Monthly Update for September 2022
WEBINAR — Registration Opens For “Environmental, Social, And Governance Issues: A Business Imperative,” October 11, 2022, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EDT): Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance is more than an aspiration, and realizing it in real time is not easy. A well-designed ESG strategy can achieve meaningful improvements in corporate performance and provide real value to stakeholders through specific commitments to corporate responsibility. Any such approach, however, must be measurable, transparent, and accountable. Christine DiBartolo, Senior Managing Director of FTI Consulting’s Strategic Communications Segment; Ken Ditzel, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting and leader of the firm’s North American energy and environmental market advisory team; and Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will discuss how to undertake an ESG assessment, build an effective ESG program, and create credible sustainability reporting systems. Register now!
SEMINAR — ABA Section Of Environment, Energy, And Resources’ 30th Fall Conference, September 21-23, 2022, Nashville, TN: The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ (SEER) 30th Fall Conference will look at rapidly emerging developments in environmental, energy, and resources law, including the novel approaches taken to bring solutions to climate change, sustainability, clean air, clean water, chemical management, environmental justice (EJ), and other transformative issues. Lynn L. Bergeson will present during the “Periodic Review: Reinvigorated Chemical Product Regulation under FIFRA and TSCA” session.
SEMINAR — IBA Annual Conference, October 30-November 4, 2022, Miami, FL: The International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference is open to both members and non-members of the IBA, with lawyers from over 130 jurisdictions and all parts of the legal profession attending. The conference will cover law firm management and international relationships; ethics; the future of the legal profession and the rule of law and human rights. The IBA’s Agricultural Law Section, co-chaired by Lynn L. Bergeson, will present the Sustainability Focus session titled “Sustainable Investment In Agriculture – The Role Lawyers Play.”
SEMINAR — Regulatory Summit USA, October 5-6, 2022, Washington D.C. And Via Webinar: Chemical Watch presents Regulatory Summit USA, focusing on the latest developments in global chemicals regulation, providing an in-depth focus on regulatory updates and practice from the U.S., Europe, Asia, and around the world. Lynn L. Bergeson will present “Initial 10 High Priority TSCA risk evaluations” on October 5, 2022.
PODCAST — Do We Need An Animal Protection Agency? — A Conversation With Prof. Delcianna J. Winders: On this episode of All Things Chemical®, Lynn L. Bergeson, and Delcianna J. Winders, Professor and Animal Law and Policy Institute Director at the Vermont Law School, discuss just a few of the many fascinating issues included under the broad umbrella of animal law, including Professor Winders’ judicial successes involving the Animal Welfare Act, her thoughts on alternatives to animal testing, how the concept of one health intersects with animal law, the role of restorative justice in animal and chemical law, and much more. Listen now.
PODCAST — Is There A New Chemical Bias? — A Conversation With Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.: Lynn L. Bergeson was joined by Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry at B&C, for this episode of All Things Chemical. Much has changed in terms of the new chemical review process since Congress revised the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) six years ago. This episode looks at one thing that has not changed: the new chemical bias, explaining why it continues to confound chemical innovators, and what is being done to eliminate the bias and level the playing field. Listen now.
ARTICLE — Lynn L. Bergeson And Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. Author “Optimizing The Toxic Substances Control Act To Achieve Greener Chemicals,” For ABA’s NR&E Magazine: TSCA offers tremendous unrealized potential to promote the development of more sustainable industrial chemicals. Despite the fact that Congress significantly amended TSCA in 2016 specifically to diminish the human health and environmental footprint of industrial chemicals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is interpreting the revised law in ways that ironically discourage the commercialization of new chemicals and reinforce a “new chemical bias” that undermines the commercialization of greener, more sustainable industrial chemicals. This article explores the EPA policies and practices that blunt the commercialization of promising, more sustainable industrial chemicals and offers recommendations to optimize TSCA to achieve greener chemicals.
ARTICLE — EPA Eases TSCA Testing Demands: EPA has issued two new documents for recipients of Section 4 test orders under TSCA. The good news is these documents offer relief to stakeholders who otherwise would be responsible for chemical testing costs for certain chemicals they produced or imported. The full text of this article, written by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, B&C, for Chemical Processing, is available here.
EPA Holds Webinar On PFAS Strategic Roadmap: Research Tools And Resources: EPA held a webinar on August 17, 2022, on the “EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap: Research Tools and Resources.” The webinar provided a brief overview of EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and ongoing efforts by EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) to address key per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) research needs for environmental decision-making. During the webinar, ORD scientists highlighted two recently released data sources: EPA’s Systematic Evidence Map (SEM) for PFAS, which summarizes available toxicity evidence for approximately 150 different PFAS, and EPA’s PFAS Thermal Treatment Database (PFASTT), which contains information on the treatability of PFAS via various thermal processes. EPA will has posted a recording of the webinar. For a summary of the webinar, please read the full memorandum.
EPA Releases Draft Ecological Risk Assessment For Dicamba For Public Comment: EPA announced on August 18, 2022, it released its draft ecological risk assessment for dicamba for a 60-day public review. 87 Fed. Reg. 50854. The 287-page assessment examines the potential ecological risks associated with currently registered uses of dicamba on non-target, non-listed species. Risks to federally listed threatened and endangered species are not evaluated in the assessment. EPA is reevaluating the risks of dicamba as part of a routine review process for pesticides that occurs every 15 years. Comments are due October 17, 2022. EPA expects to propose an interim decision regarding the reregistration of dicamba in 2023. More information is available in our September 2, 2022, blog.
EPA Publishes Statements Of Findings For Certain New Chemicals Or Significant New Uses For May, June, And July 2022: TSCA requires EPA to publish in the Federal Register a statement of its findings after its review of certain TSCA submissions when EPA makes a finding that a new chemical substance or significant new use is not likely to present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Such statements apply to premanufacture notices (PMN), microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN), and significant new use notices (SNUN) submitted to EPA under TSCA. EPA published on August 22, 2022, its statements of findings made on such submissions during the period from May 1, 2022, to July 31, 2022. 87 Fed. Reg. 51412.
EPA New Chemicals Program Will Discontinue Use Of Exposure Modeling Thresholds When Assessing Health And Environmental Risks: On August 22, 2022, EPA announced that as part of its commitment to re-evaluate policies and practices under the TSCA New Chemicals Program to ensure they adhere to statutory requirements and the Biden Administration’s executive orders and directives, it has updated its policy to discontinue the use of exposure modeling thresholds when assessing the health and environmental risks of new chemicals under TSCA. The New Chemicals Program will implement this change by making minimal changes to the coding in the New Chemical Review application to remove the thresholds and will update standard operating procedures and training materials for exposure and human health risk assessors. EPA states that it will implement this policy change “as soon as feasible.” According to EPA, despite the resource challenges it is currently facing in the TSCA program, it anticipates that the change “will have minimal impact on the amount of time it takes to complete new chemical reviews and that the benefits gained from a more comprehensive accounting of all potential air and water releases will help ensure any needed protections are in place before a new chemical can come to market.”
More information and a detailed commentary that discusses thresholds of toxicological concern (TTC) are available in our August 22, 2022, memorandum.
Registration Opens For EPA NAMs Conference And CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Training: On August 25, 2022, EPA announced that registration was open for the 2022 Conference on the State of the Science on Development and Use of New Approach Methods (NAMs) for Chemical Safety Testing. EPA notes that there will be limited availability in person at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on October 12-13, 2022, and a virtual option will also be available. EPA asks that attendees register for the NAMs conference before October 7, 2022.
On October 18, 2022, EPA will provide training on the Computational Toxicology (CompTox) Chemicals Dashboard, which is part of a suite of databases and web applications developed by EPA to support the development of innovative methods to evaluate chemicals for potential health risks. The computational toxicology tools and data in the Dashboard help prioritize chemicals based on potential health risks. Registration is now open (attendees must register for the training portions individually):
- CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Virtual Training: Session 1 (Presentation and question and answer (Q&A)); and
- CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Virtual Training: Session 2 (Breakout Sessions).
EPA Issues Draft Revision To Risk Determination For Carbon Tetrachloride And Finds Carbon Tetrachloride, As A Whole Chemical Substance, Presents An Unreasonable Risk: On August 29, 2022, EPA announced the availability of and requested public comment on a draft revision to the risk determination for the carbon tetrachloride risk evaluation issued under TSCA. 87 Fed. Reg. 52766. EPA states that the draft revision to the carbon tetrachloride risk determination reflects its announced policy changes to ensure the public is protected from unreasonable risks from chemicals in a way that is supported by science and the law. In the draft revision, EPA finds that carbon tetrachloride, as a whole chemical substance, presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health when evaluated under its conditions of use (COU). Comments are due September 28, 2022. For more information, please read the full memorandum.
EPA Seeks Additional Comment On Proposal To Consolidate TSCA Section 8 ICRs: As reported in our March 14, 2022, blog item, EPA announced on March 8, 2022, that it is planning to consolidate several Information Collection Requests (ICR) covering reporting and recordkeeping activities under TSCA Section 8. 87 Fed. Reg. 12954. EPA has since submitted the ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. EPA published a notice on August 30, 2022, allowing for an additional 30 days for public comment. 87 Fed. Reg. 52967. Comments are due September 29, 2022. More information is available in our August 31, 2022, blog item.
USDA Publishes ANPR On Inert Ingredients In Pesticides For Organic Production: On September 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) seeking input from stakeholders about how to update its organic regulations on inert ingredients in pesticides used in organic production. 87 Fed. Reg. 54173. AMS seeks comments on alternatives to its existing regulations that would align with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) and EPA’s regulatory framework for inert ingredients. According to the ANPR, information from public comments would inform AMS’s approach to this topic, including any proposed revisions of the USDA organic regulations. Comments are due November 1, 2022. More information is available in our September 14, 2022, blog.
EPA Announces Availability Of Final Revision To The Risk Determination For PV29: On September 6, 2022, EPA announced the availability of the final revision to the risk determination for the Colour Index Pigment Violet 29 (PV29) risk evaluation issued under TSCA. 87 Fed. Reg. 54491. EPA states that the revision to the PV29 risk determination reflects its announced policy changes to ensure the public is protected from unreasonable risks from chemicals in a way that is supported by science and the law. EPA determined that PV29, as a whole chemical substance, presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health when evaluated under its COUs. For more information, please read the full memorandum.
EDF Holds Webinar Introducing CRA Framework: On September 7, 2022, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) held a webinar to introduce a cumulative risk assessment (CRA) framework that takes into account multiple exposures to chemical and non-chemical stressors. Sarah Vogel, Senior Vice President for Health at EDF, moderated the webinar. According to Vogel, for decades, EJ leaders have documented disproportionate chemical exposures to disadvantaged communities. These chemical and social stressors (e.g., racism and lack of access to healthcare) contribute to adverse health outcomes. Vogel stated that EPA ignores this reality, however, evaluating each chemical under TSCA in isolation. EDF is concerned that continuing this practice will perpetuate the injustices to these communities and other susceptible populations. As amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) in 2016, TSCA requires a holistic consideration of chemical risk and consideration of those at higher risk. To address this, EDF developed a CRA framework that provides a practical pathway for developing assessments under the framework of TSCA. The framework describes how EPA can scale up to yield fully inclusive and just assessments of chemical risk. EDF has posted a recording of the webinar. For a summary of the webinar and B&C’s commentary, please read the full memorandum.
EPA Proposes To Modify Certain SNURs: EPA proposed on September 15, 2022, to amend the significant new use rules (SNUR) for certain chemical substances that were the subject of one or more PMNs and in some cases SNUNs. 87 Fed. Reg. 56610. According to EPA, this action would amend the SNURs to allow certain new uses reported in the SNUNs or PMNs without additional notification requirements and modify the significant new use notification requirements based on the actions and determinations for the SNUN or PMN submissions or based on the examination of new test data or other information. EPA states that it is proposing these amendments based on its review of new and existing data for the chemical substances. Comments are due October 17, 2022.
EPA Proposes Revisions To RMP Rule To Enhance Chemical Safety: EPA announced on August 19, 2022, that it will propose revisions to the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule to protect further vulnerable communities from chemical accidents, especially those living near facilities with high accident rates. According to EPA, the “Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention” (SCCAP) rule “would strengthen the existing program and includes new safeguards that have not been addressed in prior RMP rules, such as enhanced employee participation and transparency for communities on safety decisions.” On August 31, 2022, EPA issued the proposed rule in the Federal Register. 87 Fed. Reg. 53556. Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2022. EPA will hold three virtual public hearings on September 26, 27, and 28, 2022. Registration for the hearings is now available at the virtual public hearings link above under the General Information section. For more information on the revisions to the RMP rule, please read the full memorandum.
EPA Proposes To Designate PFOA And PFOS As CERCLA Hazardous Substances: On September 6, 2022,EPA proposed to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). 87 Fed. Reg. 54415. The proposed rulemaking would require entities to report immediately releases of PFOA and PFOS that meet or exceed the reportable quantity (RQ). Comments are due November 7, 2022. EPA states that under the Paperwork Reduction Act, “comments on the information collection provisions are best assured of consideration if [OMB] receives a copy of your comments on or before October 6, 2022.” For more information on the proposed rule, please read the full memorandum.
NGOs Petition EPA To Close CAA Loopholes For SSM Events: Earthjustice announced on September 13, 2022, that a coalition of community advocacy and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) formally petitioned EPA to eliminate loopholes in new source performance standards (NSPS). The coalition claims that these exemptions allow facilities, such as oil refineries, chemical plants, and incinerators, “to disregard emission standards, stop reporting their pollution, and avoid fines or other consequences for excess pollution they emit during startup, shutdowns, and malfunctions (SSM).” According to the coalition, courts “have repeatedly told EPA that these exemptions are illegal — and EPA itself recognizes these exemptions are illegal.” The coalition seeks a rulemaking to eliminate SSM exemptions in Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 111 implementing regulations.
FDA Issues Prior Notice Of Imported Food Draft Guidance: On September 13, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the availability of a draft guidance for industry titled “Prior Notice of Imported Food Questions and Answers; Draft Guidance for Industry (Edition 4).” 87 Fed. Reg. 55932. The draft guidance includes three additional questions, as well as other technical and editorial changes. FDA is accepting comments until November 14, 2022.
NASEM Recommends That EPA Conduct Ecological Risk Assessment Of UV Filters Found In Sunscreen, Including Titanium Oxide And Zinc Oxide: On August 9, 2022, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report entitled Review of Fate, Exposure, and Effects of Sunscreens in Aquatic Environments and Implications for Sunscreen Usage and Human Health. NASEM’s report reviews the state of science on the sources and inputs, fate, exposure, and effects of ultraviolet (UV) filters in aquatic environments, and the availability and applicability of data for conducting ecological risk assessments. According to the report, there are currently 16 UV filters allowed by FDA for use in any sunscreen sold in the United States, plus an additional proprietary UV filter, ecamsule, approved for use in limited products. The 16 UV filters include two inorganic UV filters, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. More information is available in our August 16, 2022, blog item.
OECD Publishes New Reports In Series On The Safety Of Manufactured Nanomaterials: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials provides up-to-date information on the OECD activities related to human health and environmental safety. In September 2022, OECD has published two new reports. Advanced Materials: Working Description aims to illustrate the content of the advanced materials playing field and the purpose of the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials’ (WPMN) engagement regarding these materials. Sustainability and Safe and Sustainable by Design: Working Descriptions for the Safer Innovation Approach provides working descriptions for sustainability and safe and sustainable by design (SSbD). More information is available in our September 12, 2022, blog item.
EUON Publishes Nanopinion On The Transportation Of Nanoparticles Across The Blood-Brain Barrier: On September 13, 2022, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) published a Nanopinion entitled “Can the Brain’s Gatekeeper Fight a Nano-Attack?” by Dr. Eugenia (Éva) Valsami-Jones, Professor of Environmental Nanoscience at the University of Birmingham, who co-authored an article entitled “Biotransformation modulates the penetration of metallic nanomaterials across an artificial blood–brain barrier model.” The study revealed how nanoparticles may gain access to the brain and how they might bypass the brain’s guardian BBB.
FDA NanoDay Symposium 2022 Will Be Held October 11, 2022: FDA will hold the “FDA NanoDay Symposium 2022” on October 11, 2022. The symposium will address the following topics:
- An overview and discussion of the recent “Guidance for Industry: Drug Products, Including Biological Products, that Contain Nanomaterials.” More information on the guidance is available in our April 24, 2022, blog item;
- A contextualized discussion of the development of the COVID mRNA lipid nanoparticle vaccine products;
- A nonclinical perspective of developmental challenges of products that contain nanomaterials; and
- The development of regulatory standards and methods for controlling products that contain nanomaterials.
B&C® Biobased And Sustainable Chemicals Blog: For access to a summary of key legislative, regulatory, and business developments in biobased chemicals, biofuels, and industrial biotechnology, go to https://biobasedblog.lawbc.com.
House Bill Would Prohibit Use Of Organophosphate Pesticides In Food: Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the Ban All Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides from Our Food Act (H.R. 8765) on August 30, 2022. According to Velázquez’s August 30, 2022, press release, the legislation would prohibit the use of organophosphate pesticides in food. The press release states that “[o]rganophosphates are human-made chemical substances that are used on crops and have been shown to pose health risks to farmworkers and can affect children’s neurodevelopment and neurological function, including by exposure before birth.”
Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Bill To Prevent PFAS Runoff At Airports: On September 6, 2022, the Senate unanimously passed the Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act (S. 3662). According to Senator Tammy Duckworth’s (D-IL) September 8, 2022, press release, the bill would deploy more existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for commercial airports to purchase devices necessary to test their firefighting equipment without discharging PFAS chemicals. The legislation would encourage commercial airports to purchase the devices to help limit and prevent exposure to PFAS. It would also direct the FAA to identify options for reimbursing airports elsewhere that already acquired the devices without federal funding.
Senate Republicans Introduce Regulatory And Permitting Reform Legislation: On September 12, 2022, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced the Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency (START) Act, comprehensive federal regulatory permitting and project review reform legislation. According to Capito’s September 12, 2022, press release, the bill would:
- Codify the Trump Administration’s revised National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations;
- Codify the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule’s definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA);
- Codify the Trump Administration’s CWA Section 401 Certification Rule to prevent state actions that unreasonably block energy projects;
- Codify nationwide permits issued in 2021 that streamline Section 404 permitting for the development of critical energy projects and other activities under the CWA;
- Prohibit the use and adoption of the Biden Administration’s interim estimates for the “social cost of greenhouse gases” and any other estimates that may raise gasoline prices;
- Codify key elements of the One Federal Decision framework for energy projects, including timely approvals for projects, permitting review schedules for projects that are no longer than two years, and limitations on the page length of environmental documents;
- Grant states the sole authority to promulgate or enforce any regulation, guidance, or permit requirement regarding hydraulic fracturing on or under any land within their boundaries;
- Grant states the right to develop energy resources on the federal lands located within their borders;
- Expedite the approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project within 21 days of enactment;
- Reform the Section 7 consultation process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by shortening consultation timelines from 90 to 60 days;
- Reform the New Source Review (NSR) program under the CAA;
- Clarify existing law to promote timely and thorough consideration of CWA Section 404 permits, and eliminate unfair and confusing permitting actions to support domestic energy production; and
- Strike the statutory mandate under CAA Section 309 that EPA review and comment on newly authorized federal projects for construction or any major federal action that falls under NEPA for environmental review, as well as agency regulations.
ATSDR Publishes Final Toxicological Profiles For Disulfoton, Ethylene Oxide: In August 2022, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published the final Toxicological Profiles for disulfoton and ethylene oxide on its website. Each peer-reviewed Toxicological Profile reflects a comprehensive and extensive evaluation, summary, and interpretation of available toxicological and epidemiological information on a substance. The Toxicological Profiles include minimal risk levels (MRL), an estimate of the amount of a chemical a person can eat, drink, or breathe each day without a detectable risk to health. ATSDR develops MRLs for health effects other than cancer.
NHTSA Intends To Prepare EIS For MYs 2027 And Beyond CAFÉ Standards And MYs 2027 And Beyond Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks And Vans Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Improvement Program Standards: On August 16, 2022, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the potential environmental impacts of new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for model years (MY) 2027 and beyond passenger cars and light trucks and new fuel efficiency (FE) standards for MYs 2029 and beyond heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans. 87 Fed. Reg. 50386. The notice initiates the process for determining the scope of considerations to be addressed in the EIS and for identifying any significant environmental matters related to the proposed action. NHTSA invites comments from federal, state, and local agencies, Indian tribes, stakeholders, and the public in this scoping process to help identify and focus any matters of environmental significance and reasonable alternatives to be examined in the EIS. Scoping comments are due September 15, 2022.
EPA Calls For Nominations For 2023 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards: On August 18, 2022, EPA announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2023 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards from companies or institutions that have developed a new green chemistry process or product that helps protect human health and the environment. The awards again include a category to recognize technology that reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. EPA will hold a webinar on September 28, 2022, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. (EDT) to educate stakeholders on the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards and the nomination process. Registration for the webinar is open. Nominations are due to EPA by December 9, 2022. More information is available in our August 18, 2022, blog item.
CDC Publishes New Visual Guide For National Report On Human Exposure To Environmental Chemicals: On August 19, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new visual guide for the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Report). The Report is a series of ongoing assessments of the U.S. population’s exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. The visual guide illustrates which biomarker groups are reported in the Report. According to CDC, the visual guide can assist scientists, public health officials, physicians, and others on available exposure information in the Report.
EPA And Government Of Flanders, Belgium, Pledge To Share Information On PFAS And Other Fluorocarbon Chemicals: On August 24, 2022, EPA announced that its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) with representatives from the government of Flanders, Belgium, pledging to share publicly available information on enforcement and compliance assurance issues related to PFAS and other fluorocarbon chemicals. According to EPA, the participants intend to cooperate bilaterally in the exchange of publicly available, non-privileged information and enforcement and compliance assurance experiences regarding PFAS and other fluorocarbon chemicals. Specific areas of cooperation on information sharing related to environmental enforcement and compliance assurance in the SOI include addressing PFAS and other fluorocarbon chemicals as they relate to enforcement and compliance of water issues, waste management and soil remediation, innovative approaches to clean up and contaminated site revitalization, and air quality management. The SOI also details areas of cooperation to promote innovation through enforcement and compliance assurance with respect to environmental treatment and technologies for PFAS and other fluorocarbon chemicals.
ASTM Subcommittee Will Develop Standards On PFAS In Consumer Products: ASTM has announced that a new subcommittee will develop standards on PFAS that are present in consumer products. The new subcommittee (F15.81) will operate under the jurisdiction of ASTM’s consumer products committee (F15). According to ASTM, the new subcommittee “will develop standards that provide guidance on how to prepare and analyze a wide variety of consumer product samples for PFAS.” More information is available in our September 6, 2022, blog item.
EPA SAB Requests Public Nominations Of Scientific Experts To Form Panel To Review Updated EJScreen Methodology: On August 30, 2022, EPA requested public nominations of scientific experts to form a panel to review the updated EJScreen methodology. 87 Fed. Reg. 52968. EJScreen is an EJ mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationwide consistent approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators to identify areas with potential EJ concerns. The SAB EJScreen Review Panel will consider the EJScreen methodology and updated calculations for the EJ indexes released publicly in 2022, as well as other aspects of the calculations. The Panel will also be asked to provide recommendations and expert input on other components of the tool. Nominations are due September 20, 2022.
OSHA Postpones Stakeholder Meeting On PSM Standard: On August 30, 2022, OSHA invited interested parties to participate in an informal stakeholder meeting concerning the rulemaking project for its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, at which OSHA will provide a brief overview of its work on the PSM rulemaking project to date. 87 Fed. Reg. 53020. The meeting will feature a brief presentation from OSHA on the background of the PSM standard and some of the issues outlined in the Federal Register notice. According to information on OSHA’s website, OSHA is postponing the stakeholder meeting due to a scheduling conflict.
USDA’s APHIS Announces New Microbes Q&A And Updated Confirmation Request Guidance: On September 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the availability of two new resources to answer stakeholder questions regarding the revised biotechnology regulations under 7 C.F.R. Part 340:
- “Questions & Answers — Working with Microorganisms Developed Using Genetic Engineering Under 7 CFR part 340”: The Q&A cover topics such as what microorganisms are regulated, permit requirements, permit exemptions, and how to contact APHIS and what information to provide; and
- Updated Confirmation Request Guidance: The updated guidance provides clarification on preparing and submitting requests to APHIS to confirm a modified plant qualifies for an exemption and is not subject to the regulations in 7 C.F.R. Part 340, including information on how APHIS treats off-target modifications when considering confirmation requests.
These resources, along with other information on the revised biotechnology regulations, are available on the APHIS website. For additional questions regarding the regulation of modified microorganisms, contact APHIS at email@example.com. For questions regarding confirmation requests, contact APHIS at BRS.ConfirmationRequest@usda.gov.
EPA And Japan’s MOE Release Joint Statement On Continued Bilateral Environmental Cooperation: EPA announced on September 2, 2022, that EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and Minister of the Environment (MOE) Japan Nishimura Akihiro met in Tokyo, Japan, for a high-level bilateral dialogue. The discussion included priorities for continued international, regional, and bilateral cooperation on environmental protection on climate change and decarbonization; marine litter and circular economy; chemical management; and environmental education and youth.
EPA Selects Recipients Of Nearly $12 Million In P2 Grants Funded By The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: EPA announced on September 8, 2022, that it selected 39 recipients that will receive nearly $12 million in pollution prevention (P2) grants made possible by President Joseph Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $100 million program investment. According to EPA, the grants will allow states and Tribes to provide businesses with technical assistance to help them develop and adopt P2 practices to prevent or reduce pollution before it is even created, while also reducing business and liability costs. Proposed projects include reducing PFAS contamination in food packaging and food waste recycling streams, increasing awareness of green cleaning chemicals in businesses and schools, and helping underserved communities implement P2 best practices to reduce waste and emissions from industrial plants. More information is in our September 14, 2022, blog item.
ACGIH® Updates Under Study Lists: The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances (TLV®-CS) Committee and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI®) Committee have updated their 2022 lists of chemical substances and other issues under study. Tier 1 lists the chemical substances and physical agents that may move forward as a notice of intended change (NIC) or notice of intent to establish (NIE) in the upcoming year, based on their status in the development process. Tier 2 consists of those chemical substances and physical agents that will not move forward, but will either remain on or be removed from the under study list for the next year. If a substance is included on the 2023 under study list, stakeholders will have an opportunity to submit substantive data and comments. The TLV®-CS Committee’s and BEI® Committee’s under study lists are available online.
District Court Issues Opinion In Case Challenging EPA’s Amended FOIA Regulations: On September 12, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in Ecological Rts. Found. v. EPA (No. 19-2181). The Ecological Rights Foundation and other entities challenged the 2019 amendments to EPA’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations. The court granted summary judgment to EPA to dismiss certain claims and will remand another claim without vacatur. The dismissed claims include challenges to the centralization of EPA’s FOIA intake procedures; EPA’s decision to allow the Administrator to make initial determinations on FOIA requests and to bar the appeal of those determinations; and EPA’s promulgation of the 2019 amendments without notice and comment. The court remanded to EPA the challenge to 40 C.F.R. Section 2.103(b) to the extent that the regulation purports to allow EPA officials to withhold portions of responsive records on the ground that those portions are non-responsive to the FOIA request. This claim will be remanded to EPA without vacatur for proposed modification to Section 2.103(b).
State Department Will Hold Joint U.S. Stakeholder Meeting On Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group To Establish A Science-Policy Panel: The U.S. Department of State (State Department) will hold a joint meeting from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on September 22, 2022, to discuss United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 5/8 and the related upcoming first session of the ad hoc open-ended working group on a science-policy panel (SPP) to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste. Industry and environmental NGO stakeholders who would like to participate in the joint meeting on September 22, 2022, should e-mail Ryann Howard by 10:00 a.m. (EDT) on September 22, 2022. This meeting is for U.S. stakeholders only and is not open to non-U.S. organizations, companies, or individuals. More information is available in our September 15, 2022, blog item.
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