Federal/EPA Regulatory Policy

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Expands TRI Reporting Rules," Chemical Processing, May 17, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 29, 2021, that it will be “taking important steps under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to advance environmental justice, improve transparency, and increase access to environmental information.” The EPA plans to expand the scope of TRI reporting requirements to cover additional chemicals and facilities, including those not currently reporting ethylene oxide (EtO) releases. The agency also announced enhancements to its TRI reporting tools, but this article will focus on the chemical expansion effort and why it is significant.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Eyes Stricter Phosphogypsum Rule," Chemical Processing, April 21, 2021.

In early April, a Florida pond that sits atop phosphogypsum tailings sprung a leak. State authorities scrambled to keep the pond from collapsing and flooding the surrounding area with millions of gallons of contaminated water. This situation likely wasn’t top of mind on February 8, 2021, when a group of environmental protection advocates prepared and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The petition seeks to reverse the EPA’s 1991 “Bevill” regulatory determination excluding phosphogypsum and process wastewater from phosphoric acid production (process wastewater) from hazardous waste regulation under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The timing of the Florida near-catastrophe could not be more ironic.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The importance of regulatory diligence in funding," Financier Worldwide, April 2021.

Lawyers counselling companies in the biotechnology, biopesticide and related crop protection and industrial biotechnology areas appreciate the critically important role federal agencies play in ensuring the success of start-up businesses.

Federal agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others, wield enormous power over businesses that require premarket product approval. While we product approval practitioners know this, it comes as a bit of a surprise when investors, poised to make multimillion-dollar investments in start-up businesses, neglect to focus on the regulatory integrity of the start-up. This lack of focus invites costly mistakes. This article explains why, and how to avoid making these mistakes.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "What Might EHS Expect from the Biden EPA?," EHS Daily Advisor, March 10, 2021.

As a new administration arrives in Washington, D.C., few things are certain except that 2021 is sure to be an eventful year.

While underlying partisan jockeying and prospects for bipartisan cooperation will greatly affect what may happen in the more limited context of chemical regulation, the Biden administration has already laid out priorities on the environment that will surely influence the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) positions on climate change, the role of science, and regulation in general.

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. and Jeffery T. Morris, Ph.D., "Why the US EPA can, and should, evaluate the risk-reducing role a new chemical may play if allowed on the market," Chemical Watch, February 22, 2021.

In the 21st century, we take as given a continuous stream of new and better products. From electronics to building materials to transportation solutions, the flow of new and better products and applications seems unending. New chemical substances play a fundamental role in creating those products and making existing products better. If the pipeline of new chemicals were closed off, the flow of new products and applications would slow to a trickle and eventually dry up. Modern life as we know it would not exist without the continued invention, production and use of new chemicals.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Pandemic Spurs Enforcement Revisions," Chemical Processing, October 26, 2020.

The White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) issued memorandum M-20-31 on August 31, 2020, on the implementation of Section 6 of Executive Order (EO) 13924, “Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.” This article explains the guidance, why it may prove useful to know about its content, and how to leverage the guidance successfully in future enforcement actions and adjudications.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Axes Temporary Enforcement Lull," Chemical Processing, July 22, 2020.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued in March a temporary enforcement policy relaxing certain compliance obligations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 29, the agency announced an “addendum on termination” that aims to end the policy on August 31, 2020. This column discusses the termination memorandum.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Compliance: Talk To Your Supply Chain," Chemical Processing, May 13, 2020.

Much attention now focuses on COVID-19 and subsequent supply chain disruptions; here, we tackle supply chain communications and ways to optimize them. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires such communications, as do evolving best business practices. Managing supply chain communications effectively, and strategically optimizing the commercial interactions and exchanges of information they elicit are essential business practices.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Risk evaluations under TSCA: The state of play," Specialty Chemicals Magazine, December 2019/January 2020.

Among the changes when the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century, also known as Lautenberg or ‘new TSCA’, none is more consequential than the requirement that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct risk evaluations for ‘high priority’ chemical substances. We are now three years into new TSCA and this is being done, amid spirited debate and, inevitably, litigation.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Issues New Accidental Release Rule," Chemical Processing, December 20, 2019.

On November 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on final changes to the risk management program (RMP) rule, most recently amended in January 2017. The regulations were promulgated under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) when the law was amended in 1990. This section is intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of accidental chemical releases. A need to prevent or minimize the catastrophic consequences of accidental chemical release is a point few would argue. How best to “prevent or minimize,” however, has evoked exhausting debate and legal wrangling. This column summarizes key changes in the reissued final rule.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "SEC Proposes Changes To Reporting Rules," Chemical Processing, October 16, 2019.

Publicly traded companies must disclose certain legal proceedings and risk factors in registration statements and in annual and quarterly reports. These disclosures significantly help investors in assessing the financial integrity of a publicly traded company; formulating a disclosure precisely is critical to compliance, while at the same time accurately capturing the nature and extent of the potential risks. This article summarizes this Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule, which is intended to modernize the Regulation S-K obligations, particularly as they relate to environmental disclosures, and discusses the unique challenges these reporting obligations impose on the chemical industry.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Expert Focus: TSCA and Liability under the False Claims Act – a Potentially Promising Area," Chemical Watch, July 26, 2019.

A federal appellate court recently decided a case brought under the FCA’s reverse false claims provision premised on alleged non-compliance with a TSCA reporting obligation. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP v. BASF Corp. As discussed in this article, while the court dismissed the case, it did so for fact-specific reasons and creative plaintiff lawyers can be expected to rely upon the FCA in the future to bring actions based on other TSCA provisions.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "USDA Enhances Biobased Procurement Program," Chemical Processing, July 16, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule on July 5, 2019, amending its “Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement” to include 30 more product categories for biobased products that may receive procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors. These 30 product categories contain finished products made, in large part, from intermediate ingredients designated for federal procurement preference. This article explains why Chemical Processing readers should note this important development.

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

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