By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 16, 2020, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profits to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to two Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panels. There will be one Panel for methylene chloride and one Panel for 1-bromopropane (1-BP). According to EPA, each Panel will focus on EPA’s development of proposed rules to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations for these chemicals. As reported in our June 25, 2020, memorandum, and August 11, 2020, memorandum, EPA’s final risk evaluations showed unreasonable risks to workers and consumers under certain conditions of use. EPA is now moving to the risk management step in the TSCA process by working to draft regulations to protect public health from the unreasonable risks identified in the final risk evaluations.
According to EPA, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to establish an SBAR Panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBAR Panels will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA. The SBAR Panels will select SERs to provide comments on behalf of their company, community, or organization and advise the Panel on the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities. EPA states that it is seeking self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. EPA notes that other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted online for the methylene chloride and 1-BP SBAR Panels and must be received by September 30, 2020.
EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, and environmental justice communities.” EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulations.