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.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On September 14, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a motion in the two Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cases regarding review of the EPA Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework rule Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation under TSCA:  Safer Chemicals Healthy Families v. EPA, Case No. 17-72260 (filed August 10, 2017); and Environmental Defense Fund v. EPA, Case No. 17-72501 (filed September 6, 2017), requesting that the cases be transferred to the Fourth Circuit and to hold the cases in abeyance.  In the motion, EPA states three reasons why these cases should be transferred:

  1. "It is in the interest of judicial economy for the same court to hear the challenges to both EPA Rules,” and “[a]lthough the two Rules are distinct and have separate administrative records, the parties anticipate that there will be some overlap of issues.”
  2. “It would be more convenient for the parties and conserve travel resources for these cases to be heard in the Fourth Circuit, because all counsel of record are located in Washington, DC, or New York.”
  3. “The Fourth Circuit may be able to resolve the petitions for review more quickly than this Court given the respective complexity of the courts’ dockets.”

In this motion, EPA also requests for these cases to be held in abeyance as it “will conserve party resources to wait until resolution of EPA’s motion to transfer before completing any scheduled filings, particularly because the two have different schedules” and “the deadline for interested persons to file petitions for review of the Prioritization and Risk Evaluation Rules has not yet expired…. additional petitions for review … could be filed as late as October 2, 2017.” 

In Case No. 17-72260, Petitioners’ briefs are due October 30, 2017, and Respondent EPA’s briefs are due November 28, 2017.  A briefing schedule has not been scheduled yet in Case No. 17-72501.  On September 11, 2017, in Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, et al. v. EPA, Case No. 17-1926, the Fourth Circuit case regarding review of EPA’s TSCA framework rule Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation under TSCA, the Fourth Circuit rescinded the briefing schedule.  A new briefing schedule has not been set. 

More information on these petitions for review is available on our blog under key phrases framework rules and petition for review.  


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On September 6, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT), the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittees on Environment and on Oversight will hold a joint hearing on “Examining the Scientific and Operational Integrity of EPA’s IRIS Program.”  The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  • Dr. Kenneth Mundt, Principal, Ramboll Environ;
  • Dr. James Bus, Senior Managing Scientist, Exponent; and
  • Dr. Thomas Burke, former Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) and EPA’s Science Advisor under former President Obama; Johns Hopkins University.

President Trump’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2018 would have eliminated EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program, although the IRIS Program is included in the final budget request.  The EPA Science Advisory Board’s (SAB) August 29-30, 2017, meeting included an update from ORD’s National Center for Environmental Assessment on the IRIS Program.  According to the presentation, IRIS is working to increase transparency and full implementation of systematic review; modernize the IRIS Program; modularize product lines; and enhance accessibility.  Other IRIS improvements include implementing “next generation IRIS” and improved management practices.  During the meeting, the SAB agreed to send a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in support of the IRIS Program.

Tags: IRIS, SAB, Hearing,

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On August 22, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it plans to begin preliminary research to assess Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  According to OIG’s Project Notification, the specific objectives for this evaluation are to determine:  (1) how EPA is ensuring that companies are compliant with CDR requirements under TSCA; and (2) whether EPA is using CDR data to prioritize imported and manufactured chemicals for the purpose of identifying the potential for human health and environmental risks.  The Project Notification asks Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Lawrence Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, to provide the following information:

  • Policies, procedures, and guidance on how CDR data are used in the prioritization of chemicals for TSCA risk evaluations and/or other assessments;
  • Policies, procedures, and guidance regarding the quality assurance/quality control of CDR data; and
  • Enforcement response policy and guidance for CDR violations.

The Project Notification states that the anticipated benefits of the project are “reduced risks to human health and the environment from the monitoring and oversight of TSCA chemicals subject to the CDR rule reporting requirements.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On August 10, 2017, and on August 11, 2017, petitions for review of two of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final “framework rules” issued under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were filed in federal court.  These six lawsuits seek review of the final rule Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation under TSCA and the final rule Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation under TSCA.  The petitions were filed by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, et al. on August 10, 2017 (Cases 17-72260 and 17-72259); the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, et al. (including the Natural Resources Defense Council) on August 11, 2017 (Cases 17-1926 and 17-1927 (consolidated)); and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on August 11, 2017 (Cases 17-2464 and 17-2403), in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth, Fourth, and Second Circuits, respectively.  In the Ninth Circuit, the Petitioner’s Briefs are due October 30, 2017, and Respondent EPA’s briefs are due November 28, 2017; in the Fourth Circuit, the opening brief, record from agency, and the appendix are due September 20, 2017, and the response brief is due October 20, 2017; in the Second Circuit, a briefing schedule has not been posted yet. 

In its petitions for review, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, et al. state that they challenge the rules as “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; and without observance of procedure required by law.” On the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ website, the organization states that the petitions allege the rules “fail to provide the protections against unsafe chemicals that Congress required in the critical priority-setting and risk evaluation provisions of the new law, which are intended to ensure that unreasonable risks to health and the environment are fully assessed and eliminated.”  In its petitions for review, EDF does not list any details as to why it is seeking review (nor do the rules require petitioners to do so), but on its website it states that “EPA has issued framework rules that violate the letter and intent of the law,” and that EDF has filed lawsuits challenging those rules and “will continue to monitor EPA’s actions to ensure EPA complies with the law and protects public health.”  The petitions for review filed by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, et al. do not list any details as to why they are seeking review. 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published two of the three Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework final rules in the Federal Register:

These rules will become effective on September 18, 2017. The TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Reporting Requirements final rule has not yet been published.  EPA also published the notice of availability of its guidance to assist in developing and submitting draft risk evaluations:

More information on these final rules and the guidance are available in our memorandum EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.  


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of the scope documents for the risk evaluations of the first ten chemicals that it will be conducting under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  82 Fed. Reg. 31592.  The notice states that each scope document includes “the hazards, exposures, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations the EPA expects to consider in conducting the risk evaluation.”  The direct links to the scope documents are available in our blog item EPA Issues Much Anticipated Three Final TSCA Framework Rules, Guidance on Draft Risk Evaluations, and Scoping Documents on Risk Evaluations of First Ten Chemicals under Revised TSCA.

The notice also reiterates that EPA is re-opening existing dockets for the first ten chemicals to “allow for the public to provide additional data or information that could be useful to the Agency in conducting problem formulation, the next step in the process of conducting the risk evaluations for these chemicals.”  More information on the reopening of the dockets for public comments, including links to the individual dockets, is available in our blog item EPA Opens Comment Period on Risk Evaluations for First Ten Chemicals under Revised TSCA.  As stated in the memo reopening the dockets, but curiously not stated in the published notice (no dates were included), comments are due September 19, 2017.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, Charles M. Auer, Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.

On June 26, 2017, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) issued a summary and analysis of the three final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework rules released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 22, 2017, EPA Issues Final TSCA Framework Rules.  The final rules include the prioritization process rule, which establishes EPA’s process and criteria for identifying High-Priority chemicals for risk evaluation and Low-Priority chemicals for which risk evaluation is not warranted at this time; the risk evaluation process rule, which establishes EPA’s process for evaluating High-Priority chemicals to determine whether or not they present an unreasonable risk to health or the environment; and the TSCA Inventory active-inactive rule, which requires industry to report chemicals manufactured, imported, or processed in the U.S. over the past ten years.  EPA also published pre-publication notices concerning the scopes of the risk evaluations to be conducted for the first ten chemical substances under new TSCA and a guidance document to assist interested persons in developing and submitting draft risk evaluations.

B&C states that on the whole, the final rules improve upon the proposed rules, adding clarity and specificity where needed, and eliminating provisions and or preamble text that, in our view, enhance the clarity of the rules.  Not everyone will be happy, however, as the rules reconsider, revise, and in some instances retreat from positions taken in the proposed rules issued under the Obama Administration. Our analysis identifies these changes.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

As required by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), on June 22, 2017, one year after passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the three framework rules in final.  EPA also released draft guidance to assist in developing and submitting draft risk evaluations.  The final rules are:

  1. Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation;
  2. Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation; and
  3. TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements

EPA also released scoping documents of the risk evaluations and supplemental resources on the first ten chemicals under amended TSCA, as it stipulated in its annual report on risk evaluations.  Links to the scoping documents for these ten chemicals, as well as strategies for conducting literature searches, are below:

  1. 1, 4-Dioxane;
  2. Methylene Chloride;
  3. 1-Bromopropane;
  4. N-Methylpyrolidone (NMP);
  5. Asbestos;
  6. Pigment Violet 29;
  7. Carbon Tetrachloride;
  8. Trichloroethylene;
  9. Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD); and
  10. Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene).

Administrator Scott Pruitt signed them and they were released to the general public shortly thereafter.  They are expected to be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.  Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) will provide feedback on the final rules in upcoming memoranda on each final rule, as well as a memorandum on the draft guidance on developing risk evaluations.  Please look for these memoranda on our website under “Regulatory Developments.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted a memo authorizing the opening of comment periods for the public to comment on the risk evaluation process for the first ten chemicals it is evaluating under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to determine whether they “present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.”  Specifically, EPA states it is interested in “information from the public that could be useful to the Agency in conducting problem formulation,” which is the “next step in the process of conducting the required risk evaluations for these chemicals.”  Comments are due September 19, 2017.

EPA’s 2017 Annual Report on Risk Evaluations issued in February stated that it expected to issue a scoping document on each of the individual chemicals by June 19, 2017, which must include “the hazard(s), exposure(s), condition(s) of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the Administrator expects to consider in the evaluation.”  EPA has not yet issued the scoping documents, but is expected to do so soon. After the scoping documents have been published, EPA stated that it would “continue with the risk evaluation process as described in the statute and the associated Risk Evaluation Rule [to be issued in final on June 22, 2017], with the expectation to complete the risk evaluation in the 3-3.5 year timeframe required by law.”

The list of ten chemicals and their corresponding docket ID numbers are:

  1. 1, 4 Dioxane, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0723;
  2. Methylene Chloride, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0742;
  3. 1-Bromopropane, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0741;
  4. N-Methylpyrolidone (NMP), EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0743;
  5. Asbestos, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0736;
  6. Pigment Violet 29, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0725;
  7. Carbon Tetrachloride, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0733;
  8. Trichloroethylene, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0737;
  9. Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD), EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0735; and
  10. Tetrachloroethylene, EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0732.

Revised TSCA requires that the three framework rules, which include the procedures for evaluating existing chemical risks rule (Risk Evaluation Rule), the procedures to prioritize chemicals for risk evaluation rule, and the requirements for TSCA Inventory notification (active-inactive) rule, be issued in final by June 22, 2017.   

More information on these framework rules will be available on our blog after they are issued in final.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On June 13, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received a notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitting its draft Guidance to Assist Interested Persons in Developing and Submitting Draft Risk Evaluations Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (RIN 2070-ZA18) for review and approval.  Under Section 26(l)(5), EPA is required, “[n]ot later than 1 year after the date of enactment … [to] develop guidance to assist interested persons in developing and submitting draft risk evaluations which shall be considered by the Administrator.”  While the “framework rules” have been the subject of considerable focus since last June, this guidance is as important, subject to the one year deadline, and likely to provide significant insights into EPA’s thinking on risk evaluations.  EPA must publish the final rule in the Federal Register by June 22, 2017.

More information on the final rule on Procedures for Evaluating Existing Chemical Risks under TSCA is available in our memorandum EPA Releases Proposed Chemical Risk Evaluation Process under New TSCA.


 
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