Federal/EPA Regulatory Policy

Lynn L. Bergeson, "GAO Evaluates EPA Performance," Chemical Processing, March 18, 2019.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on March 6, 2019, a report titled “High-Risk Series: Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on High-Risk Areas.” This column discusses the report and its implications on chemical management policy.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Changing of the Guard," Specialty Chemicals Magazine, March 2019.

The 2018 US mid-term elections have redefined the political winds in Washington, DC. What these currents mean for domestic chemical policy, and its impact on global chemical policy initiatives, is unclear. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Political Turmoil Muddies Regulatory Moves," Chemical Processing, January 16, 2019.

2019 started with a political bang. The President’s decision to allow a partial government shutdown in the absence of funding for the “wall” will continue to inspire federal administrative and regulatory havoc for months to come. This is particularly true of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) as it administers the programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), both of which maintain hugely important fees-for-service programs.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "A Glimpse of Things to Come: OSHA’s Soon to Be Updated Hazard Communication Standard," Environmental Quality Management, Volume 28, Issue 2, Winter 2018.

In the Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Regulatory Agenda) issued on October 17, 2018, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Proposed Rule Stage item titled, “Update to the Hazard Communication Standard,” RIN 1218-AC93 (OSHA, 2018), and scheduled the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to be issued by March, 2019. This could be an important regulatory development for all entities subject to Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requirements, which is just about everyone. This column explains why this development is significant.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Compliance: CDR Rule Shows Room for Improvement," Chemical Processing, September 19, 2018.

This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report titled “EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting Rule Largely Implemented as Intended, but Opportunities for Improvement Exist.” The OIG conducted an audit to determine how the EPA is ensuring companies are compliant with the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and whether the EPA uses CDR data to prioritize chemicals for the purpose of identifying their potential risks to human health and the environment. The OIG found that implementing policies for data quality checks will help tailor the information reported to meet the EPA’s needs. This column discusses the report.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The Trump Administration and global chemical issues," Elements, the Magazine of Chemicals Northwest, Summer 2018.

This article reviews the Trump Administration’s engagement, to date, in key industrial chemical matters, domestically and internationally.  Topics include the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the UN’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The New Administration and International Chemical Issues," Environmental Quality Management, Volume 27, Issue 4, Summer 2018.

As a candidate and now as president, President Trump has been uncharacteristically predictable in systematically dismantling signature environmental policies of prior administrations and ceding the United States’ leadership in combating climate change to other global powers. The administration’s industrial chemicals management policy has been less transparent and predictable, however. Some may have interpreted candidate Trump’s notable silence on the campaign trail as support for Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform, given the broad bipartisan support it enjoyed before its enactment on June 22, 2016. Others may have assumed that candidate Trump was simply unaware of the enactment of the most sweeping legislative changes to our domestic chemical management law in four decades and the significant commercial, legal, and trade implications occasioned by enactment of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg). President Trump has kept his TSCA cards close to his vest, and the administration’s broader engagement in chemicals management on the world stage is similarly unclear. Some trends can be discerned, or at least inferred, as discussed in this article.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "U.S. Consumer Product Ingredient Disclosure Measures Pick Up Momentum," International Chemical Regulatory and Law Review, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2018.

The ‘right-to-know’ has been a foundational element of U.S. environmental law and policy for decades. As more information becomes known about the potential health and environmental impacts of chemical substances in industrial, commercial, and especially consumer products, the public’s interest in product ingredients has sharply increased. Recently this interest has taken a new direction, one targeting consumer cleaning products. Two state initiatives, originating in opposite sides of the country, reflect different approaches to compelling product ingredient disclosure, and portend similar state measures elsewhere. Consumer product manufacturers are bracing for renewed challenges in preserving consistent product labeling and maintaining confidential business information (CBI). Information-saturated consumers likely do not know what to think as they sort through ever more detailed product information. How these state measures might impact European manufacturers and trade and commerce in general remain to be seen. Here is an overview of the new measures and their implications.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Ongoing Concern: EPA Proposes to Lower Dust-Lead Hazard Standards," Manufacturing Today, Volume 18, Issue 5.

Reducing childhood lead exposure has long been a focus of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Flint, Mich., water crisis has inspired renewed concerns with lead exposure and heightened attention on the hazards occasioned by exposure to dust and dust-lead, especially exposure to children. On July 2, 2018, EPA proposed to lower the dust-lead hazard standards for homes with dust-lead issues. This column summarizes the proposal.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Continues to Investigate Engineered Nanomaterials in Industrial Wastewater Discharge," Nanotechnology Now, May 2, 2018.

On May 2, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Federal Register notice announcing publication of its Final 2016 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan. The Plan describes EPA's Clean Water Act rulemakings and other actions intended to control industrial wastewater pollution. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "TSCA tips for European chemical stakeholders," Elements, the Magazine of Chemicals Northwest, Spring, 2018.

Changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) occasioned by enactment of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act have fundamentally changed the way the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews new and assesses existing chemical substances in surprising and subtle ways. Our 26-professionals TSCA practice in Washington, D.C. has been “doing TSCA” for a very long time. We offer our European colleagues practical insights into the new law and EPA’s implementation efforts. As we represent many European companies that have business interests in the U.S., our views are offered from a practical perspective.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Proposes TSCA User Fees," Environmental Quality Management, Volume 27, Issue 3, Spring 2018.

We all knew it was coming, and the proposal has finally arrived. On February 8, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule regarding user fees for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As amended by the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, TSCA provides the 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” (EPA, 2018a, p. 1). This column summarizes the proposal and explains why it is significant.

A downloadable and printable version of this article is available here

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Citizens Challenge EPA," Chemical Processing, March 21, 2018.

A petition filed under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was one of the first actions reviewed by a federal district court since TSCA was substantially rewritten in June 2016.The rulings described below pose interesting and potentially formidable challenges for TSCA stakeholders.

Lynn L. Bergeson and Bethami Auerbach, "Innovation, Consumer Products, and Legal Risk: Points to Consider," Paper presented at the 2017 Retail Law Conference, October 12, 2017.

Products that embody tried, true, and especially cutting-edge technologies are generally embraced by retailers as sure-fire pathways to marketing success. What’s not to like about best sellers and newer, faster, cleaner, or otherwise improved products? Sometimes overlooked is what is hidden behind the technology curtain -- what is the secret sauce that makes the product faster, cleaner, or better? In marketing products with new modes of action and spiffy new attributes, retailers are part of a product liability chain of which they need to be aware. This paper provides an overview of emerging legal and practical issues pertinent to the inclusion of technologies supporting products marketed to the public.

Lynn L. Bergeson, James V. Aidala, Jr., Charles M. Auer, Richard Engler, and Oscar Hernandez, "Practitioner Insights: Enhancing TSCA Reform Implementation," BNA Daily Environment Report, August 2, 2017.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act significantly amended the Toxic Substances Control Act. The act, which has been in force for just over a year, made substantive changes to multiple sections of TSCA that are proving to be even more consequential than anticipated (new TSCA is identified as Pub. L. No. 114-182 and old TSCA was identified as Pub. L. No. 94-469).

This paper, authored principally by former EPA officials and a practicing TSCA lawyer, all with long experience under old TSCA, provides suggestions for new approaches or ‘‘fixes’’ that could assist the agency and interested groups in moving toward smoother implementation of the new law, achieving policy goals, and ensuring greater transparency. These suggestions are presented in no particular order and in the spirit of urging other stakeholders to also think of creative ways to ensure that new TSCA fulfills Congress’s mandate to develop an effective domestic chemical management program.

Lynn L. Bergeson and Timothy D. Backstrom, "Appellate Court Vacates Conditional Nanosilver Registration," ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources PCRRTK Newsletter, Volume 18, Issue 5, August 2017.

On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit responded to two petitions for review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of a nanosilver pesticide product and vacated that conditional registration. NRDC v. EPA, No. 15-72308. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Food Safety (CFS), and the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) filed petitions in 2015 asking the court to set aside EPA’s final order granting a conditional registration for a nanosilver containing antimicrobial pesticide product named NSPW-L30SWS (NSPW). The court vacated the conditional registration because, according to the court, “EPA failed to support its finding that NSPW was in the public interest.”

Lisa M. Campbell, Timothy D. Backstrom, and James V. Aidala, "EPA’s Evaluation and Determination of Epidemiological Data for Chlorpyrifos," ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources PCRRTK Newsletter, Volume 18, Issue 5, August 2017.

Among the many legal, regulatory, and policy issues being watched closely by pesticide registrants as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long and contentious review of chlorpyrifos registrations continues is the controversy concerning when EPA may appropriately apply a tenfold uncertainty factor pursuant to the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA 10X). This issue centers around EPA’s novel and unprecedented use of epidemiological data and the statutory requirements that govern EPA’s determination that sufficient uncertainty exists to warrant applying the FQPA 10X, not only to chlorpyrifos itself, but to all organophosphate (OP) pesticide products. This issue has drawn much attention and concern from pesticide registrants, and from other interested parties. The issues directly affecting chlorpyrifos have played out not only in EPA’s registration review process for chlorpyrifos, but also in a court challenge to EPA’s decision.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The Final Rule," Manufacturing Today, July 21, 2017.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued on Jan. 12, 2017, a final rule under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) establishing reporting and recordkeeping requirements for certain discrete forms of chemical substances that are manufactured or processed at the nanoscale. This column summarizes the rule.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Issues TSCA Framework Rules," Chemical Processing, July 18, 2017.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued in June final framework rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Each is summarized in the article.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The Trump Administration and Likely Impacts on Environmental Law and Policy," Environmental Quality Management, Volume 26, Issue 4, Summer 2017.

2016 was full of surprises, two of which are driving much of the environmental agenda for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017.  First, Congress significantly amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in June of 2016.  The changes are intended to reform the program to address the widely recognized deficiencies in the law, especially regarding existing chemicals, chemical testing, Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims, and preemption of state actions.  EPA has been busy implementing the new law, as the all-important “framework rules” must be issued in final in June 2017.  The second surprise event was even more unexpected -- the election of Donald Trump as President.  His election is already having a significant impact on environmental law and policy.  This column briefly offers some thoughts and predictions on the impact of the new Administration on environmental issues of interest to our readers.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Daniel B. González, Anabela Aldaz, and Christopher J. McNevin, "Mini-Roundtable: Environmental Disputes," Corporate Disputes, July-September, 2017.

A major change, brought about by the November elections, is the uptick in citizen suit litigation, and lawsuits brought by third parties against the government. Given the current administration’s position on climate change, environmental regulation generally, and the perception that regulations impede economic growth and job development, there has been a significant slowdown in regulatory and administrative activity and the initiation of enforcement actions. NGOs and third-party activists will continue to fill this void by private lawsuits as citizen litigants.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Eyes ‘Burdensome’ Rules," Chemical Processing, May 19, 2017.

On February 24, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. The EO offers opportunities for stakeholders to improve regulations. This article summarizes efforts to implement this EO, and identifies opportunities stakeholders may wish to pursue to eliminate or amend regulatory initiatives they feel have outlived their utility or were ill-conceived from the get-go.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "TSCA Implementation Remains On Target: The EPA is issuing framework rules on a timely basis," Chemical Processing, March 22, 2017.

Implementation of the newly amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), signed into law last June, is in full swing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working hard to meet statutorily imposed deadlines for promulgating three “framework” rules by June 2017. To date, the EPA is on target. This column discusses the three framework rules.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The EPA Seems Set for a Busy 2017 Under Trump Administration," Chemical Processing, January 24, 2017.

Last year was full of surprises, two of which will drive much of the agenda in 2017 for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). First, Congress significantly amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Although many thought the chances of successful TSCA legislation were slim, the second surprise event was even more unexpected — the election of Donald Trump as President.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Next Generation Compliance and Its Implications for Industry," Environmental Quality Management, Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2016.

“Next Generation Compliance” is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) signature initiative intended to increase compliance with environmental regulations by using advances in pollution monitoring and information technology and by more effectively using and designing regulations and permits to reduce pollution and enhance compliance.  This column describes EPA’s initiative, discusses several examples of its applications in rulemakings and civil enforcement settlements, discusses another new compliance-related tool, eDisclosure, and outlines the implications for industry of these novel approaches to incentivizing compliance.

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