);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0158: Chemical identity: Perylene bisimide (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0160: Chemical identity: 2-Propenoic acid, alkyl-, alkyl ester, polymer with alkyl 2- propenoate, dialkyloxoalkyl-2- propenamide and alkyl 2-propenoate (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0161: Chemical identity: 2-Propenoic acid, alkyl-, alkyl ester, polymer with alkyl 2- propenoate, dialkyloxoalkyl-2- propenamide, ethenylbenzene and alkyl 2-propenoate (generic name);
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0182: Chemical identity: Alkyldioic acid, polymer with 2,2-dimethyl-1,3- propanediol, heteropolycyclic carboxy acid anhydride and 1,3-propanediol (generic name); and
- EPA Case Number (PMN): P-17-0185: Chemical identity: Fatty acids, C18- unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with C18-unsatd. fatty acid trimers, alkylenediamine and hydroxyalkanoic acid (generic name).
The publication of these two notices fulfills EPA’s obligation under TSCA Section 5(g) to publish its findings; all of these determinations had previously been posted to the EPA website. It is to EPA’s credit that EPA has made its determinations public as soon as practicable by posting those determinations on its website. We recognize that publication in the Federal Register often lags behind EPA’s decisions because of resource constraints and competition with other Federal Register notices. We are pleased to see new chemicals cleared for production.
Nevertheless, EPA’s pace of approving new chemicals for the marketplace has slowed tremendously since enactment of TSCA reform. Furthermore, these notices do not provide any line of sight on the reasons contributing to the delays, or EPA’s resolution of these issues. To date, EPA has only published its final determinations for substances with low concerns for heath and ecological hazards. With only 28 new chemicals approved from the time period of December 1, 2016, to February 28, 2017, EPA will need to work much faster to even come close to its annual average number of 700-800 PMN reviews and keep the backlog of cases under review from continuing to grow.
By Christopher R. Bryant and Lynn L. Bergeson
According to press reports, Nancy Beck, Ph.D., DABT has been hired as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). Dr. Beck holds a doctorate in environmental health from the University of Washington. For the past five years she served as the Senior Director for Regulatory Science Policy at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). For a decade prior to ACC, she was an analyst within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Despite Dr. Beck’s compelling credentials, the appointment has displeased some stakeholders. Dr. Beck has been a staunch critic of how EPA conducts chemical risk assessments and its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). President Trump is proposing to eliminate IRIS; it thus is unlikely that Dr. Beck would revive or rely upon it in implementing the recently revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Less than two months ago, Dr. Beck provided testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management calling for changes to EPA’s risk assessment processes.