By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On June 28, 2019, a coalition of 11 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its failure to initiate an asbestos reporting rule under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The complaint argues that EPA wrongfully denied the states’ January 31, 2019, petition, filed under TSCA Section 21, to issue a rule for the reporting of the manufacture, import, and processing of asbestos. More information on the petition is available in our February 1, 2019, blog item, and more information on EPA’s denial is available in our January 4, 2019, blog item.
According to the coalition, the rulemaking they requested is necessary under TSCA, and the denial of their petition was arbitrary and capricious and violates EPA’s obligations under TSCA. The coalition asks the court to compel EPA to initiate a rulemaking and issue a new asbestos reporting rule to:
- Eliminate “naturally occurring substance” as an exemption for asbestos reporting;
- Require processors of asbestos, as well as manufacturers, including importers, of the chemical substance to adhere to reporting requirements;
- Ensure that the impurities exemption in the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule does not apply to asbestos; and
- Require reporting with respect to imported articles that contain asbestos.
The coalition includes the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.