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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On May 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited environmental justice communities and stakeholders to participate in environmental justice consultations regarding the development of proposed risk management actions under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address unreasonable risks presented by trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). EPA will hold two identical consultation webinars, one on June 16, 2021, and the other on July 6, 2021. EPA states that both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from TCE and PCE, and an opportunity for EPA to obtain input on environmental justice concerns. The consultations are open to the public, and EPA invites national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate. Comments are due August 20, 2021.
 
In addition to these environmental justice consultations, EPA states that it is executing a “robust outreach effort” that includes consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes. There will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management regulations.
 
While outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for TCE and PCE will continue to move forward, EPA is actively reviewing final risk evaluations to ensure they use the best available science and protect human health and the environment, in accordance with Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration. EPA states that it will keep stakeholders updated as it makes decisions and determines next steps. More information on EPA’s final risk evaluations for TCE is available in our November 24, 2020, memorandum and on EPA’s final risk evaluation for PCE in our December 17, 2020, memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On May 12, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began environmental justice consultations regarding the development of risk management actions under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos and Pigment Violet 29 (PV29). EPA will hold two identical consultation webinars, on June 1, 2021, and June 9, 2021. EPA states that it is offering these repeated sessions to increase opportunities for participation. Both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos and PV29, and an opportunity for input on environmental justice concerns. The consultations are open to the public, and EPA is inviting national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate. The environmental justice consultation period end August 13, 2021.

EPA states that in addition to these environmental justice consultations, it is implementing a “robust outreach effort” on risk management that includes consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes. There will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management actions. More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos is available in our January 4, 2021, memorandum and on EPA’s final risk evaluation for PV29 in our January 25, 2021, memorandum.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 11, 2021, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profits to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel for asbestos, part 1:  chrysotile asbestos.  The Panel will focus on EPA’s development of a proposed rule to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation for asbestos, part 1:  chrysotile asbestos.  As reported in our January 4, 2021, memorandum, of the six use categories evaluated (chlor-alkali diaphragms, sheet gaskets, other gaskets, oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes/linings, and other vehicle friction products), EPA states that it found that there is unreasonable risk to workers, occupational non-users (ONU), consumers, and/or bystanders within each of the six chrysotile asbestos use categories.  EPA found no unreasonable risk to the environment.  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 evaluation.
 
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 Panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA.  The SBAR Panel 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’s 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 and must be received by February 25, 2021.
 
EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes 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 regulation.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 9, 2021, that it will host two webinars intended to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the findings in the final risk evaluations for pigment violet 29 (PV29) and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).  The webinars will also allow the public to provide input on considerations EPA should take into account for managing any unreasonable risks found with these chemicals.  The PV29 webinar will be held on February 23, 2021, and the NMP webinar will be held on February 24, 2021.  To provide oral comments during the PV29 webinar, registration is due by February 18, 2021.  To provide oral comments during the NMP webinar, registration is due by February 19, 2021.
 
EPA states that it will also hold formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses.  EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulation.  According to EPA, while outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for these chemicals will continue to move forward, EPA “is actively reviewing the final risk evaluations to ensure that they use the best available science and protect of human health and the environment, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.”  EPA “will keep stakeholders updated as decisions are made, and next steps are determined.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is reviewing actions issued under the previous Administration and will take any needed steps to ensure that they protect human health and the environment.  The announcement included an update on the following chemical safety actions that have immediate or near-term effective dates or other steps associated with them.  According to the announcement, these actions, along with other chemical safety actions identified by the Biden-Harris Administration, “will undergo review (and, as necessary, revisions) to ensure they are protective of human health and the environment.”

PBT Final Rules

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA was required to take expedited action on certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals and promulgate final risk management actions no later than the statutory deadline of December 2020.  As reported in our December 23, 2020, memorandum, EPA released on December 22, 2020, final rules under TSCA Section 6(h) for five PBT chemicals -- 2,4,6-tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP) (86 Fed. Reg. 866); decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) (86 Fed. Reg. 880); hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) (86 Fed. Reg. 922); pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP) (86 Fed. Reg. 911); and phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) (86 Fed. Reg. 894).  The final rules took effect February 5, 2021.  EPA states that it “is aware of concerns about these rules, including implementation issues, that have been raised by a range of stakeholders and may consider additional measures, approaches, or revisions that build upon the steps taken thus far.”

Dust Lead Post-Abatement Clearance Level (DLCL) Final Rule

In January 2021, EPA issued a final rule establishing lower clearance levels for the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and window sills after lead removal activities (abatement), strengthening lead regulations to protect children’s health.  86 Fed. Reg. 983.  The DLCL final rule goes into effect on March 8, 2021.  EPA states that it will continue to consider the DLCL final rule and the related final rule for Dust-Lead Hazard Standards, which was revised in 2019, as a part of its broader review of actions, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.

TSCA Risk Evaluations and Risk Management for First Ten Chemicals

EPA issued final TSCA risk evaluations for the first ten chemicals starting in June 2020 and immediately began the risk management process for each of these chemicals.  According to EPA, while outreach and stakeholder engagement on risk management activities for these chemicals will continue to move forward, EPA “is actively reviewing the final risk evaluations in light of statutory obligations and policy objectives related to use of the best available science and protection of human health and the environment, in accordance with the Executive Orders and other direction provided by the Biden-Harris Administration.”  More information on the final risk evaluations is available in our memoranda available at https://www.lawbc.com/regulatory-developments/tsca.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a webinar on February 3, 2021, “to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the findings in the final risk evaluation for Asbestos Part 1:  Chrysotile Asbestos.”  EPA states that the webinar will also give the public an opportunity to provide input on considerations the agency should take into account for managing these unreasonable risks.  Stakeholders who wish to provide oral comments must register by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 29, 2021, and those who will only listen may register up to the end of the meeting.  EPA will provide a transcript and recording on EPA’s Asbestos Part 1:  Chrysotile Asbestos web page following the webinar.  According to EPA’s January 19, 2021, announcement, EPA will begin formal consultations with state and local governments, tribes, environmental justice communities, and small businesses.  There will also be an open public comment period on any draft risk management regulation.  More information on EPA’s final risk evaluation is available in our January 4, 2021, memorandum, “EPA Publishes Final Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1:  Chrysotile Asbestos.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 5, 2021, that it is inviting small businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) to provide advice and recommendations to two Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panels.

One Panel will focus on EPA’s development of a proposed rule to address unreasonable risks identified in EPA’s recently completed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation for perchloroethylene.  As reported in our December 17, 2020, memorandum, of the 61 conditions of use that EPA reviewed for perchloroethylene, EPA found that 59 present unreasonable risks to workers, occupational non-users (ONU), consumers, and bystanders.  The conditions of use that EPA determined do not present an unreasonable risk are distribution in commerce and industrial and commercial use in lubricants and greases for penetrating lubricants and cutting tool coolants.  EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment.

The second Panel will focus on a risk management rulemaking for n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).  As reported in our December 29, 2020, memorandum, of the 37 conditions of use that EPA reviewed for NMP, EPA found that 26 present unreasonable risks to workers and consumers.  These uses include an unreasonable risk to workers when domestically manufacturing or importing NMP, processing NMP for a variety of uses, and when used in a variety of industrial and commercial conditions of use.  These uses also include an unreasonable risk to consumers from one consumer use.  EPA found that NMP does not pose an unreasonable risk when distributed in commerce or in a variety of industrial and commercial and consumer applications.  EPA also determined that NMP does not present an unreasonable risk to the environment and the general population.

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 companies, communities, or organizations and advise the Panels 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 rules’ 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 and must be received by January 19, 2021.

EPA states that in addition to engaging with small businesses, it “is executing a robust outreach effort on risk management that includes 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.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) will hold a webinar on December 10, 2020, to educate stakeholders on the risk management process under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the findings in the final risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride.  The webinar will also provide an opportunity for the public to provide input on considerations EPA should take into account for managing these unreasonable risks.  Registration is open.  Stakeholders who would like to provide oral comments must register by December 8, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. (EST).  As reported in our November 4, 2020, memorandum, “Final Risk Evaluation for Carbon Tetrachloride Finds Unreasonable Risks to Workers and Occupational Non-Users,” EPA reviewed 15 conditions of use, “all of which are associated with industrial and commercial work and primarily involve the manufacturing of other chemicals.”  EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) for 13 of the 15 conditions of use.  EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment.  According to EPA, there are no consumer uses of this chemical.
 
On December 15, 2020, EPA will hold a webinar on the findings in the final risk evaluation for trichloroethylene (TCE)Registration is open, and stakeholders who would like to provide oral comments must register by December 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. (EST).  As reported in our November 24, 2020, memorandum, “EPA Evaluates 54 Conditions of Use for TCE, Finding That 52 Present an Unreasonable Risk,” of the 54 conditions of use that EPA reviewed, EPA found that 52 present an unreasonable risk to workers, ONUs, consumers, and bystanders.  EPA determined that distribution in commerce and consumer use of TCE in pepper spray do not present an unreasonable risk. EPA also found no unreasonable risks to the environment.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 3, 2020, that it will hold webinars to consult with environmental justice communities on risk management for methylene chloride and 1-bromopropane (1-BP).  EPA states that the webinars are open to the public and will focus on the environmental justice impacts of EPA’s development of proposed rules to address the unreasonable risks identified in the final Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations for these chemicals.  EPA will hold “identical” consultation webinars on November 16, 2020, and November 19, 2020.  According to EPA, both sessions will provide an overview of the TSCA risk management requirements, the findings from the final risk evaluations for methylene chloride and 1-BP, the tools available to manage the unreasonable risks from methylene chloride and 1-BP, and discussion of environmental justice concerns.  In addition to being open to the public, EPA is inviting national, local, and non-governmental organizations, communities, and other interested stakeholders to participate.  EPA states that in addition to environmental justice consultations, it is executing a “robust outreach effort on risk management that includes one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and formal consultations with small businesses, state and local governments, and tribes.”  EPA notes that there will also be an open public comment period on proposed risk management regulations.


 

By Christopher R. Blunck and Lynn L. Bergeson

In a letter dated July 28, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged the receipt of a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 21 petition requesting EPA to “initiate a proceeding for the issuance of a risk management procedural rule under TSCA section 6” submitted on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Coatings Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the Toy Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  In the acknowledgement letter, EPA states that the request is not a valid petition under TSCA Section 21.  EPA goes on to state “[‌u]nder TSCA section 21, as it relates to TSCA section 6, any person may petition EPA to initiate a proceeding for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule under TSCA section 6 imposing chemical-specific regulatory controls for setting forth facts showing such action is ‘necessary’” and that “Section 21 does not provide a means for petitioning EPA to initiate a procedural rule.”  The acknowledgement letter further states that “EPA will, however,  consider your request as a petition under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for the issuance of a procedural rule” and that the “petition is under review by the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), which is responsible for programs under TSCA.” 

As mentioned in our memorandum addressing the TSCA Section 21 petition, there are requirements under the APA that agencies respond to APA petitions for rulemakings within a reasonable time, that Petitioners are given prompt notice of a denial, and that a brief statement of the grounds for denial be included.  A denial of a petition under the APA may be judicially reviewed and set aside if determined to be “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”


 
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