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.
This June marks the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the game-changing Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) that amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). With a new Administration and the relentless pace of regulatory developments related to Lautenberg implementation, there are many issues to consider and problems to solve.
As with our previous TSCA anniversary events, a stellar faculty of speakers from government, non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia will convene to inform, analyze, discuss, and debate the most pressing issues related to TSCA with regulatory practitioners and other stakeholder attendees.
Detailed program and registration information to come. SAVE THE DATE!
On November 25, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updates to the interim final list of manufacturers and importers subject to fees for the next 20 chemicals undergoing risk evaluation under Section 6(b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act. According to EPA, “[t]he updated list includes additional manufacturers not identified on the final list of companies and removes manufacturers that self-identified in error or imported the chemical solely for the purpose of research and development.” EPA stated it is committed to ensuring this list is accurate and that it planned to use this updated list to begin invoicing for fees in early November. EPA also stated that due to the public health emergency, EPA is exploring options for payment flexibilities.
On September 4, 2020, EPA published a Federal Register notice announcing the final lists identifying the manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 chemical substances that have been designated as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged. 85 Fed. Reg. 55283.
On August 26, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an interim final list of businesses subject to fees for the 20 chemicals designated as high priority for risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA notes that the interim list is an updated version of the preliminary list released in January 2020. According to EPA, making the interim final list available now gives businesses and other stakeholders an opportunity to review the list for accuracy and provides time for businesses to engage in initial outreach regarding the formation of consortia to share in fee payments. As reported in our January 29, 2020, blog item, EPA published a Federal Register notice on January 27, 2020, identifying the preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 chemical substances that EPA designated as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged. 85 Fed. Reg. 4661. During the comment period, manufacturers (including importers) were required to self-identify as manufacturers of a high-priority substance irrespective of whether they are included on the preliminary lists identified by EPA. EPA used this information, along with feedback received during the public comment period, to develop the interim final list.
EPA states that it will publish the final list of businesses subject to fees for the 20 high-priority chemicals concurrently with the release of the final scope documents for these chemicals. Companies on the final list are subject to a portion of the TSCA fee for these risk evaluations and have 60 days to notify EPA of the formation of consortia. According to EPA, it plans to begin invoicing for the fees after those 60 days have passed. Due to the public health emergency, EPA states that it is exploring options for payment flexibilities. Information on forming a consortium is available in our March 2, 2020, memorandum, “The Essential Value of Forming TSCA Consortia.”
On August 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report entitled Lack of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability to Meet Toxic Substances Control Act Deadlines. OIG conducted the audit to determine whether EPA met the deadlines already imposed by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) in 2016, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and has the staff, resources, and management controls in place to meet future statutory deadlines. The Lautenberg Act required EPA to develop new rules for chemical prioritization for risk evaluation and risk evaluation for existing chemicals and to review all new chemical submissions and make a regulatory determination. OIG found that while EPA met several of its TSCA deadlines, it did not complete all ten required existing chemical risk evaluations by the June 19, 2020, deadline. OIG notes that because of statutory requirements, the number of required existing chemical risk evaluations doubled at the end of 2019, “risking the EPA’s ability to meet TSCA deadlines.”
OIG states that EPA’s ability to assess its TSCA workload -- and subsequently estimate the workforce levels necessary to achieve that workload -- “is critically important.” OIG notes that the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) has not publicly identified the additional staff and resources it needs to accomplish all mandated TSCA requirements. According to OIG, “OPPT’s resource planning is hindered by not complying with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management regulations, which requires developing a workforce plan to manage current and future workforce needs.”
OIG states that EPA’s program offices have not conducted a systematic workload analysis or identified workforce needs for budget justification purposes since 1987 and that this is also true for OPPT, which is responsible for implementing the TSCA amendments. According to OIG, though OPPT expects to hire more staff members to implement the TSCA amendments in fiscal year (FY) 2020, OPPT “lacks a workforce-and-workload analysis to successfully implement and meet the 2016 TSCA deadlines.” Additionally, OIG states, EPA’s annual plans for risk evaluations “were neither done in a timely manner nor met the statutory requirements to identify the resources needed to initiate or complete the risk evaluations for the year.”
OIG recommends that the assistant administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention: (1) publish the annual existing chemical plan including the anticipated implementation efforts and required resources; (2) conduct a workforce analysis to assess OPPT’s capability to implement the TSCA amendments; and (3) specify what skill gaps must be filled in FY 2021 to meet the TSCA requirements. According to OIG, EPA “provided acceptable corrective actions and estimated milestone dates for all recommendations.” OIG “consider[s] these recommendations resolved with corrective actions pending.”
On June 24, 2020, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health presented “TSCA Reform -- Four Years Later.” A full recording of the seminar, including a keynote address by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and comments by the Hon. John Shimkus U.S. Representative, 15th District of Illinois, is available to watch now.
This complimentary all-day virtual seminar marked the fourth Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Annual Conference, with top EPA officials and industry leaders reflecting on the accomplishments and challenges since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where TSCA stands today. Panelists covered “TSCA Implementation: Where Are We Now?,” “Science Policy Issues,” and “Regulatory and Policy Issues” while offering unique insights into the decision-making process of EPA.
Building on the timely information shared during this event, B&C’s All Things Chemical ™ podcast has released an exclusive interview with Alexandra Dunn focusing on the current state of TSCA, “TSCA at Four — A Conversation with Alexandra Dunn, OCSPP AA.” Lynn L. Bergeson and Alexandra Dunn focused their discussion on the implementation of the amendments to TSCA, which Congress enacted in 2016. As pollution prevention is an integral part of EPA’s mission, this episode also focuses on initiatives under way to introduce safer and greener chemicals. Finally, the discussion includes a look ahead to what is on EPA’s agenda for the remainder of the year, which promises to be extraordinarily busy.
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled Further Efforts Needed to Uphold Scientific Integrity Policy at EPA. OIG conducted an Agency-wide survey to determine whether EPA’s Scientific Integrity Policy is being implemented as intended to ensure scientific integrity throughout EPA. OIG received 4,320 responses (a 23.5 percent response rate), showing that 3,987 respondents were aware of or had some familiarity with the Scientific Integrity Policy. According to OIG, among those respondents with a basis to judge, the majority (56 percent; 1,025 of 1,842) were satisfied with the overall implementation of the Policy. OIG states that the survey also revealed some concerns with specific aspects of scientific integrity at EPA, including dissatisfaction with EPA’s culture of scientific integrity (59 percent; 1,425 of 2,402) and the release of scientific information to the public (57 percent; 1,049 of 1,842). OIG recommends that EPA’s deputy administrator lead an effort to examine the causes associated with the scientific integrity concerns identified in the survey and communicate the results to EPA employees, including planned actions to address the causes. OIG also made 11 recommendations to the EPA science advisor, including developing procedures for addressing and resolving allegations of scientific integrity violations, communicating the outcomes of reports of scientific integrity violations, and improving the release of scientific information to the public. OIG states that EPA agreed with its recommendations and provided acceptable corrective actions. According to OIG, EPA has completed two recommendations, and the others are resolved with corrective actions pending.
On March 2, 2020, at ChemCon The Americas 2020 in Philadelphia, Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), and Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, sat down with Tjeerd Bokhout to discuss the implementation of Lautenberg and what can be expected through 2020. Ms. Dunn started off the discussion, noting that EPA is “getting our sea legs under us; we spent the first two or three years after enactment, really through 2019, setting up the bones of the program, the regulations, the structure, the fees rule, and now we’ve begun the deep process of looking at each chemical [for risk evaluation].” The conversation continued with discussion regarding how chemicals are selected for evaluation, surprises EPA encountered while making low-priority determinations, and what can be expected through the remainder of 2020. Ms. Dunn and Ms. Bergeson agreed that as more chemicals go through this review process, the quantity and type of information needed will standardize, leading to more predictability for all stakeholders. Now that a system is evolving, EPA plans to identify data gaps early to provide time to strategize how to acquire as much information as is required to evaluate properly a chemical on schedule and with minimal additional costs.
A full video of this informative interview, drawing back the curtain on both EPA and industry’s experience with the implementation of TSCA and details on what to prepare for in the near future, is available to stream now.
On February 20, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a list of 20 chemical substances identified as low-priority for risk evaluation under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), completing another TSCA requirement. EPA notes that a final designation as “low-priority” means that risk evaluations are not warranted at this time. EPA states that it considered reasonably available information for each chemical substance under its conditions of use as specified in TSCA. Additionally, according to EPA, these 20 low-priority chemicals are on its Safer Chemical Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that meet strict criteria for both human health and the environment. The 20 chemicals are
1-Butanol, 3-methoxy-, 1-acetate;
D-gluco-Heptonic acid, sodium salt (1:1), (2.xi.)-;
EPA has posted a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice announcing the final designation of low-priority substances. As reported in our December 20, 2019, blog item, in December 2019, EPA designated 20 chemicals as high-priority under TSCA, and those chemicals are now in the risk evaluation process. More information on the final list of low-priority chemicals will be available in a forthcoming memorandum that will be posted on our website.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice on January 27, 2020, identifying the preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 chemical substances that EPA designated as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged. 85 Fed. Reg. 4661. During the comment period, manufacturers (including importers) are required to self-identify as manufacturers of a high-priority substance irrespective of whether they are included on the preliminary lists identified by EPA. EPA states that where appropriate, entities may also avoid or reduce fee obligations by making certain certifications consistent with the final rule on fees for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The comment period also provides the public an opportunity to correct errors or provide comments on the preliminary lists. According to the notice, EPA expects to publish final lists of manufacturers (including importers) subject to fees no later than concurrently with the publication of the final scope document for risk evaluations of the 20 high-priority substances. Manufacturers (including importers) identified on the final lists will be subject to applicable fees.
The preliminary lists are available in Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0677 and on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/TSCA-fees. EPA states that it developed each preliminary list “using the most up-to-date information available, including information submitted to the Agency (e.g., information submitted under TSCA section 8(a) (including the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Rule) and section 8(b), and to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)).” According to the notice, EPA considered using other sources of information, such as publicly available information or information submitted to other agencies to which EPA has access, but EPA “concluded that data quality limitations would create more false positives than appropriate additions to the lists.” Additionally, EPA notes that it believes the Self-Identification process, established by 40 C.F.R. Section 700.45(b)(5), will be sufficient to identify additional manufacturers (including importers), as appropriate. To include the two most recent CDR reporting cycle data (collected every four years) and to account for annual or other typical fluctuations in manufacturing (including import), EPA states that it used six years of data submitted or available to it under CDR and TRI to create the preliminary lists (2012-2018).
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm focusing on conventional, biobased, and nanoscale industrial, agricultural, and specialty chemical product approval and regulation, product defense, and associated business issues.