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June 13, 2013

Kathleen M. Roberts and Charles M. Auer Provide Expert TSCA Testimony before House Subcommittee

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. Vice President Kathleen M. Roberts and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C) affiliate Charles M. Auer of Charles Auer & Associates, LLC provided expert testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy today at a hearing entitled “Title I of the Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA]: Understanding its History and Reviewing its Impact,” an oversight hearing intended to enhance the Subcommittee’s understanding of the current law and its operation.

Ms. Roberts, in what she prefaced by calling it “TSCA 101,” gave the Subcommittee a broad and illuminating overview of the law, highlighting elements of particular note for either their effectiveness, or in some cases their weakness. “In my view, the TSCA regulatory process is logical and almost elegant in its simplicity,” Ms. Roberts stated, going on to explain the TSCA framework, the TSCA Inventory, and the new chemical review process. When applied to existing chemicals, however, Ms. Roberts testified that TSCA is less clear: “[W]hile I see great output from EPA in its new chemical review process, there is less so in the existing chemical arena. In my view, that is because the new chemical review includes a statutory deadline — a 90-day review period for a new chemical notification — so there is a well understood EPA process and prioritization of work to be conducted. EPA could implement a prioritization process with specified timelines for existing chemical review.”

In his testimony, Mr. Auer noted that “While it is clear to me that much more needs to be done to safeguard health and the environment than has been possible under TSCA, based on a fuller accounting of the actions taken and as discussed briefly below, I believe the chemical regulatory, management, and oversight actions taken by EPA have been more extensive and significant than has been generally recognized.” But clearly there are deficiencies and Mr. Auer testified that “While TSCA is very broad in its authority, it is vague as to the important areas that EPA should focus on in dealing with the tens of thousands of existing chemicals and this ‘gap’ has presented a long term and so far insolvable problem for EPA,” a situation that he believes “is not likely to change appreciably until and unless the Congress debates and provides policy guidance if not requirements (along with any legal authority needed to implement the guidance or requirements) to enable EPA to focus on developing and then working to implement an agreed approach to dealing with existing chemicals over time.”

Ms. Roberts’ prepared statement is available online. Mr. Auer’s is available online. Other witness testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing are available online.