BRAG Celebrates Gains In Regulatory Parity For Biobased Products
Having created an impressive legacy of regulatory and policy success for biobased and renewable chemicals and chemical products, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) will sunset at the end of 2020.
BRAG was formed in 2013 to give biobased chemical stakeholders the expertise and collective voice necessary to educate legislative and administrative decision-makers during the negotiations occurring at that time regarding reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and to help its members understand and comply with the application of TSCA to their products and operations. As the only trade group solely focused on addressing the unique challenges that biobased chemicals face under TSCA, BRAG developed strong and compelling advocacy platforms to ensure the robust commercialization and growth of biobased and renewable chemical feedstocks, efforts that will continue to deliver results now that the original goals of BRAG have been realized.
Reviewing the accomplishments and highlights of BRAG’s efforts, these are a few of the standouts:
- TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR): In response to a petition filed by BRAG in 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule in 2016 amending the list of chemical substances that are partially exempt from additional reporting requirements under the CDR rule, including six biodiesel chemicals that are very similar to petroleum-based biodiesel chemicals that are already on the exempt list. This rulemaking was expected to save more than 65 hours, or almost 1.5 weeks of staff time per report, equalizing what had been an uneven regulatory reporting field for biodiesel products.
- Chemical Nomenclature: BRAG led industry efforts to resolve nomenclature rules that caused some complex biobased chemical products designed as greener equivalents to existing chemical products to be considered new chemicals, and thus subject to obtaining a new chemical name and undergoing new chemical notification under TSCA. BRAG and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) issued a joint white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals,” which was presented to EPA in June 2018 and continues to inform EPA as it reviews biobased chemicals. BRAG also led a pilot project to prepare and submit requests for TSCA equivalency determinations of biobased Class 2 chemical substances that are functionally equivalent to another Class 2 chemical.
- Legislative and Agency Engagement: BRAG regularly engaged with federal and state legislators and EPA personnel to educate these stakeholders about biobased interests by: participating in expositions giving biobased producers opportunities to showcase their technology to Hill staffers; submitting comments on proposed rulemakings; and promoting BRAG interests to programs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred Program and EPA’s Green Chemistry Awards.
- Input into Industry Standards: Through BRAG, member companies participated in a variety of pertinent standard-setting processes, including reviewing and voting on the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) proposed international standard, Standard Terminology for Industrial Biotechnology and ASTM’s proposed Standard Classification for Industrial Microorganisms.
B&C® Consortia Management (BCCM) is proud of BRAG’s contributions that will have long-term and significant positive impact on the biobased and renewable products arena. While the group itself sunsets on December 18, 2020, BRAG’s popular and award-winning news and commentary vehicles, the BRAG Biobased Products Blog and Biobased News and Policy Report newsletter will continue publication via BCCM’s affiliated law firm Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) as the B&C® Biobased and Sustainable Chemicals Blog and the Biobased Products News and Policy Report. These publications will carry on sharing regulatory, legal, policy, and business developments in renewable chemicals, biofuels, and other biobased products.
BRAG and its member companies regularly accessed B&C’s deep bench of experts in the law, regulation, science, and policy of TSCA. B&C’s exceptional knowledge regarding the commercialization of biobased chemicals remains available through B&C’s biobased chemicals and biofuels practice group. For more information about how B&C can assist with bringing greener, more innovative biobased products to market, call or e-mail B&C Managing Partner Lynn L. Bergeson at (202) 557-3801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.