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January 1, 2012

Monthly Update for January 2012

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.


OPP Announces Decision To Review 15 Pesticides: On December 21, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) announced it would review 15 pesticides. The pesticides are benfluralin, bis(trichloromethyl)sulfone, clothianidin, dinotefuran; methylene bis(thiocyanate), orthosulfamuron, paraquat dichloride, pyrethrin and derivatives, sodium omadine, sumithrin (phenothrin), tetramethrin, thiamethoxam, thiobencarb, tri-n butyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride, and undecylenic acid. EPA seeks information on each pesticide. Comments are due by February 21, 2012.

GAO Finds Challenges Remain With EPA’s 2009 IRIS Process: On January 9, 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Challenges Remain with EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System Program, which evaluates EPA’s progress in completing Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessments under the May 2009 process. EPA revised its IRIS assessment process in May 2009 in response to a March 2008 GAO report on the IRIS program. EPA most recently revised the IRIS process in July 2011, in response to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on EPA’s IRIS assessment for formaldehyde. The GAO report is available online. Information regarding EPA’s current IRIS assessment process is available online. More detailed information is available online.

EPA Proposes SNURs For 17 Chemicals, Including CNTs: On December 28, 2011, EPA proposed significant new use rules (SNUR) for 17 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). 78 Fed. Reg. 81447. According to EPA, 15 of the substances are subject to consent orders under Section 5(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process any of the 17 substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by the proposed rules would be required to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. Of particular interest, seven of the PMN substances’ reported chemical names include the term “carbon nanotube” (CNT). Comments are due by January 27, 2012. More detailed information is available online.

EPA Convenes FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel On Bed Bug Efficacy Testing: On January 11, 2012, EPA announced the scheduling of a two-day meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to consider and review Methods for Efficacy Testing of Bed Bug Pesticide Products. 77 Fed. Reg. 1677. The meeting will be held on March 6-7, 2012, from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EPA encourages that written comments be submitted by February 21, 2012, and requests for oral comments be submitted by February 28, 2012. According to EPA, the United States is one of many countries now experiencing a resurgence of the population of bed bugs. Though the exact cause is not known, experts suspect the resurgence is associated with increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs due to their prolonged absence, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective vector/pest control programs at state and local public health agencies. EPA-registered pesticide products are an important part of pest management programs to accomplish bed bug control. In response, EPA has evaluated the database for registered products and concluded that there is a need to standardize approaches to bed bug product testing methods in order to insure the efficacy of registered products. In order to accomplish this, EPA is developing a product performance guideline for bed bug pesticide products. EPA seeks advice and recommendations from the SAP on scientific issues associated with the proposed EPA Guideline “Methods for Efficacy Testing of Bed Bug Pesticide Products.”

EPA Proposes SNURs On Certain Chemical Substances: On December 28, 2011, EPA proposed SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for the chemical substances rutile, tin zinc, calcium-doped (CAS No. 389623-01-2) and rutile, tin zinc, sodium-doped (CAS No. 389623-07-8) which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN) (PMNs P-06-36 and P-06-37) and TSCA Section 5(e) consent orders issued by EPA. 76 Fed. Reg. 81441. The proposed SNURs on these substances, which are based on the provisions of the underlying consent orders, would designate as a significant new use the absence of the protective measures required in the consent orders. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process either of the chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit the activity before it occurs. Comments must be received on or before January 27, 2012.

EPA Proposes SNUR For Phenol, 2,4-dimethyl-6-(1-methylpentadecyl)-: On December 28, 2011, EPA proposed a SNUR under TSCA Section 5(a)(2) for the chemical substance identified as phenol, 2,4-dimethyl-6-(1-methylpentadecyl)- (PMN P-94-209; CAS No. 134701-20-5). 76 Fed. Reg. 81437. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process the substance for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs. Comments must be received on or before January 27, 2012.

Toxic Releases Increased By 16 Percent: On January 5, 2012, EPA released Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313 data that show a 16 percent increase over 2009 numbers. The increase is attributed to changes in the metal mining sector that usually involves large facilities handling large volumes of material. The chemical and primary metals industries also reported increases in toxic releases in 2010. The 2010 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) analysis is available online.


EPA And DTSC Sign Agreement Concerning Safer Consumer Products: EPA announced on January 12, 2012, that it signed a “landmark agreement” with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). According to EPA, the formal agreement outlines principles by which DTSC and EPA will cooperate to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what is in the products they buy for their families and customers. EPA states that the agreement will allow DTSC and EPA to minimize duplication of effort and promote consistency in their methodology, which will ultimately improve environmental protection. The agreement also creates a partnership between the two agencies and sets up a framework to collaborate on Green Chemistry issues so that California’s innovative “Green Chemistry” program can grow. According to the press release, DTSC intends to promulgate final Safer Consumer Products Regulations in 2012, and to release draft Safer Consumer Products Regulations in early 2012 for public comment. More information about the agreement is available online.


EPA Re-Proposes Confidentiality Determinations For Data Elements Under The Mandatory Reporting Of Greenhouse Gases Rule: EPA re-proposed the confidentiality determinations for the data elements under the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule on January 10, 2012. 77 Fed. Reg. 1434. On July 7, 2010, EPA proposed confidentiality determinations for data elements, and states that it is issuing the January 10 re-proposal “due to significant changes to certain data elements.” In addition, EPA is proposing confidentiality determinations for seven new data elements that are not inputs to equations. EPA is also proposing to categorize three data elements as inputs to emission equations and to defer their reporting deadline to March 31, 2013. Comments are due March 12, 2012. Requests for a public hearing are due January 17, 2012. Upon such request, EPA will hold the hearing on January 25, 2012, in the Washington, D.C. area starting at 9:00 a.m. EST. EPA will publish further information about the hearing in the Federal Register if a hearing is requested.


EP Passes Resolution Calling For Legislation To Protect Workers From Nanomaterials: The European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on December 15, 2011, stating that nanomaterials must be covered by current European Union (EU) health and safety rules, based on a mid-term review of the EU’s 2007-2012 health and safety at work strategy. The resolution, which was adopted with 371 votes in favor, 47 against, and 15 abstentions, also calls for the assessment of the effects of new technologies on health. The EP calls for legislation to ensure that nanomaterials are covered by the current European Occupational Health and Safety regulation. More information is available online.

NIST Announces Release Of First Certified Reference Material For Single-Wall CNTs: On December 20, 2011, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced it issued the world’s first reference material for single-wall CNT soot. See online. According to NIST, “nanotube-laden soot is the primary industrial source of single-wall carbon nanotubes, perhaps the archetype of all nanoscale materials.” NIST states that the new material “offers companies and researchers a badly needed source of uniform and well-characterized carbon nanotube soot for material comparisons, as well as chemical and toxicity analysis.” NIST certifies each unit of SRM 2483 for the mass fraction values of several common contaminants, including barium, cerium, chlorine, cobalt, dysprosium, europium, gadolinium, lanthanum, molybdenum, and samarium. NIST provides reference values (values believed to be accurate, but not rising to the level of confidence that NIST certifies) for an additional seven elements. NIST has also posted a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the reference material. See online.

Coalition Sues FDA Over Alleged Risks From Nanotechnology And Nanomaterials: A coalition of nonprofit consumer safety and environmental groups sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on December 21, 2011. The coalition is led by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), and includes Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, the Center for Environmental Health, the Erosion, Technology and Concentration Group (ETC Group), and the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy. ICTA states that its lawsuit “demands” FDA respond to the coalition’s 2006 petition. The 2006 petition requested FDA take several actions, including requiring specific product labeling and health and safety testing; analyzing the environmental and health impacts of nanomaterials in products approved by FDA; and regulating sunscreens containing nanomaterials. In the December 21, 2011, complaint, the coalition states that, since 2006, “nanomaterial consumer products have continued to proliferate without oversight.” The coalition asks the court to order FDA to respond to its 2006 petition without further delay.

EPA OIG Concludes EPA Needs To Manage Nanomaterials More Effectively: On December 30, 2011, the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled EPA Needs to Manage Nanomaterial Risks More Effectively. According to OIG, the purpose of its review was to determine how effectively EPA is managing the human health and environmental risks of nanomaterials. OIG states that it found “that EPA does not currently have sufficient information or processes to effectively manage the human health and environmental risks of nanomaterials.” According to OIG, although EPA has the statutory authority to regulate nanomaterials, it “currently lacks the environmental and human health exposure and toxicological data to do so effectively.” EPA proposed a policy, under FIFRA, that would identify new pesticides being registered with nanoscale materials. After “minimal industry participation” in EPA’s Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP), a voluntary data collection program, EPA has chosen to propose mandatory reporting rules for nanomaterials under FIFRA, and is developing proposed rules under TSCA. According to OIG, even if mandatory reporting rules are approved, the effectiveness of EPA’s management of nanomaterials remains in question for the following reasons:

  • Program offices do not have a formal process to coordinate the dissemination and utilization of the potentially mandated information;
  • EPA is not communicating an overall message to external stakeholders regarding policy changes and the risks of nanomaterials;
  • EPA proposes to regulate nanomaterials as chemicals and its success in managing nanomaterials will be linked to the existing limitations of those applicable statutes; and
  • EPA’s management of nanomaterials is limited by lack of risk information and reliance on industry-submitted data.

OIG states that if EPA does not improve its internal processes and develop a clear and consistent stakeholder communication process, it will not be able to assure that it is effectively managing nanomaterial risks. OIG recommends that the Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention develop a process to assure effective dissemination and coordination of nanomaterial information across relevant program offices. The OIG report states that EPA “agreed with our recommendation and provided a corrective action plan with milestone dates.” By January 31, 2012, the report states, EPA will convene a workgroup “consisting of representatives from all relevant offices to begin development of process.” By July 31, 2012, EPA will “[c]omplete draft document outlining process.” The OIG report is available online.

Nanotech Commercialization Conference Will Be Held In North Carolina In April: The NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NbCA), North Carolina Department of Commerce, and Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology (COIN) will co-host the Nanotech Commercialization Conference on April 4-5, 2012, in Research Triangle, North Carolina. Lynn L. Bergeson will speak at the Conference, which will include:

  • National-level keynote speakers;
  • Sessions, workshops, and exhibits showcasing the latest advances in the field;
  • Discussions on financing, licensing, and business development geared toward the nanotech entrepreneur;
  • Sessions and exhibits showcasing cutting-edge research, products, and technologies; and
  • Networking opportunities with connected professionals.

More information is available online.

NRC Committee Holds First Meeting For Second Triennial Review Of The NNI: On January 11, 2012, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee conducting the second triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) held its first meeting. The overall objective for the NNI review is to make recommendations to the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office that will improve the value of NNI’s strategy and portfolio for basic research, applied research, and applications of nanotechnology to advance the commercialization, manufacturing capability, national economy, and national security interest of the U.S. During the meeting, Committee members discussed the metrics federal agencies should use to measure whether the money the government has spent on nanoscience research is generating U.S. jobs, boosting national income, and providing other societal benefits. During the meeting, Sally Tinkle, Deputy Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, stated that she hopes the March 27-29, 2012, international symposium on assessing the economic impact of nanotechnology will provide ideas regarding metrics. Lynn L. Bergeson is on the Steering Committee and will speak at the March 27-29, 2012, symposium, which is co-sponsored by NNI, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and American Association for the Advancement of Science. The NRC Committee expects to complete its review of the NNI and issue its evaluation in early 2013. More information regarding the NRC Committee is available online.


ECHA Adds 20 SVHCs To Candidate List: On December 19, 2011, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that it added 20 substances of very high concern (SVHC) to the Candidate List, which now includes 73 substances. Of the 20 substances, 12 were added following the unanimous agreement of the Member State Committee, while the other eight, which did not receive comments challenging the identification as SVHC during public consultation, were added to the Candidate List. Nineteen of the SVHCs are believed to be carcinogenic and/or toxic for reproduction. Additionally, for the first time a substance — 4-tert-octyl phenol — has been identified as an SVHC because of its endocrine disrupting properties, which ECHA states “give rise to an equivalent level of concern due to its probable serious effects to the environment.” The 20 SVHCs are:

  • Zirconia Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres;
  • Calcium arsenate;
  • Bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether;
  • Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres;
  • Potassium hydroxyoctaoxodizincatedichromate;
  • Lead dipicrate;
  • N,N-dimethylacetamide;
  • Arsenic acid;
  • 2-Methoxyaniline; o-Anisidine;
  • Trilead diarsenate;
  • 1,2-dichloroethane;
  • Pentazinc chromate octahydroxide;
  • 4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)phenol;
  • Formaldehyde, oligomeric reaction products with aniline;
  • Bis(2-methoxyethyl) phthalate;
  • Lead diazide, lead azide;
  • Lead styphnate;
  • 2,2′-dichloro-4,4′-methylenedianiline;
  • Phenolphthalein; and
  • Dichromium tris(chromate).

ECHA notes that companies “may have legal obligations resulting from the inclusion of substances in the Candidate List which may apply to the listed substances on their own, in mixtures or in articles.” ECHA states that producers and importers of articles have until June 19, 2012, to notify ECHA if both of the following conditions apply: the substance is present in those articles in quantities totaling over one ton per producer or importer per year; and the substance is present in those articles above a concentration of 0.1 percent weight by weight. There are exemptions from the notification obligation if the substance is already registered for the use or when exposure can be excluded. More information is available online.

ECHA Proposes To Ban 13 Substances: On December 21, 2011, ECHA submitted to the European Commission (EC) a list of 13 substances it said should be banned under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) chemical law. The substances are seven chromium compounds (chromium trioxide, chromic acid, sodium dichromate, potassium dichromate, ammonium dichromate, potassium chromate, and sodium chromate), five cobalt compounds (cobalt sulphate, cobalt dichloride, cobalt dinitrate, cobalt carbonate, and cobalt diacetate), and the industrial solvent trichloroethylene. The chemicals already are listed as SVHCs under REACH, and the proposal to ban them has been subject to a public consultation. This is the third set of substances proposed by ECHA for a ban. The EC has, to date, agreed to ban six chemicals. The ECHA recommendation to the EC concerning the 13 substances is available online. The EC is scheduled to take final action to include these substances on Annex XIV (the REACH Authorization List) in February 2013.


Omnibus Appropriations Bill Includes Provisions Regarding IRIS And RoC: On December 16, 2011, the House passed a nine-bill omnibus appropriations package (H.R. 2055) for fiscal year (FY) 2012, and the Senate approved the bill on December 17, 2011. House Report 112-331, which accompanied the bill, directs EPA “to incorporate, as appropriate, based on chemical-specific datasets and biological effects, the recommendations of Chapter 7 of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde into the IRIS process.” EPA must issue a progress report to Congress no later than March 1, 2012, describing its implementation of the NRC’s recommendations. For draft assessments released in FY 2012, EPA shall include documentation describing how it has implemented or addressed the NRC’s recommendations, including an explanation for why certain recommendations were not incorporated. EPA shall contract with the NAS to conduct up to three reviews of IRIS assessments that EPA seeks to make final. Reviews shall include an evaluation of whether the NRC’s recommendations have been implemented. The House Report states that the reviews “are not intended to unduly delay the Agency’s risk assessment process,” and that the conferees “further direct NAS to complete any reviews authorized by this paragraph by no later than 18 months after the date that EPA and the NAS have agreed to the terms of the review.” The House Report states that one of these reviews shall be a study of the cancer and non-cancer hazards from oral exposure to inorganic arsenic. The NAS review of inorganic arsenic shall incorporate the direction provided in House Report 112-151 regarding parameters of the study. NAS will choose additional reviews from a representational sample of IRIS assessments, and NAS will notify Congress directly of these choices. The House Report states: “Further, the conferees strongly believe any current and future IRIS assessments must not only be grounded in sound, objective, and peer-reviewed science and methodologies but should also provide risk managers with realistic values that will result in enhanced protection of human health.” Regarding the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (RoC), the House Report notes that the conference agreement includes $1,000,000 for the Assistant Secretary for Health to contract with NAS “to conduct a scientific peer review” of the 12th RoC determinations related to formaldehyde and styrene. The review shall include “all relevant, peer-reviewed research related to both formaldehyde and styrene.” The conference report is available online.

Congress To Reconvene On January 17; EPA Regulations In Lawmakers’ Sights: The second session of the 112th Congress reconvenes on January 17, 2012. As lawmakers return to Congress, the cost impacts of EPA regulations are likely to remain in their sights as they push the economy as the central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. The campaign already has created a bright line with respect to EPA, with Republicans arguing that EPA regulations are “job killers” that harm the economy. Republicans will continue this strategy and likely will target specific EPA rules for elimination. In fact, EPA Administrator Jackson recently noted that House Republicans in 2011 “orchestrated 170 votes against environmental protections since taking office at the beginning of 2011, roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session.” On the other side of the argument, President Obama has promised to continue strengthening environmental regulations under existing statutes. The President’s message highlights the clean energy role that environmental regulations provide, and that environmental regulations support, rather than erode, the economy. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that EPA will issue any major or highly controversial rules in 2012, as the most contentious rules were issued by EPA before the end of 2011.

EPA Budget Faces Steep Cuts: Before adjourning for the holiday recess, Congress passed its FY 2012 omnibus appropriations law. EPA took a hit in the bill; its budget was cut by some $230 million, taking EPA’s budget down to about $8.4 billion, compared with its previously enacted 2010 budget of $10.3 billion. These cuts could make it difficult for EPA and state environmental agencies to implement or enforce a broad range of environmental regulatory programs. The next couple of years appear to offer little hope on the horizon. House Republicans are likely to continue their efforts to limit EPA’s funding and authority. Moreover, the White House has directed agencies to propose 2013 budgets at least five percent below 2011 enacted levels and to propose reductions of at least ten percent below 2011. Federal agencies also face mandatory funding cuts beginning in 2013 after Congress’s deficit reduction “super committee” failed to reach agreements on a budget reduction plan. Because the committee failed to reach a deal, $1.2 trillion in cuts will be triggered automatically, including large-scale cuts in discretionary spending, which includes EPA.

Payroll Tax Bill Requires Fast Decision On Keystone Pipeline: President Obama on December 23, 2011, signed into law a broad payroll tax package that includes a measure requiring him to make a speedy decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The provision requires the Administration to make a decision within 60 days on the pipeline, which would carry oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast. To reject the pipeline, Obama would have to declare that the project is not in the national interest. The pipeline decision has emerged as the iconic environmental regulatory issue in the debate between Republicans and the Obama Administration. The measure will force the Administration to decide on the pipeline even though the President sought to delay a decision until 2013. Any decision the President renders will be politically thorny for Obama, as the project splits his base. Environmental groups and others are vehemently opposed to the project, while a number of major unions support the pipeline.


Canada Requires Notice For New Use, Manufacture, Or Import Of Four Chemicals: On December 1, 2011, Environment Canada and Health Canada announced that industry must provide advance notice of planned significant new uses in Canada of four toxic substances under a final order. The order requires reporting to Environment Canada at least 180 days in advance of any planned activity involving manufacture, import, or use of any of the four substances in quantities greater than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) per year, the departments said in a regulatory impact statement. The four substances are methyloxirane and ethyloxirane, both used in chemical manufacturing; 1,2-benzenediol, also known as catechol and used in photographic developing; and 1,4-benzenediol, or hydroquinone, a cosmetic used to lighten the skin. According to the departments, data show that each of the four substances poses a risk to human health at any level of exposure. All four are designated as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The significant new use order from Environment Canada and Health Canada is available online.

DOT Issues Corrections To Hazardous Materials Transportation Regulations: The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on December 30, 2011, issued a Federal Register notice revising and clarifying the hazardous materials regulations (HMR). 76 Fed. Reg. 82163. The notice responds to administrative appeals and makes clarifications and corrections to the HMRs that came about as a result of PHMSA issuing a rule in January 2011 intended to harmonize the HMRs with international hazardous materials transportation standards. Specifically, on January 19, 2011, PHMSA published a final rule revising the HMRs to align them with various international standards. 76 Fed. Reg. 3308. The final rule adopted amendments to the HMRs regarding hazard communication, hazard classification including packing group assignment, packaging authorization, air transport quantity limitations, and various other international harmonization-related topics. The amendments aligned the HMRs with the latest revisions to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions), the International Maritime Organization’s Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG Regulations), and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations (UN Model Regulations).

The December 30, 2011, notice makes several corrections and clarifications to the HMRs. Perhaps the most significant clarification in the notice addresses the requirements associated with the air transport of limited quantities of hazardous materials. In the January 19, 2011, final rule, PHMSA adopted new limited quantity markings consistent with the ICAO Technical Instructions, IMDG Code, and the UN Model Regulations to include a limited quantity “Y” marking for display on packagings prepared for air transportation. Two trade associations appealed the issue and asked for a clearer indication of when this new marking may be used in modes of transportation by other than aircraft. They note PHMSA’s consideration in the January 19 final rule of a comment stating that the limited quantity “Y” marking should be authorized for use in all modes of transportation if displayed on a packaging that meets all conditions and requirements for air transportation. In the December 30, 2011, notice PHMSA states that it agrees with this recommendation, and revised the HMRs to state that a limited quantity package that is marked with a “Y” and that is in full conformance with the air transport provisions prescribed for a limited quantity package should be authorized in all modes of transportation. The rule was effective January 1, 2012.

Chemical Safety Board Calls For Hazardous Waste Facility Standard: In the wake of a December 17, 2011, fatal fire at an Ohio hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is calling for a national fire code standard for TSDFs. The fire occurred at Heritage-WTI in East Liverpool, Ohio, when workers were working with a drum of ignitable hazardous waste. One worker was killed and another severely burned. In responding to the accident, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said that accidents at TSDFs are common, noting that CSB found more than 20 fires at TSDFs from 2002-2007. CSB thus issued recommendations to the Environmental Technology Council (ETC) — a trade association representing commercial TSDFs — that ETC petition the National Fire Protection Association to issue a standard specific to TSDFs. CSB also recommended ETC develop its own guidance document for its members on the safe processing, handling, and storage of hazardous waste. More information is available online.

eCDRweb Is Now Available: On January 4, 2012, EPA announced that access to the Agency-provided electronic reporting tool, eCDRweb, is now available to complete electronically and submit the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Form U. According to EPA, if you have already registered through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX), you may go back and access the e-CDRweb. If you have not registered, you must first register with CDX under the new “Submissions for Chemical Safety and Pesticide Programs (CSPP)” to access the eCDRweb tool. For further information, see the CDR website.

NTP Announces Final Process For Preparation Of The RoC: In a January 11, 2012, Federal Register notice, NTP announced the availability of the final process for preparation of the RoC. 77 Fed. Reg. 1707. NTP states that the RoC “identifies agents, substances, mixtures, and exposure circumstances . . . in our environment that may potentially put people in the United States at increased risk for cancer.” NTP released its proposed process for preparation of the RoC on October 31, 2011, and held a listening session to receive oral comment on November 29, 2011. NTP considered the oral and written comments, and presented a revised proposed process at the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors meeting on December 15, 2011. The final process is essentially the same as the revised proposed process. The Small Business Administration and industry groups criticized NTP’s proposed process for making judgments about substances’ carcinogenicity less clear to the public, potentially decreasing the quality of the scientific basis of listing decisions, and failing to make the process more efficient. NTP’s final process is available online.

President Announces Plan Intended To Make It Easier To Do Business In U.S.: On January 13, 2012, President Obama announced a plan intended to make it easier to do business in America. There are currently six major federal departments or agencies that focus on business or trade: the U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions; the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. According to Obama, this is redundant and inefficient, and results in a number of websites, toll-free numbers, and customer service centers that at times offer them differing advice. Under Obama’s proposal, there would be “one Department where entrepreneurs can go from the day they come up with an idea and need a patent, to the day they start building a product and need a warehouse, to the day they are ready to export and need help breaking into new markets overseas.” Obama also announced a new website, BusinessUSA, which will be “a virtual one-stop shop with information for small businesses and businesses of all size that want to begin or increase exporting.” Obama has asked Congress for the authority to merge these six entities into a single department tasked with boosting American business and promoting competitiveness. According to the “Government Reorganization Fact Sheet” released by the White House, with the exception of President Ford, every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had the authority to reorganize the government. Under Obama’s proposal, any reorganization plan must consolidate government, thus reducing the number of agencies or saving taxpayer dollars. More information is available online.

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