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

The hearing on the nominations of four U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) scheduled for September 20, 2017, has been postponed without any specific reasons; a new hearing date has not been provided.  Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) will be monitoring the Senate EPW Committee calendar for the new hearing date.

More information on the nominees is available in our blog item Senate EPW Committee to Hold Hearing on Nominations of EPA Officials.  


 

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 Margaret R. Graham

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has announced that it will hold a hearing on the following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominations on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT):

  1. Michael Dourson, Ph.D., for Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP).  Dr. Dourson is a professor in the Risk Science Center, Environmental Health, at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, College of Medicine.  He founded the nonprofit Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment and has previously worked at EPA as the Associate Director of the Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, among other positions.  Dr. Dourson has served in multiple positions at the American Board of Toxicology, Society of Toxicology, Society for Risk Analysis, and Toxicology Education Foundation. 
  2. Matthew Leopold, Esquire, for General Counsel.  Mr. Leopold is currently Of Counsel at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., and focuses on federal and state administrative cases, federal and state enforcement actions, natural resource matters, and pollution cleanup issues, especially as they relate to electric utilities.  He previously served as General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from 2013 to 2015 and as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, from 2007 to 2013. 
  3. David Ross, Esquire, for Assistant Administrator for Water.  Mr. Ross currently serves as the Director of the Environmental Protection Unit for the Wisconsin Department of Justice where he is responsible for representing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the State of Wisconsin in federal and state court, including defending agency decisions, prosecuting environmental enforcement cases, and providing legal and policy advice on environmental and natural resources issues.  Prior to this, he served as the Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office from 2014 to 2016, and from 2002 to 2014, he practiced law at three Washington, D.C. law firms in their environmental groups.
  4. William L. Wehrum, Esquire, for Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.  This position’s jurisdiction includes climate change programs.  Mr. Wehrum is currently a Partner at Hunton & Williams LLP, and focuses on the regulation of oil and gas production and refining operations.  He has a long history with EPA, serving as Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation from 2001 to 2005, and as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation from 2005 to 2007.  

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On September 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register extending the period for public comments on the candidates for consideration for the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals from September 5, 2017, to September 17, 2017.  Comments can be submitted online in Docket Identification Number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0713.

EPA is considering candidates for SACC membership listed in the August 26, 2016, Federal Register notice pool of requested nominees; the 29 candidates for membership identified in the December 9, 2016, Federal Register notice; and the additional candidates provided in the August 3, 2017, Federal Register notice.  More information on the background, qualification of members, and the process of obtaining nominees is available in our memorandum EPA Seeks Comment on Nominations to “Augmented” Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On September 1, 2017, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed a petition for review in the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (No. 17-1201) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) framework rule TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements, published on August 11, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 37520). 

This is the third and final challenge by EDF to the framework rules implementing amended TSCA (there are only three framework rules), but the seventh total challenge, as other parties have also petitioned for review.  On August 11, 2017, EDF petitioned for review of the TSCA framework rules Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation under TSCA and the final rule Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation, filed on August 11 (Second Cir. Case Nos. 17-2464 and 17-2403, respectively).  Per the Consolidation Orders of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, both of EDF’s August 11 petitions have now been consolidated with other petitions for review of the same orders.  Case No. 17-2464 was moved to the Fourth Circuit, and Case No. 2403 was moved to the Ninth Circuit. 

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 Ninth Circuit, the Petitioners’ briefs are due October 30, 2017, and Respondent EPA’s briefs are due November 28, 2017.                                       


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On August 18, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be holding a public workshop on the use of the paint remover methylene chloride in furniture refinishing on September 12, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) at its Region 1 Headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.  It is holding the workshop in collaboration with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy.  The meeting aims to “facilitate an exchange of information on existing use practices and furniture refinishers’ experience, in general, with paint removal products and methods.”

EPA’s January 19, 2017, proposed rule proposed to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  EPA states that this workshop will allow “[f]ederal and state governments, industry professionals, furniture refinishing experts, non-government organizations, and academic experts, among others, [to] discuss the role of methylene chloride in furniture refinishing, potential alternatives, economic impacts, and other issues identified in EPA’s January 2017 proposed rule on methylene chloride,” and information learned from this workshop will allow it to “better understand current work practices and obtain additional information on the economic considerations involved in selecting chemical products for paint and coating removal in the furniture refinishing sector.”

EPA will open a docket at www.regulations.gov in Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPPT-2017-0139 upon publication of the notice of the meeting in the Federal Register, and will be accepting comments until November 12, 2017Registration for the meeting is available online.  Registrants can choose to attend in-person, via webinar, or via phone.

 

 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 14, 2017, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) announced it would be forming a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) New Chemicals Coalition.  That the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now required to make a determination on all new chemicals (or significant new uses of existing chemicals) is at the heart of the changes in EPA’s review of new chemicals, and the new policies and practices that have emerged since June of 2016.  What is less clear is how EPA is making these determinations.  The coalition’s mission is to prepare meaningful comments and offer constructive, helpful, and informed improvements to the new chemicals review process. 

Joining the coalition is easy.  We are asking for a flat fee of $1,000 per company for a 12 month period.  We are not currently allowing trade associations to join.  The chemical community has participated in ad hoc coalitions for years, so the drill is familiar.  Dues will be used to:

  • Convene meetings and calls;
  • Develop advocacy positions on crucial issues to be decided and prioritized, including preparing for EPA’s Fall 2017 release of documents on how it reviews new chemicals; and
  • Provide informed and effective comment on these issues and meet with EPA leadership to advocate for the Coalition’s views on these issues.

More information is available in our memorandum Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. Forms “TSCA New Chemicals Coalition.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On August 14, 2017, as the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a) information gathering rule on nanomaterials took effect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published “working guidance” intended to assist stakeholders in complying with the rule.  The working guidance notes that it “will not provide answers to all of the potential questions that will arise as manufacturers and processors seek to comply with the rule.  Commenters to the draft guidance asked several questions that would require more details or information before EPA could respond to their question.”  If the guidance does not answer questions about the rule, companies are directed to contact Jim Alwood, Chemical Control Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  EPA states that it will answer questions on a case-by-case basis.  EPA intends to add further questions/answers and revisions to the guidance based on questions identified by persons who may be subject to the rule. 

As reported in our January 11, 2017, blog item, the January 12, 2017, final rule establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for certain discrete forms of chemical substances that are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale.  Under the rule, manufacturers and processers, or persons who intend to manufacture or process these chemical substances must report certain information to EPA.  The information to be reported includes, insofar as known to or reasonably ascertainable by the person making the report, the specific chemical identity, production volume, methods of manufacture and processing, exposure and release information, and existing information concerning environmental and health effects.  Persons who manufacture or process a discrete form of a reportable chemical substance at any time during the three years prior to August 14, 2017, the effective date of the final rule, must report to EPA one year after the effective date of the final rule.  There is also a standing one-time reporting requirement for persons who intend to manufacture or process a discrete form of a reportable chemical substance on or after the effective date of the rule.  These persons must report to EPA at least 135 days before manufacture or processing of that discrete form.  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.


 

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 August 3, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice on further nominations to the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC).  EPA’s notice provides the names and affiliations of 64 additional candidates currently under consideration for appointment to SACC.  Biographical sketches for these candidates will be are posted on EPA’s website

EPA will also be considering the 29 candidates for membership previously identified in the December 9, 2016, Federal Register notice -- their biographical sketches are available here.  EPA states that it “anticipates selecting approximately six additional SACC members with specific expertise and perspectives representing industry, labor, animal protection, government, public health, and public interest groups.”  EPA is inviting comments on the candidates to be used to assist in the selection process.  Comments are due September 5, 2017.

More information on these new nominations is available in our memorandum EPA Seeks Comment on Nominations to “Augmented” Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals.  More information on the SACC is available on our blog under key word SACC.


 
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