Federal/EPA Regulatory Policy

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Seeks Input From Small Businesses," Chemical Processing, August 1, 2022.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited on July 6, 2022, small businesses to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel. The EPA seeks self-nominations directly from entities that may be subject to the rule requirements; self-nominations were due July 20, 2022. The panel focuses on the agency’s proposed rule to collect data to inform each step of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation and risk management process. Participating in the SBAR, or at least tracking its activities and engaging as much as possible, is encouraged. The reasons for engagement are discussed in this article.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "How does a recent Supreme Court ruling apply to the EPA’s implementation of TSCA?," Chemical Watch, July 27, 2022.

Since the US Supreme Court issued its blockbuster ruling in West Virginia v EPA, 597 US _ 2022 WL 2347278 (30 June 2022), many are asking whether the Court’s amplification of the 'major questions doctrine' (MQD) might be used to seek to limit the US EPA’s authority in implementing Congress’s 2016 amendments to TSCA, the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg). Lynn L Bergeson, managing partner of the law firm Bergeson & Campbell, says there's little doubt that West Virginia v EPA will be used to seek to limit the agency's authority in implementing the 2016 amendments to the law. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Chemical Compliance: Get Ready For Superfund Excise Tax," Chemical Processing, June 22, 2022.

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), reinstating the Superfund excise tax on certain chemical substances under Sections 4661 and 4671 of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code). Effective July 1, 2022, the tax many were glad to see expire is back; the first deposit of the tax is due on July 29, 2022. This article discusses the tax and the challenges it poses.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Environmental Justice and Enforcement in America: what investors need to know," Financier Worldwide, July 2022.

By any standard, federal enforcement of environmental laws in the US has been uneven, to say the least. The prevailing perception is that democrats are ‘greener’ than are republicans when it comes to environmental enforcement. The data is quite scattered, however, and it would seem no party has cornered the environmental protection market. The Trump administration may be the exception that proves the rule.

Most would agree civil and criminal enforcement case numbers were significantly below those of other administrations, all by design. A raft of other actions taken by the Trump administration crystallised that environmental enforcement was definitely not top of mind. Priorities today are decidedly different, and investors need to know the implications of the Biden administration’s commitment to the twin goals of environmental protection and environmental justice. This article explores these topics.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Isn’t It Ironic?," American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) Blog, January 25, 2022.

The Biden Administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is laser focused on achieving several “whole-of-government” priorities: addressing climate change, identifying and giving environmental justice greater consideration in decision-making, and following the science wherever it may lead. Knowing and respecting leadership in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) tasked with achieving these laudable yet daunting objectives, there is no question the commitment is genuine. It is ironic, however, that EPA is applying the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in ways that are counterproductive to achieving these goals.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Environmental Protection: Infrastructure Law Benefits Chemical Industry," Chemical Processing, December 14, 2021.

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). The House passed the bill on November 5, 2021, by a vote of 228 to 206, and the Senate passed the bill on August 10, 2021, by a vote of 69 to 30. The bill provides a $1.2-trillion infusion of cash into the economy and contains many provisions important to the chemical processing sector. Highlighted below are some of the provisions in the 1,039-page bill that readers may find interesting.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Straddling digital and environmental goals: tips for investors," Financier Worldwide, January 2022.

The environmental impacts of the digital economy are increasingly the focus of attention and concern. There is no question the demand for electricity, water and land have increased sharply in response to the growth in digital activity. Identifying, quantifying and mitigating environmental and ecological impacts are core to value creation, and investors must be mindful of how a company is positioned to create value while avoiding public rebuke for neglecting to account for the environmental impacts of greatly increased digital activity.

This article explores the digital economy, the growing set of metrics used to assess environmental sustainability in a digital economy, the tools companies are using to improve efficiency, lessen environmental impacts and increase supply chain transparency and traceability, and tips for investors in assessing a company’s environmental awareness of the impacts of greatly increased digital activity.

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.

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