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October 12, 2017

 Inorganics Reg Neg Committee Dissolved; EPA Still Seeking Public Input

Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice in the Federal Register announcing the cancellation of the fourth meeting of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements for inorganic byproducts (Reg Neg Committee) scheduled for October 25-26, 2017.  82 Fed. Reg. 47423. 

During their September 13-14, 2017, meeting, the members of the Reg Neg Committee concluded that further dialogue within the Committee context would be unproductive, and that the fourth meeting was not necessary.  EPA is, however, still providing the public an opportunity to weigh in on the legislative directive to reduce the CDR reporting burden for inorganic substances that are recycled, while maintaining EPA’s access to exposure information needed for risk assessment purposes.  The notice states that the Reg Neg Committee docket will remain open until December 11, 2017, to allow for public comment.

The Reg Neg Committee was established to respond to the legislative mandate under Section 8(a)(6)(A) of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which states:

The [EPA] Administrator shall enter into a negotiated rulemaking … to develop and publish … a proposed rule providing for limiting the reporting requirements, under this subsection, for manufacturers of any inorganic byproducts, when such byproducts, whether by the byproduct manufacturer or by any other person, are subsequently recycled, reused, or reprocessed.

During the first set of Reg Neg Committee meetings, EPA stressed its desire to implement the outcome of the Reg Neg Committee work during the next CDR reporting cycle in 2020.  To achieve this timeline, the Committee would need to reach a consensus on an approach or approaches by the October 2017 meetings.   While several different stakeholder organizations offered proposals for consideration, it became clear to Committee members during the September 14-15, 2017, meeting that those proposals would not have consensus support because they either required considerable further refinement and discussion beyond the October 2017 timeframe; did not provide EPA with appropriate exposure information needed for risk assessment; or did not adequately achieve the mandated goal of limiting reporting requirements. 

It is unclear if EPA will be able to complete the myriad of tasks needed to take a proposal received during the public comment period to final implementation before the 2020 CDR reporting cycle, as this would require EPA to complete a thorough analysis of additional proposals, consider potential impacts to the EPA offices, develop a proposed rulemaking, obtain public review and comment on the proposal, issue a final rulemaking, and provide clear and detailed guidance on the new approaches for reporting on recycled inorganic products prior to the 2020 CDR reporting cycle. 

More information on the negotiated rulemaking process as related to inorganic byproducts is available on our blog under key phrases negotiated rulemaking and inorganic byproducts.