Lautenberg Implementation

Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., et al, "Compilation Memorandum regarding the GCSE Plastics Reports: France and the United States: Comparative Law Analysis and Recommendations Regarding Plastic Waste," Global Council for Science and the Environment, May 15, 2022.

In February 2022, France and the United States announced their commitment to protect our shared environment for future generations against the harm resulting plastic pollution.Both nations stated their united recognition of the transboundary impacts of plastic pollution and the importance of mitigating plastic waste at its source. On March 2, 2022, as reported by the 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNAE-5.2) in Nairobi, both France and the United States, along with 173 other nations, adopted a Resolution to End Plastic Pollution with an international legally binding agreement by 2024, with discussions beginning in 2022. Significantly, the Resolution to End Plastic Pollution defines “plastic waste” to include “microplastic.” Building upon the historic collaboration between France and the United States regarding plastic waste and learning from the contrasts in their governmental structures and approaches to environmental regulation, this French and United States Comparative Law Analysis and Recommendations Regarding Plastic Waste is offered for use by policy makers in the upcoming negotiations regarding the global plastic waste treaty.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Targets Asbestos," Chemical Processing, May 15, 2022.

On May 6, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed reporting and recordkeeping requirements for asbestos under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Unsurprisingly, the proposed requirements are extensive and tough.  This article provides a summary.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): One Size Does Not Fit All," Chemical Processing, February 27, 2022.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are getting a lot of attention in the United States and globally. Their varied chemical properties make the categorization of “PFAS” into a single category chemically and scientifically questionable. Increasingly, the ability to make distinctions among this large chemical category is challenging, yet failure to do so could be unwise. This article provides information on PFAS, and offers a few suggestions to keep in mind when making business decisions.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "PFAS: making sound investment decisions," Financier Worldwide, March 2022.

The ubiquity of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the manufacturing sector’s decades-long reliance on them to impart functionalities in a dizzying array of products put the investor between the proverbial rock and a hard place. PFAS varied chemical properties make the broad categorisation of ‘PFAS’ into a monolithic category of ‘forever chemicals’ chemically and scientifically questionable.

For better or worse, however, that is exactly what is happening today, and distinguishing between commercially promising and commercially risky PFAS chemicals is challenging. Yet, the ability to make this distinction could be the difference between a great investment and a commercially disastrous one. This article explores this difficult assessment, provides essential information on PFAS, and offers some suggestions to avoid making bad investment decisions.

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, "Toxic Substances: EPA Targets Asbestos," Chemical Processing, January 23, 2022.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has long been considered the “poster child” of failure as a chemical control law when it comes to asbestos regulation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its latest approach to regulating “legacy” uses may well invite heightened scrutiny. The EPA announced in December the availability of the Draft Scope of the Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 2. In it, the agency will evaluate conditions of use of asbestos were excluded from Part 1 as legacy uses and associated disposals, and use conditions of asbestos in talc and talc-containing products. This article summarizes the EPA’s approach.

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, "Supply-Chain Aid — EPA Proposes PIP 3:1 Compliance Extension," Chemical Processing, November 22, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on October 21 that it intends to move further back the compliance dates related to articles containing phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) to ensure supply chains for key consumer and commercial goods are not disrupted. The agency proposed extending the compliance date until October 31, 2024, along with the associated recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers, processors and distributors of PIP (3:1)-containing articles. This article discusses this important development.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Goes Back To The Drawing Board On Toxic Substances," Chemical Processing, September 15, 2021.

The implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provisions relating to regulating persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals has been anything but smooth. On September 3, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it intends to initiate new PBT rulemaking and anticipates proposing new rules for five PBT chemicals subject to final risk management rules under TSCA Section 6(h). Additionally, and happily, the agency extended the compliance dates for the prohibitions on processing and distribution and the associated recordkeeping requirements of one of these PBT chemicals, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)). The action was imperative as EPA’s earlier-issued “No Action Assurance” (NAA) lapsed on September 4, 2021. This article provides key points related to this complicated area of TSCA regulation.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "PFAS: Is Anything Not Reportable?," Chemical Processing, July 19, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 10, 2021, three actions intended to protect communities from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as covered in July’s column “EPA Announces Blockbuster PFAS Actions.” This column focuses on one of them: an ambitious proposal intended to obtain comprehensive data on more than 1,000 PFAS manufactured in or imported into the United States. As discussed in this article, the proposal’s scope is enormous.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Avoiding costly supply chain disruption: a cautionary tale," Financier Worldwide, July 2021.

By any independent standard, the US electronics industry is huge – it was worth over $300bn in 2019 – and growing annually. Would it surprise you to know that as big, essential and powerful as it is, a single rule issued in January of this year by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly brought this sector to a halt? To this day, the rule is causing extraordinary disruption as electric and electronic device manufacturers, importers, processors, distributors and others scramble to adjust in its aftermath. This article tells the cautionary tale of PIP (3:1). This sad and largely avoidable tale crystalises the importance of understanding the long reach of the US industrial chemical control law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and its seemingly limitless potential for disrupting global supply chains.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Announces Blockbuster PFAS Actions," Chemical Processing, June 23, 2021.

When it comes to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not messing around. The agency announced on June 10, 2021, three actions intended to protect communities from PFAS. This article summarizes the actions.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The essential role of evolving technologies in securing a safe and sustainable food supply," The International Bar Association, June 1, 2021.

Emerging tools enabled by nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and other innovative technologies are today increasingly supplementing the ploughs and tractors so emblematic of the agricultural community of the past. These precision farming tools are ensuring a sustainable food supply otherwise threatened by climate change and population growth, among other global challenges, while diminishing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Genetically modified E coli is being used to produce synthetically-derived pheromones, substances beneficially used in agricultural applications to attract, capture, and eliminate harmful pests. Agricultural stakeholders use nanopesticides and nanofertilisers in drought-stricken regions, minimising the need for more conventional and environmentally consequential agricultural chemicals. GPS-based auto-steering systems for tractors augment human labour, freeing up effort better spent on other tasks. These technologies enable global agricultural professionals to address the climate change imperatives which threaten an increasingly fragile global food supply.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "TSCA: A change of course," Specialty Chemicals Magazine , May/June 2021.

Just as the industrial chemical community was getting into a predictable, somewhat comfortable groove regarding commercializing new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to blow up the process. With it went any hope for business certainty in this highly volatile regulatory area.  While new administrations are entitled to shape policies to align with their agendas, the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind the new chemicals policies bodes badly for chemical innovation at the very time new, sustainable chemical innovations are most needed.  This article explains why the new chemicals policies portend major delays.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The TSCA under the Biden administration: what to expect," Environmental Law & Management, Volume 31, Issue 6, 2019.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) will be busy in 2021. Implementation of the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will continue to dominate the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). In 2021, the EPA will need to complete outstanding risk evaluators of the 'first 10' chemicals and begin developing proposals for the section 6 risk management rules necessitated by the risk evaluations' conclusions. Given the tight statutory deadline for issuing proposed risk management rules, the complexity of the issues and the novelty of applying the new regulatory authorities, risk management decisions will likely present daunting challenges to the EPA as it sorts through the many legal and evolving policy issues at play. The EPA also now has four manufacture-requested risk evaluations that will parallel the 'next 20' chemicals for review. The change in administration makes the next four years especially 'unpredictable', not a word the business community welcomes.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "The New Toxic Substances Control Act is Now Five Years Old: A Report Card - It Is a Mixed Bag, but We Are Getting There," The Debate, from ELI The Environmental Forum , May/June 2021.

June 22 of this year will mark the fifth anniversary since President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Popularly still known by the name of the 40-year-old statute it replaced, the new version of the Toxic Substances Control Act had a vision to follow in reforming a system for evaluating and regulating chemicals in commerce that everyone, from industry to green NGOs to government officials, agreed was weak and ineffective. The new TSCA, promising to fix a broken statute, received bipartisan support and was the first major environmental law in a quarter century.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Better Understand TSCA’s Long Reach," Chemical Processing, March 14, 2021.

If anyone on planet Earth thinks the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended, is not commercially consequential, think again. The implementation of the 2016 amendments by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is triggering tremendous commercial disruption. The EPA’s March 8, 2021, announcement seeking comment on five final rules for persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals issued on January 6, 2021, and, importantly, granting a rare “No Action Assurance” regarding the PIP (3:1) rule, is demonstrable proof of TSCA’s enormous reach. The reasons behind this regulatory action are revealing and demonstrate why the PIP (3:1) experience is a cautionary tale.

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, "EPA Orders Testing For Nine Chemicals," Chemical Processing, February 21, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on January 15, 2021, that it has issued test orders under Section 4 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to obtain additional data on nine of the next 20 chemicals undergoing risk evaluation. Many in the industrial chemical community expect the EPA to use its TSCA testing authority much more in the coming years. The January orders seem to confirm that expectation. This article discusses the significance of the action.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Environmental Justice: Operationalizing TSCA to Fulfill Its Destiny," American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) Blog, February 4, 2021.

The Biden Administration has embraced environmental justice with unprecedented gusto.  In its July 2020 Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity (Plan), the Biden Administration sets out in broad terms how it intends to use an “All-of-Government” approach to “rooting out systemic racism in our laws, policies, institutions, and hearts.”

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Proposes Revisions To TSCA Fees Rule," Chemical Processing, January 19, 2021.

On January 11, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the 2018 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) fees rule. This column discusses the proposal and its improvements to the rule.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Fee Controversy Continues," Chemical Processing, December 16, 2020.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect fees from chemical manufacturers (including importers) to defray a portion of the costs associated with TSCA implementation efforts. The TSCA fees rule requires payment for eight categories of fee-triggering events under TSCA, including EPA-initiated risk evaluations under TSCA Section 6. The EPA must prepare a preliminary list of manufacturers subject to fee obligations for EPA-initiated Section 6 risk assessments, which it did (see, “Are You on the List?” and “EPA Tells Businesses to Pay Up”). Since then, who pays for what has led to significant controversy. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Announces Carbon Tetrachloride Risks," Chemical Processing, November 20, 2020.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final risk evaluation for carbon tetrachloride on November 4, 2020. The EPA found unreasonable risks to workers and occupational non-users (ONU) for 13 of the 15 conditions of CCl4 use, but no unreasonable risks to the environment. According to the EPA, there are no consumer uses of this chemical. Most agree the findings are not unexpected. This article explains the assessment and the results.

Lynn L. Bergeson and Eve C. Gartner, "The essentials of TSCA practice," ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Trends, November/December 2020.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is not the arcane federal law it once was. Amended in 2016 in response to a demand so loud and persistent from nongovernmental organizations, consumers, and, eventually, the industrial chemical community that Congress could no longer ignore it, TSCA is now a force with which to be reckoned. While the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Act that amended TSCA invites criticism among stakeholders, there is no disagreement that today TSCA is a more consequential law, deserving of legal practitioners’ attention.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Tells Businesses To Pay Up," Chemical Processing, September 16, 2020.

On August 26, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the much-anticipated interim final list of businesses subject to risk evaluation fees for the 20 chemicals designated as “high priority” under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Making the interim final list available now gives businesses and other stakeholders an opportunity to review the list for accuracy. It also provides time for businesses to reach out to form consortia to share in fee payments. That is a fancy way of saying the race is on to try to get off the list or find others to share in the not-so-trivial cost of $1.35 million — the EPA’s fee for work on the risk evaluation.

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