By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 31, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review a final rule regarding user fees for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As reported in our February 9, 2018, memorandum, “Administrator Pruitt Signs TSCA User Fee Proposal,” as amended by the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, TSCA provides EPA the authority to levy fees on certain chemical manufacturers, including importers and processors, to “provide a sustainable source of funding to defray resources that are available for implementation of new responsibilities under the amended law.” Under the amendments to TSCA, EPA has authority to require payment from manufacturers and processors who:
- Are required to submit information by test rule, test order, or enforceable consent agreement (ECA) (TSCA Section 4);
- Submit notification of or information related to intent to manufacture a new chemical or significant new use of a chemical (TSCA Section 5); or
- Manufacture or process a chemical substance that is subject to a risk evaluation, including a risk evaluation conducted at the request of a manufacturer (TSCA Section 6(b)).
EPA’s February 26, 2018, proposed rule described the proposed TSCA fees and fee categories for fiscal years (FY) 2019, 2020, and 2021, and explained the methodology by which the proposed TSCA user fees were determined and would be determined for subsequent FYs. In proposing the new TSCA user fees, EPA also proposed amending long-standing user fee regulations governing the review of Section 5 premanufacture notices (PMN), exemption applications and notices, and significant new use notices (SNUN). Under the proposed rule, after implementation of final TSCA user fees regulations, certain manufacturers and processors would be required to pay a prescribed fee for each Section 5 notice or exemption application, Section 4 testing action, or Section 6 risk evaluation for EPA to recover certain costs associated with carrying out certain work under TSCA. EPA did not propose specific fees for submission of confidential business information (CBI).
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 27, 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asking to dismiss voluntarily its petition for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “New Chemicals Decision-Making Framework: Working Approach to Making Determinations under Section 5 of TSCA.” NRDC v. EPA, No. 18-25. NRDC petitioned the court on January 5, 2018, for review of EPA’s November 2017 Framework Document. In its petition for review, NRDC described the Framework Document as a final rule, and argued in its May 1, 2018, opening brief that, based on the Framework Document, EPA “limits its review of a new chemical substance to the manufacturer’s intended conditions of use and disregards Congress’s instruction to address risk concerns through enforceable orders and regulations.” On July 31, 2018, EPA filed its opening brief, which included a declaration from Dr. Jeffery Morris, Director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). According to Morris, EPA considers the “conditions of use” of the premanufacture notice (PMN) when making determinations under TSCA Section 5(a)(3). Morris notes that under TSCA Section 3(4), the term “conditions of use” means “the circumstances, as determined by the Administrator, under which a chemical substance is intended, known, or reasonably foreseen to be manufactured, processed, distributed in commerce, used, or disposed of.” Since EPA issued the Framework Document for comment, it has made 150 determinations on PMNs under TSCA Section 5(a)(3), but “has not yet followed the SNUR approach described in the Framework.” For 19 PMNs, EPA determined that the new chemical substance was not likely to present an unreasonable risk. According to EPA, “[f]or none of these determinations did EPA consider whether a significant new use rule had been issued in concluding that unreasonable risk was unlikely.” Additionally, for 131 determinations, EPA made a determination under TSCA Section 5(a)(3)(B) related to the sufficiency of information regarding the substance, and then issued orders under TSCA Section 5(e). The basis for a significant number of these determinations was related to the reasonably foreseen conditions of use of the new chemical substance at issue. Notwithstanding EPA’s pronouncement in the Framework Document that it anticipated using significant new use rules in similar cases, “none of these determinations followed that approach.” NRDC states that, in light of these representations, it “has elected to move for voluntary dismissal of this petition for review.”
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham
On July 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a prepublication version of a direct final rule, Significant New Use Rule on Certain Chemical Substances, noting the issuance of significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 29 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN) and subject to consent orders under TSCA Section 5(e). These are the first rules with consent orders negotiated under new TSCA. Persons who intend to manufacture or process any of the chemicals for an activity that is designated as a significant new use (SNU) by this rule must notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity, and the notification will initiate EPA’s evaluation of the intended use within the applicable review period. Further, “[p]ersons may not commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and has taken such actions as are required with that determination.” EPA will be accepting comments on these SNURs; comments will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. If comment deemed adverse is submitted after the rules are published in the Federal Register as to any of the 29 chemical substances, EPA will withdraw the rule and propose it for comment. Comment will be due 30 days after publication.
EPA states it is issuing these SNURs for specific chemical substances which have undergone premanufacture review because it wants to achieve the following objectives with regard to the SNUs designated in this rule:
- EPA will receive notice of any person's intent to manufacture or process a TSCA Inventory listed chemical substance for the described significant new use before that activity begins;
- EPA will have an opportunity to review and evaluate data submitted in a SNUN before the notice submitter begins manufacturing or processing a listed chemical substance for the described significant new use;
- EPA will be able to either determine that the prospective manufacture or processing is not likely to present an unreasonable risk, or to take necessary regulatory action associated with any other determination, before the described significant new use of the chemical substance occurs; and
- EPA will ensure that all manufacturers and processors of the same chemical substance that is subject to a TSCA Section 5(e) consent order are subject to similar requirements.
The 29 chemicals are:
- PMN Number: P-15-310; Chemical name: 1,2,4-Benzenetricarboxylic acid, mixed decyl and octyl triesters;
- PMN Numbers: P-15-487, P-15-488, P-15-489, P-15-490, and P-15-491; Chemical names: Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-165; Chemical name: Propanoic acid, iron (2+) salt (2:1);
- PMN Numbers: P-16-255, P-16-256, P-16-257, P-16-258, and P-16-259; Chemical names: 1-Butanaminium, N,N,N-tributyl-, carbonic acid (1:1) (P-16-255), 1-Butanaminium, N,N,N-tributyl-, methyl carbonate (1:1) (P-16-256), 1-Butanaminium,N,N,N-tributyl-, ethyl carbonate (1:1) (P-16-257), 1-Butanaminium, N,N,N-tributyl-,propyl carbonate (1:1) (P-16-258), 1-Butanaminium, N,N,N-tributyl-, and 1-methylethyl carbonate (1:1) (P-16-259); CAS numbers: 17351-62-1(P-16-255), 56294-05-2(P-16-256), 478796-04-2(P-16-257), 1338579-13-7(P-16-258), and 1803407-49-9(P-16-259);
- PMN Number: P-16-284; Chemical name: Anilino substituted bis-triazinyl derivative of 4,4'-diaminostilbene-2,2'- disulfonic acid, mixed amine sodium salt (generic);
- PMN Numbers: P-16-309 and P-16-310; Chemical names: 12-Hydroxystearic acid, reaction products with alkylene diamine and alkanoic acid (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-315; Chemical name: Alkyldiene, polymer, hydroxy terminated alkoxysilylalkylcarbamate (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-323; Chemical name: Alkylaldehyde, reaction products with substituted carbomonocyclesubstituted heteromonocycle-alkylene glycol bis[[[[substituted(oxoneoalkyl)oxy]alkyl] amino]alkyl] ether polymer and alkyl substituted alkanediamine, acetate salts (generic);
- PMN Numbers: P-16-330 and P-16-331; Chemical names: Hydroxy functional triglyceride polymer with glycerol mono-ester and 1,1'-methylenebis[4-isocyanatobenzene] (P-16-330) and Hydroxy functional triglyceride polymer with glycerol mono-ester and 1,1'-methylenebis[isocyanatobenzene] (P-16-331) (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-360; Chemical name: Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl),.alpha.-(1-oxodocosyl)-.omega.-[(1- oxodocosyl)oxy]-;
- PMN Number: P-16-361; Chemical name: Pulp, cellulose, reaction products with lignin;
- PMN Numbers: P-16-365 and P-16-367; Chemical names: Alkyl carbonate, polymer with, substituted alkanes and substituted heteromonocycle, substituted alkyl acrylate-blocked (generic) (P-16-365) and substituted heteromonocycle, polymer with substituted alkane and ethoxylated alkane, substituted heteromonocycle substituted alkyl ester-blocked (generic) (P-16-367);
- PMN Number: P-16-369; Chemical name: Substituted heteromonocycle, telomer with substituted carbomonocycles, substituted alkyl ester (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-387; Chemical name: Aliphatic polycarboxylic acid, polymer with alicyclic polyhydric alcohol and polyoxyalkylene (generic);
- PMN Number: P-16-455; Chemical name: Sodium tungsten oxide;
- PMN Number: P-16-503; Chemical name: Fatty acids, tall-oil, polymers with alkanoic acid, substituted carbomonocycle, alkyl peroxide-initiated (generic); and
- PMN Number: P-16-591; Chemical name: Alkyl bisphenol (generic).
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Molly R. Blessing
As noted in our blog posting on November 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 1, 2016, that its Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) will hold a public meeting on December 14, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) to update the public on changes to the New Chemicals Review Program under the Toxic Substances Control Act, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (TSCA). Note the time change from EPA’s previous announcement of this public meeting; the meeting time has been extended to end at 3:00 p.m. instead of the original 12:00 p.m. Reportedly, the response to EPA’s earlier notice was quite robust so EPA has extended the public meeting by three hours.
EPA states that it will “describe its review process for new chemicals under the amended statute, as well as discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities that the Agency has identified in the first few months of implementation.” Interested parties will have the opportunity to comment “on their experiences with the New Chemicals Review Program, including submittal of pre-manufacture notices (PMNs), microbial commercial activity notices (MCANs), and significant new use notices (SNUNs) under section 5 of the law.” Information obtained during this meeting and from submitted written comments will be considered as EPA works to “implement the new requirements and improve the efficiency of its review process under TSCA.”
In-person and webinar registration is available now. EPA is requesting that interested parties register by December 13, 2016. Written comments will be accepted via www.regulations.gov under Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0658 and must be submitted by January 14, 2017.
More information on new chemicals review under amended TSCA is available in our memorandum TSCA Reform: An Analysis of Key Provisions and Fundamental Shifts in the Amended TSCA, as well as on the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. website under Regulatory Developments: TSCA.
As noted in our earlier blog, given the considerable impact of new TSCA on EPA’s New Chemicals Program, this public meeting is a must attend for TSCA stakeholders. Interested parties should come to the meeting with thoughtful questions and clear expectations as to what stakeholders can usefully share with EPA at the meeting. This could be the first of several such meetings to help interested parties understand the processes OPPT is developing in response to new TSCA, add greater transparency to those processes, and to assist EPA as appropriate with implementing the new law.
One point in particular that we draw attention to is a sentence at the top of page 86714 in the Federal Register notice describing the affirmative determinations that initially are tied to unreasonable risk determinations, then goes on to claim that there is an alternative concerning “insufficient information to allow for a determination.”
Pursuant to the amended law, EPA is now required to make an affirmative determination as to whether or not the new use or new chemical presents, may present, or is not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, or, alternatively, if there is insufficient information to allow for a determination.
This reading of the law is plainly at odds with the text that clearly states (Section 5(a)(1)(B)) that EPA has to “make a determination under subparagraphs (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (3).” The insufficient information provision appears at Section 5(a)(3)(B)(i). and, thus, “insufficient information” is both included within (B) and is a determination. We also note that in discussing the affirmative determinations, EPA has omitted discussion of the substantial production/exposure determination at Section 5(a)(3)(ii)(II).
While this may only represent an error in drafting the notice, it is also possible that it indicates a basic misunderstanding of the new chemicals provisions, a view that may find support in some of the decisions recently communicated to our clients in “action letters” on Section 5 notices.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register soliciting a second round of comments on the burdens and value of information it periodically collects addressing significant new use rules (SNUR) for existing chemicals. Specifically, EPA submitted a request to renew the approval of an existing information collection request (ICR), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5(a)(2) SNURs for Existing Chemicals, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This notice provides chemical manufacturers and other interested parties a second opportunity to comment on certain questions, specifically: whether the agency accurately estimated the burden of responding to SNURs that it issues for chemicals in commerce; whether the agency could minimize the burden; and whether the information it collects is necessary.
The first ICR was issued on September 2, 2015, and comments were due November 2, 2015. Only two comments were filed in response to the initial ICR, by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA), two trade associations. ACC and SOCMA stated in their comments that EPA underestimated the burdens its SNURs impose on chemical manufacturers and their customers.
This renewed ICR states that EPA estimated that six companies would be affected by its new use rules for existing chemicals, creating an estimated total burden of 1,025 hours per year and a cost of $100,595.
Comments are due August 25, 2016.
SNURs are deeply unpopular to some in the chemical community and welcomed outcomes of the premanufacture notice (PMN) or significant new use notification (SNUN) process to others. Most would agree that the cost of compliance with a SNUR can be difficult to estimate with any degree of precision. Some of us are also of the view that TSCA, as recently amended, may result in many more SNURs given the new “determination” requirements under TSCA Section 5(a). The comment period opened by today’s Federal Register notice provides an excellent opportunity to provide comment to EPA and thus help to ensure that EPA has an accurate and current basis upon which to estimate the cost.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On Friday, July 22, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the first four Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5(a) determinations made following review of pre-manufacture notifications (PMN) according to TSCA as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century law, Pub. L. No. 114-182 (Lautenberg). EPA’s determination on all four chemical substances was “not likely to present and unreasonable risk,” under new TSCA Section 5(a)(C)(3). The PMN Case Numbers, Chemical Identities, a summary of the determination, the decision dates, as well as the links to the determinations themselves are below. The review start date for all of these determinations was the date of Lautenberg’s enactment, June 22, 2016. Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is reviewing these determinations and will provide an analysis.
- P-16-0281: Generic: Fatty Alcohols-Dimers, Trimers, Polymers. EPA determined that “[t]he chemical substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk based on low health hazard concern and low environmental toxicity.” The decision was issued on July 15, 2016.
- P-16-0292: Generic: Depolymerized Waste Plastics. EPA determined that “[t] he chemical substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk based on low human health hazard and low environmental hazard. Although EPA estimated that the new chemical substance would be very persistent, this did not indicate a likelihood that the chemical substance would present an unreasonable risk, given that the chemical substance has low potential for bioaccumulation, low human health hazard, and low environmental hazard.” The decision was issued on July 20, 2016.
- P-16-0301: Generic: Propyl Silsesquioxanes, Hydrogen-Terminated. EPA determined that “[t]he chemical substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk based on low human health hazard and low environmental hazard.” The decision was issued on July 20, 2016.
- P-16-0302: Generic: Organic Modified Propyl Silsesquioxane. EPA determined that “[t]he chemical substance is not likely to present an unreasonable risk based on low human health hazard and low environmental toxicity. Although EPA estimated that the new chemical substance would be very persistent, this did not indicate likelihood that the chemical substance would present an unreasonable risk, given that the chemical substance has low potential for bioaccumulation, low human health hazard, and low environmental hazard.” The decision was issued on July 20, 2016.