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, Carla N. Hutton, and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has posted a Compliance Advisory entitled “Applicability of the Toxic Substances Control Act to Chemicals made from Petroleum and Renewable Sources Used as Fuels and Fuel Additives and Distillates.”  The Compliance Advisory states that EPA is reaffirming that chemical substances used as fuels, fuel additives, and distillates made from either petroleum or renewable sources are subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Anyone who plans to manufacture (including import) a chemical made from petroleum or renewable sources must comply with the statutory and regulatory new chemical requirements under TSCA Section 5.  According to the Compliance Advisory, EPA has received stakeholder inquiries “as to whether fuel and fuel additives made from renewable sources (such as renewable naphtha) are subject to the TSCA new chemicals requirements under section 5.”  EPA states that it is issuing the Compliance Advisory “to affirm that fuel and fuel additives either made from petroleum or renewable sources are subject to TSCA and have been subject to its requirements since 1976.”
 
According to the Compliance Advisory, there are about 142 “naphthas” and 178 “distillates” (that compositionally can qualify as naphthas) currently on the TSCA Inventory, and they are considered Unknown, Variable composition, Complex, or Biological (UVCB) substances.  Any substance that is not on the TSCA Inventory is a new chemical under TSCA Section 5(a)(1)(A).  Prior to manufacture (including import) of a new chemical for commercial use, a premanufacture notice (PMN) must be filed with EPA under TSCA Section 5.  The Compliance Advisory includes several questions and answers (Q&A), including:
 
Can you manufacture or import a chemical substance made from a renewable source if it is not listed on the TSCA Inventory?
 
No.  Anyone who intends to manufacture (including import) a new chemical substance that is subject to TSCA for a non-exempt commercial purpose is required to submit a PMN at least 90 days prior to the manufacture of the chemical.  Manufacturers (importers) are in violation of TSCA if they fail to comply or are late in complying with TSCA notice requirements.  If you are required to submit a PMN, failure to do so is a violation of TSCA Section 15 and you may be subject to penalties.  PMN submissions must include all available data, pursuant to 40 CFR 720.45 and 720.50.  TSCA requires EPA to review the notice and make a determination; and, if appropriate, regulate the proposed activity.
 
EPA’s “compliance advisory” is disappointing.  It signals this EPA is disinclined to promote renewable petroleum cuts and essentially (and emphatically) reaffirms what we believe to be EPA’s inflexible and unimaginative stance on “source” being determinative in petroleum cut UVCBs.  This position, as we have noted in a variety of regulatory contexts, is a substantial disincentive to commercializing renewable petroleum cuts.  EPA’s view is especially problematic when a refinery might wish to use a combination of petroleum and renewable feedstocks to make a single naphtha (or other distillate) cut.
 
For example, to avail itself of the equivalence determination, a company would have to submit a PMN for the renewable equivalent of a petroleum cut, sign the almost certain resultant consent order (EPA will undoubtedly identify aquatic toxicity concerns and may also identify health concerns), commence manufacture, file a Notice of Commencement of Manufacture or Import (NOC), and then request an equivalency determination.  If EPA denies the equivalency determination, any downstream processor or user will have to either segregate the renewable products from the petroleum products so that the downstream entity can maintain records of compliance with the consent order or treat both the renewable and petroleum products as being subject to the order.  Neither option is commercially feasible or sustainable.
 
This sequence of events illustrates why commercial entities are disinclined to avail themselves of renewable sources in the distillate space.  EPA’s “compliance advisory” is an unexpected and, to many, unwanted parting gift from the Trump Administration.  The Biden Administration may wish to revisit the wisdom and prudence of this inflexible, antiquated, and inequitable view.


 

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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
  4. 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

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.

Commentary

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.