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March 15, 2024

Recent Federal Developments for March 2024

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.


EPA Extends Submission Deadline For Polymer Exemption Reports And Accompanying Claims: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule on February 16, 2024, amending the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations for polymers manufactured under the terms of the polymer exemption by extending the submission deadline for reporting. 89 Fed. Reg. 12248. EPA notes that the regulations require that manufacturers (includes importers) of polymers manufactured under the terms of the exemption submit a report of manufacture or import by January 31 of the year subsequent to initial manufacture. EPA states that on June 7, 2023, it amended the exemption reporting requirement to require that the exemption report and accompanying confidentiality claims be submitted electronically. Because EPA experienced technical difficulties with the launch of the new electronic reporting tool, EPA is extending the reporting period for 2024 from January 31, 2024, to March 31, 2024, to allow manufacturers additional time to submit their reports and accompanying claims to EPA using the electronic reporting tool. The final rule was effective February 16, 2024. More information on EPA’s June 7, 2023, final rule with new and amended requirements concerning the assertion and treatment of confidential business information (CBI) claims for information reported to or otherwise obtained by EPA under TSCA is available in our June 12, 2023, memorandum. More information on the submission deadline is available in our February 16, 2024, memorandum.

EPA Announces Latest Update To The TSCA Inventory: On February 20, 2024, EPA announced that it has released the latest TSCA Inventory. EPA states that the TSCA Inventory contains 86,741 chemicals of which 42,293 are active in U.S commerce. Since the last update in August 2023, EPA has moved approximately 900 chemicals to the public portion from the confidential portion. EPA plans the next regular update of the Inventory for summer 2024. More information is available in our February 22, 2024, blog item.

EPA Amends TSCA Fees Rule: On February 21, 2024, EPA amended the 2018 final rule that established fees for the administration of TSCA. 89 Fed. Reg. 12961. The final rule includes changes to the fee amounts and EPA’s total costs for administering TSCA; exemptions for entities subject to the EPA-initiated risk evaluation fees; exemptions for test rule fee activities; modifications to the self-identification and reporting requirements of EPA-initiated risk evaluation and test rule fees; modifications to EPA’s proposed methodology for the production-volume-based fee allocation for EPA-initiated risk evaluation fees in any scenario in which a consortium is not formed; expanded fee requirements to companies required to submit information for test orders; modifications to the fee payment obligations of processors subject to test orders and enforceable consent agreements (ECA); and extended timeframes for certain fee payments and notices. The final rule will be effective April 22, 2024. More information is available in our February 14, 2024, memorandum.

EPA’s February 21, 2024, Webinar On NAMs Included Case Study Using Branched Carboxylic Acids: In collaboration with the PETA Science Consortium International (PSCI), the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), EPA held a webinar onFebruary 21, 2024, on the use of new approach methodologies (NAM) or alternative methods to testing on vertebrate animals for chemical risk assessments. The presenters for the webinar, Establishing Confidence in New Approach Methodologies (NAMs): An ICCVAM Report and a Case Study Using Branched Carboxylic Acids, were Elijah Petersen, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Corie Ellison, Ph.D., Procter and Gamble.

EPA Accepting Comments On Candidates For Peer Review Of Formaldehyde: On February 28, 2024, EPA announced that it is seeking public comment on the candidates under consideration for selection as ad hoc peer reviewers to assist the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) with its peer review of the Agency’s evaluation of the risks from formaldehyde being conducted to inform risk management decisions under TSCA. 89 Fed. Reg. 14648. The SACC peer review will take place during a four-day public meeting in May 2024. EPA states in its February 29, 2024, press release that it is specifically seeking SACC’s feedback on EPA’s data analyses and methodologies relevant to human health and ecological hazard. Biographies for all candidates are available via docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2023-0613. Comments on the candidates were due March 14, 2024.

EPA Seeks Nominations For Ad Hoc Reviewers To Assist SACC With Peer Reviewing DIDP: On February 29, 2024, EPA requested public nominations of scientific and technical experts for service as ad hoc reviewers assisting SACC with the peer review of the Agency’s evaluation of the risks from di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) being conducted to inform risk management decisions under TSCA. 89 Fed. Reg. 14836. EPA states that it is planning to convene a virtual public meeting of SACC in summer 2024 to review the draft risk evaluations. According to EPA, at that time, EPA will solicit comments from SACC on the novel approaches used, the unique exposure analyses and other calculations, and selection of key hazard endpoints. Nominations are due April 1, 2024.

EPA OIG Will Begin Audit Of EPA’s FYs 2022 And 2021 TSCA Service Fee Fund Financial Statements: EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced on March 5, 2024, that it plans to begin its required audit of EPA’s fiscal years (FY) 2022 and 2021 financial statements for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act Service Fee Fund. OIG states that the audit is part of OIG’s oversight plan for FY 2024 and is required by TSCA, as amended. The audit also addresses the following FY 2024 top management challenges for EPA: managing grants, contracts, and data systems.

EPA Announces Settlement With Haifa North America To Resolve Alleged TSCA Reporting Violations: On March 6, 2024, EPA announced a settlement requiring Haifa North America, Inc. (Haifa) to pay a civil penalty of $664,267 “for violations of chemical data reporting regulations under [TSCA].” EPA states that it alleged that Haifa failed to submit a data report required under TSCA for 32 chemical substances that Haifa had imported between 2016 and 2019. EPA notes that companies are required to provide information on the chemicals they manufacture or import into the United States for commercial purposes. More information is available in our March 12, 2024, blog item.

EPA Publishes Draft Risk Evaluation For Formaldehyde: EPA announced on March 15, 2024, the availability of and solicited public comment on the 2024 draft risk evaluation for formaldehyde prepared under TSCA. 89 Fed. Reg. 18933. EPA will submit the draft risk evaluation to SACC for peer review. EPA also announced that there will be two virtual public meetings of SACC. SACC will consider and review the draft risk evaluation at a four-day virtual peer review public meeting that will be held May 20-23, 2024. A virtual preparatory public meeting will be held May 7, 2024, for SACC to consider the scope and clarity of the draft charge questions for the peer review. EPA will make online registration available for the May 7, 2024, meeting in April 2024. According to EPA, to request time to present oral comments during the virtual preparatory public meeting, registration must be completed by 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on May 3, 2024. For those not making oral comments during the virtual preparatory public meeting, registration will remain open through the end of the meeting. Online registration for the virtual peer review public meeting will be available beginning in April 2024. To make oral comments during the virtual peer review public meeting and be included on the meeting agenda, registration must be completed by 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on May 13, 2024. For those not making oral comments, registration for this meeting will remain open through the last day of the meeting. Written comments on the draft risk evaluation are due May 14, 2024. More information on the draft risk evaluation will be available in a forthcoming memorandum.


EPA Requests Public Input For Charge Questions To e-Manifest Advisory Board: On February 21, 2024, EPA requested input for potential charge questions that the Agency could consider when consulting the e-Manifest Advisory Board regarding the operations of EPA’s hazardous waste electronic manifest system (e-Manifest). 89 Fed. Reg. 13080. EPA states that relevant topics could include matters related to the operational activities, functions, policies, and regulations of EPA under the e-Manifest Act. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide recommendations to the EPA Administrator on matters related to the e-Manifest program activities, functions, policies, and regulations of EPA under the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act. EPA consults the Advisory Board at least annually. Advisory Board charge recommendations are due March 22, 2024.

EPA Enforcement Alert States That Violations At Petroleum Refineries And Ethylene Plants Cause Excess Benzene And Other VOC Emissions In Nearby Communities: EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) published a February 2024 Enforcement Alert entitled “Violations at Petroleum Refineries and Ethylene Plants Cause Excess Benzene and Other VOC Emissions in Nearby Communities.” According to the Enforcement Alert, EPA and state environmental agencies “continue to identify common noncompliance of Clean Air Act regulations that are causing excess emissions of benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from petroleum refineries, chemical plants, including ethylene plants, and coke byproduct recovery plants.” EPA notes that these facilities are required to comply with “longstanding requirements,” including the National Emission Standard for Benzene Waste Operations at 40 C.F.R. Part 61, Subpart FF (BWON) and, in addition for refineries, New Source Performance Standards for VOCs from Petroleum Wastewater Systems at 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart QQQ (NSPS QQQ). The BWON regulation also applies to hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste generated by these three types of facilities. According to the Enforcement Alert, EPA investigations of petroleum refineries have identified BWON and NSPS QQQ requirements as areas of common noncompliance, and EPA investigations of ethylene plants are also identifying noncompliance with BWON requirements. EPA published the Enforcement Alert to remind owners and operators of these facilities of the importance of compliance with these requirements. EPA states that “[f]ailure to comply could result in excess emissions of benzene and other VOCs and could result in an enforcement action assessing significant penalties for noncompliance.”

PHMSA Amends HMR To “Update, Clarify, Improve The Safety Of, Or Streamline” Various Regulatory Requirements: On March 4, 2024, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) amended the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), to update, clarify, improve the safety of, or streamline various regulatory requirements. 89 Fed. Reg. 15636. Specifically, according to PHMSA, the rulemaking responds to 18 petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community between May 2018 and October 2020 that request PHMSA address a variety of provisions, including but not limited to those addressing packaging, hazard communication, and the incorporation by reference of certain documents. PHMSA states that the revisions “maintain or enhance the existing high level of safety under the HMR while providing clarity and appropriate regulatory flexibility in the transport of hazardous materials.” The final rule will be effective April 3, 2024. The delayed compliance date is March 4, 2025. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the final rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of April 3, 2024.

EPA Revises PM NAAQS: On March 6, 2024, based on its reconsideration of the air quality criteria and the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM), EPA revised the primary annual PM2.5 standard by lowering the level from 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) to 9.0 µg/m3. 89 Fed. Reg. 16202. EPA retained the current primary 24-hour PM2.5 standard and the primary 24-hour PM10 standard. EPA notes that it also is not changing the secondary 24-hour PM2.5 standard, secondary annual PM2.5 standard, and secondary 24-hour PM10 standard at this time. EPA amended other key aspects related to the PM NAAQS, including revisions to the Air Quality Index (AQI) and monitoring requirements for the PM NAAQS. The final rule will be effective May 6, 2024.

EPA Amends RMP Requirements To Protect At-Risk Communities From Chemical Accidents: On March 11, 2024, EPA issued its “Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Rule” (SCCAP Rule), amending the Risk Management Program (RMP) “to further protect vulnerable communities from chemical accidents, especially those living near facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates.” 89 Fed. Reg. 17622. The rule implements sweeping amendments to the RMP. It reflects the culmination of three public hearings, many comments on EPA’s proposed rule issued in August 2022, and the efforts of many spanning administrations going back to President Obama. EPA notes that the final rule includes new safeguards such as identifying inherently safer technologies and chemical alternatives, requiring implementation of safeguard measures in certain cases, more thorough incident investigations, and third-party auditing. EPA states that these updates “should benefit nearby communities by reducing the frequency of chemical releases and their adverse effects.” The final rule will be effective May 10, 2024. More information is available in our March 5, 2024, memorandum.

PHMSA Announces Third Set Of HMR FAQs For Comment: PHMSA announced on March 13, 2024, that the third set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) based on historical letters of interpretation (LOI) applicable to the HMR is available for comment. 89 Fed. Reg. 18479. The third set of FAQs developed under the initiative concern hazardous materials (hazmat) training requirements. The requirements for hazmat training are outlined under Subpart H to Part 172 of the HMR, specifically, Section 172.700 through Section 172.704. PHMSA states that with the completion of this set of FAQs specific to training requirements, it will begin consideration for its next set of FAQs based on public input received. Future topics may include FAQs pertaining to classification, hazard communication, hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, modal-specific requirements, or packaging. Comments are due April 12, 2024.

EPA Announces Final Amendments To NESHAP For Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilizers: EPA announced on March 14, 2024, final amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilizers. According to EPA’s fact sheet, the final rule requires facilities to install available and proven technologies, practices, and procedures that have been demonstrated to reduce significantly ethylene oxide emissions. The amendments to the NESHAP will:

  • Establish standards for currently unregulated emissions, such as building leaks (“room air emissions”) and chamber exhaust vents, to reduce risk and account for technological developments;
  • Strengthen standards that are on the books for sources such as sterilization chamber vents and aeration room vents;
  • Strengthen compliance by requiring the use of continuous emissions monitoring systems that will provide much-needed assurance to nearby communities;
  • Include definitions for affected sources;
  • Ensure that sterilizers are subject to emission standards during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction; and
  • Clarify other items, including electronic reporting and technical revisions.

According to EPA, the final rule will address emissions at nearly 90 commercial sterilization facilities that are owned and operated by approximately 50 companies. In the final rule, EPA is addressing the second Risk and Technology Review for the ethylene oxide NESHAP, which was initially promulgated in 1994 and last amended in 2001. EPA last reviewed the rule in 2006. The final rule will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

EPA Announces “Commonsense Standards” To Limit Air Toxic Pollution At Gasoline Distribution Facilities: EPA announced on March 14, 2024, its action to reduce toxic air pollution from gasoline distribution facilities, including storage tanks, loading operations, and equipment leaks. EPA states that it expects these rules, which exclude gas stations, to reduce emissions of air toxics, including benzene, hexane, toluene, and xylene, by 2,220 tons per year, and emissions of VOCs by 45,400 tons per year. According to EPA, this action will require gasoline distribution facilities to adopt cost-effective practices and control technologies to reduce emissions from storage tanks, loading operations, and equipment leaks. EPA is issuing final NSPS for Bulk Gasoline Terminals to reflect the best system of emissions reduction for loading operations and equipment leaks. EPA notes that the final action includes revisions related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction; monitoring and operating provisions for control devices; and electronic reporting. The final rule will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


PFAS No Longer Used In Grease-Proofing Products: On February 28, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that grease-proofing substances containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are no longer being sold by manufacturers for food contact use in the U.S. market. This announcement follows a voluntary market phase-out period initiated from a post-market safety assessment conducted by FDA in 2020. FDA conducts post-market safety evaluations to ensure that “risk determinations continue to be accurate and based in the current science.” FDA notes that it first raised safety concerns with certain PFAS in the early 2000s and that certain long-chain compounds used in food contact were discontinued on the U.S. market between 2011 and 2016. Additional information is available at the link here.

FDA Issues Update On Post-Market Assessments Of Chemicals In The Food Supply: On March 4, 2024, FDA issued a Constituent Update that updates its “List of Select Chemicals in the Food Supply Under FDA Review.” FDA states that the intent of this Update is “…to provide more insight on the status of the FDA’s post-market assessments of chemicals in the food supply.” The information posted includes many chemicals that FDA has been actively engaged in reviewing for the past several years. The Update also explains the process FDA undertakes to evaluate risk and includes for each chemical a type, a status, and the location of more information. The type definitions are also provided below the table and list itself. FDA notes that “post-market assessments take time” and that this is one of the key drivers in the establishment of the proposed Unified Human Foods Program, the purpose of which is to transform “the agency to be more efficient, nimble, and ready for the future with the ever-changing and complex industries [it] regulate[s]…”


EC JRC Researchers Author Article On How Nanoparticles Are Counted In Global Regulatory Nanomaterial Definitions: The February 2024 issue of Nature Nanotechnology includes an article entitled “How nanoparticles are counted in global regulatory nanomaterial definitions.” Authored by Kirsten Rasmussen, Juan Riego Sintes, and Hubert Rauscher, European Commission (EC) Joint Research Center (JRC), the article examines differences between the definitions in various jurisdictions and how to achieve a global definition. The jurisdictions reviewed include Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries, the European Union (EU), and other relevant economies. The authors “propose a generalized naming convention that can be applied to any specific definition of nanomaterial.” The authors note that the article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the EC.

NNI Webinar On Nanometrology For Nanoscale Medical And Pharmaceutical Products Held March 1, 2024: The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is organizing a series of National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) webinars on nanometrology, metrological challenges, and recent advances in three topical areas: food, agriculture, and environment; nanoscale medical and pharmaceutical products; and electronics. The third webinar in the series, “Nanoscale Medical and Pharmaceutical Products,” was held March 1, 2024. The webinar addressed measurement challenges in medicine and pharmaceuticals regarding the manufacture, characterization, and targeting of nano-enabled drug products.

NIOSH Highlights 20 Years Of Research On Engineering Controls For Nanotechnology: In a March 4, 2024, blog item entitled “Sweating the Small Stuff: 20 years of NIOSH Research on Engineering Controls for Nanotechnology,” the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) highlighted the control approaches that it has recommended, “based on extensive research on the pharmaceutical, coatings, and cosmetic industries.” According to NIOSH, over the next 20 years, the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) “plans to seek out new industry partners. This continued collaboration will explore exposure challenges and develop cost-effective solutions to the variable landscape of nanomaterials.” More information is available in our March 11, 2024, blog item.

NNI Publishes Supplement To The President’s 2024 Budget Request: On March 5, 2024, NNI published its supplement to the President’s 2024 budget request. The President’s 2024 budget request for NNI supports nanoscale science, engineering, and technology research and development (R&D) at 11 agencies. The supplement provides an overview of the budgets for nanotechnology R&D for 2022 (actual), 2023 (estimated), and 2024 (requested). More information is available in our March 12, 2024, blog item.

White House OSTP Posts Readout Of NNI Symposium Celebrating 20th Anniversary Of The 21st Century Nanotechnology R&D Act: On March 5, 2024, NNI held a symposium entitled “Enabling the Nanotechnology Revolution: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act.” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) posted a readout of the symposium on March 6, 2024. More information is available in our March 13, 2024, blog item.


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Bipartisan CAA Permitting Reform Legislation Introduced In The Senate: On February 28, 2024, Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 3826) to modernize permitting under the Clean Air Act (CAA). According to Cassidy’s February 28, 2024, press release, the Modernizing Clean Air Permitting Act would ensure air quality standards remain above naturally occurring levels, limit future administrations from imposing overly stringent standards, and provide incentives for businesses to implement pollution control technology.

Congress Passes Bipartisan Funding Package: After the House passed a bipartisan package of six FY 2024 appropriations bills (H.R. 4366) by a vote of 339-85 on March 6, 2024, the Senate passed the legislation on March 8, 2024, by a vote of 75-22. The package includes the FY 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. A summary prepared by the Senate Committee on Appropriations states:

The bill provides $9.16 billion to protect essential funding for EPA’s critical responsibilities to protect our environment and public health. The bill maintains current staffing levels across all EPA programs — including in the clean water, clean air, climate, and toxic programs — by keeping all biologists, chemists, researchers, engineers, and other specialists on the job.

The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which provide funding for water and wastewater projects, are funded at the fiscal year 2023 levels. The bill also maintains the Tribal water grant program, rural water grants, and the wildfire smoke grant program at the fiscal year 2023 levels. It also maintains fiscal year 2023 funding for geographic restoration and national estuary programs, helping protect local ecosystems and communities from climate change, habitat loss, and pollution in places like the Puget Sound, Columbia River, Great Lakes, Long Island Sound, and Southern New England Estuaries.

Finally, in combination with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), total Superfund funding for fiscal year 2024 is $3.02 billion, an increase of $1.79 billion above the pre-IIJA and pre-IRA spending level.

The summary prepared by the House Appropriations Committee notes that EPA’s budget is reduced nearly ten percent. President Biden signed the legislation on March 9, 2024.

Legislation To Protect Waters From Plastic Pollution Introduced In The House: On March 12, 2024, Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK) introduced the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act (H.R. 7634) to address plastic pollution in U.S. waterways and along its coasts. According to Levin’s March 13, 2024, press release, the bill would require EPA to issue a rule that prohibits the discharge of plastic pellets and other types of plastic into U.S. waters. The press release states that “[c]urrently, EPA does not have an established federal rule to address plastic pellets specifically, and most states do not have meaningful regulations to combat plastic pollution.”

Bipartisan PFAS R&D Reauthorization Act Would Extend EPA’s Authority Through FY 2029: On March 13, 2024, Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 7675) to reauthorize EPA’s R&D authority with regard to PFAS. Pappas’s March 14, 2024, press release states that EPA’s PFAS research “includes projects to measure PFAS in our air and water, understand the human health impacts of PFAS exposure, and mitigate PFAS contamination in our environment.” According to the press release, EPA’s PFAS R&D authority is currently set to expire at the end of FY 2024. The legislation would reauthorize its R&D authority through the end of FY 2029.

Senate Committee Will Hold Hearing On Examining PFAS As Hazardous Substances: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on March 20, 2024, on “Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances.” The scheduled witness include:

  • Kate R. Bowers, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division, Congressional Research Service;
  • The Honorable James Kenney, Secretary, New Mexico Department of Environment;
  • Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group;
  • Robert Fox, Partner, Manko Gold Katcher Fox, Limited Liability Partnership; and
  • Michael D. Witt, General Counsel, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.


Petitions Filed To Add Caprolactam, Nylon 6, And Iso-Butanol To List Of Chemical Substances Subject To Superfund Excise Tax: On February 22, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it received petitions requesting that caprolactam (89 Fed. Reg. 13400) and nylon 6 (89 Fed. Reg. 13399) be added to the list of taxable substances under Section 4672(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. AdvanSix Inc., an exporter of caprolactam and nylon 6, filed the petitions. Comments and requests for a public hearing are due April 22, 2024. The IRS announced on February 27, 2024, that it received a petition requesting that iso-butanol (also known as isobutanol, iso butyl alcohol, 2-methyl propan-1-ol, or 2-methyl-1-propanol) be added to the list of taxable substances under Section 4672(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. 89 Fed. Reg. 14558. OQ Chemicals Corporation, an exporter of iso-butanol, filed the petition. Written comments and requests for a public hearing are due April 29, 2024.

EDF Releases Chemical Exposure Action Map: On February 22, 2024, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) published a blog item announcing its Chemical Exposure Action Map, a tool “designed to spur [EPA] to transform the assessment of risks posed by toxic chemicals in our communities.” EDF states that the map focuses on multiple high-priority chemicals, highlighting the potential for cumulative risks. EDF notes that when conducting risk assessments under TSCA, EPA typically considers the exposures and risks of one chemical at a time. The Chemical Exposure Action Map “emphasizes the need for a more holistic evaluation that mirrors the real-world scenarios of communities facing exposures from multiple chemicals and various sources.”

EPA Begins Comment Period On Technical Documentation For Framework For Evaluating Damages And Impacts: On February 23, 2024, EPA announced a 30-day public comment period for the Draft Technical Documentation for the Framework for Evaluating Damages and Impacts (FrEDI). 89 Fed. Reg. 13717. EPA states that the document provides technical documentation of a framework used to analyze future climate change-related impacts to the United States, projected to occur across multiple impact sector categories, geographic regions, and populations, under any custom temperature scenario. According to EPA, this approach serves as an alternative or complement to traditional scenario-based approaches to improve communication of results, comparability between studies, and flexibility to facilitate scenario analysis. Comments are due March 25, 2024.

EPA Announces Pollution Prevention In Action: New Webinar Series With OCSPP: On March 1, 2024, EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) announced a new webinar series, “Pollution Prevention in Action.” On the second Wednesday of the month, Jennie Romer, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention, will host webinars featuring businesses, Pollution Prevention grantees, and other experts about innovations and successes in implementing source reduction strategies to advance sustainability across sectors. The webinar series will run through August 2024. EPA has announced the following webinars:

  • April 10, 2024, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (EDT): Moving the Needle on Reuse: Reusable Food Service Ware (Part I); and
  • May 8, 2024, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (EDT): Reducing PFAS in Products: Progress and Challenges.

EPA Establishes Office Of Agriculture And Rural Affairs: On March 1, 2024, EPA announced that it established the first-ever EPA Office of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to expand engagement opportunities with agricultural and rural communities. EPA states that “[i]n close coordination with EPA’s program offices and regions, the office will forge practical, science-based solutions that protect the environment while ensuring a vibrant and productive agricultural system.” The new office will also collaborate with small, underserved towns and rural communities that are seeking federal investments in infrastructure upgrades and other community improvement opportunities. According to EPA, the new office will also facilitate closer coordination with relevant federal and state partners such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FDA, and state departments of agriculture.

Comments Regarding The Intentional Use Of PFAS In Products And CUUs Due March 1, 2024, In Maine And Minnesota: Beginning January 1, 2030, any product containing intentionally added PFAS may not be sold in Maine unless the use of PFAS in the product is specifically designated as a currently unavoidable use (CUU) by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP). MDEP accepted requests for proposals until March 1, 2024, from those seeking CUU determinations. More information is available in our January 9, 2024, blog item.

On January 1, 2032, Minnesota will ban any product containing intentionally added PFAS unless the use of PFAS is specifically designated as a CUU. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) published a request for comments (RFC) on planned new rules governing CUU determinations for products containing intentionally added PFAS. Comments were due March 1, 2024. More information is available in our January 12, 2024, blog item.

Draft Criteria For Product Category Rules To Support Label Program For Low Embodied Carbon Construction Materials Available For Comment: On March 5, 2024, EPA announced the availability of a draft document entitled “EPA Criteria for Product Category Rules to Support the Label Program for Low Embodied Carbon Construction Materials” (PCR Criteria). 89 Fed. Reg. 15868. EPA notes that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) authorized $100 million to EPA to develop a program to identify and label construction materials and products that have substantially lower embodied carbon, in coordination with the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). EPA will hold a webinar on March 21, 2024, to give an informational presentation on the PCR Criteria. Comments on the PCR Criteria are due April 4, 2024.

SEC Adopts Rules To Enhance And Standardize Climate-Related Disclosures For Investors: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on March 6, 2024, that it adopted rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures by public companies and in public offerings. Specifically, the final rules will require a registrant to disclose:

  • Climate-related risks that have had or are reasonably likely to have a material impact on the registrant’s business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition;
  • The actual and potential material impacts of any identified climate-related risks on the registrant’s strategy, business model, and outlook;
  • If, as part of its strategy, a registrant has undertaken activities to mitigate or adapt to a material climate-related risk, a quantitative and qualitative description of material expenditures incurred and material impacts on financial estimates and assumptions that directly result from such mitigation or adaptation activities;
  • Specified disclosures regarding a registrant’s activities, if any, to mitigate or adapt to a material climate-related risk including the use, if any, of transition plans, scenario analysis, or internal carbon prices;
  • Any oversight by the board of directors of climate-related risks and any role by management in assessing and managing the registrant’s material climate-related risks;
  • Any processes the registrant has for identifying, assessing, and managing material climate-related risks and, if the registrant is managing those risks, whether and how any such processes are integrated into the registrant’s overall risk management system or processes;
  • Information about a registrant’s climate-related targets or goals, if any, that have materially affected or are reasonably likely to affect materially the registrant’s business, results of operations, or financial condition. Disclosures would include material expenditures and material impacts on financial estimates and assumptions as a direct result of the target or goal or actions taken to make progress toward meeting such target or goal;
  • For large accelerated filers (LAF) and accelerated filers (AF) that are not otherwise exempted, information about material Scope 1 emissions and/or Scope 2 emissions;
  • For those required to disclose Scope 1 and/or Scope 2 emissions, an assurance report at the limited assurance level, which, for an LAF, following an additional transition period, will be at the reasonable assurance level;
  • The capitalized costs, expenditures expensed, charges, and losses incurred as a result of severe weather events and other natural conditions, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme temperatures, and sea level rise, subject to applicable one percent and de minimis disclosure thresholds, disclosed in a note to the financial statements;
  • The capitalized costs, expenditures expensed, and losses related to carbon offsets and renewable energy credits or certificates (REC) if used as a material component of a registrant’s plans to achieve its disclosed climate-related targets or goals, disclosed in a note to the financial statements; and
  • If the estimates and assumptions a registrant uses to produce the financial statements were materially impacted by risks and uncertainties associated with severe weather events and other natural conditions or any disclosed climate-related targets or transition plans, a qualitative description of how the development of such estimates and assumptions was impacted, disclosed in a note to the financial statements.

The final rules will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and compliance dates for the rules will be phased in for all registrants, with the compliance date dependent on the registrant’s filer status.

Draft IRIS Toxicological Review Of PFNA And Related Salts Available For Comment: On March 7, 2024, EPA announced the beginning of a 60-day public comment period on the draft IRIS Toxicological Review of Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) and Related Salts. 89 Fed. Reg. 16560. EPA states that it is releasing the draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment for public comment in advance of a contract-led peer review. ERG, a contractor to EPA, will convene a public meeting to discuss the draft report with the public during Step 4 of the IRIS Process. The external peer reviewers will consider public comments submitted in response to this notice and comments provided at a future public peer review meeting. EPA will consider all comments received when revising the document post-peer review. Comments are due May 6, 2024.

EPA Proposes To Amend Standards And Practices For All Appropriate Inquiries: EPA proposed on March 12, 2024, to amend the Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries to reference a standard practice recently made available by ASTM International. 89 Fed. Reg. 17804. EPA proposes to amend the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule to reference ASTM International’s E2247–23 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property” and allow for its use to satisfy the requirements for conducting all appropriate inquiries under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA additionally proposes to remove after one year, from the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule, recognition of the previous version of that standard, ASTM E2247-16, as compliant with the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule. EPA notes that it is not proposing any changes to regulatory requirements in the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule. Comments are due April 11, 2024.

EPA Will Propose Revisions To Standards For OB/OD Of Waste Explosives: EPA announced on March 12, 2024, that it will issue a proposed rule to revise regulations that allow for the open burning and detonation (OB/OD) of waste explosives. The pre-publication version of the proposed rule states that this variance to the prohibition on the open burning of hazardous waste was established at a time when there were no alternatives for the safe treatment of waste explosives. Recent findings from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and EPA have identified safe alternatives that are potentially applicable to treat some energetic/explosive waste streams, however. According to the proposed rule, the revisions would reduce OB/OD of waste explosives and increase control of air emissions through improved implementation of existing requirements that facilities must evaluate and use safe and available alternative technologies in lieu of OB/OD. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will begin a 60-day comment period.

President Biden’s FY 2025 Budget Requests $11 Billion For EPA: According to EPA’s March 11, 2024, statement on President Biden’s FY 2025 budget, the $11 billion proposed for EPA will:

  • Advance Environmental Justice: An investment of nearly $1.5 billion in environmental justice-related programs supports the implementation of the President’s Justice40 commitment, ensuring at least 40 percent of the benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy, as well as infrastructure work, reach disadvantaged communities, including rural and Tribal communities;
  • Urgently Tackle Climate Change: The budget includes $2.9 billion in climate-related programs to support work reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, building resilience in the face of climate impacts, expanding upon the GHG Reporting Program and Sinks Inventory, and implementing provisions in the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act to continue phasing out the production and import of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC);
  • Invest in Clean Air: The FY 2025 budget provides a total of $1.5 billion for the Office of Air and Radiation, an increase of $690 million since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, to continue the development of national programs, policies, and regulations that control indoor and outdoor air pollution and radiation exposure;
  • Support the President’s Goal of Replacing All Lead Pipes: The budget includes a total of $101 million for two EPA grant programs dedicated to remediating lead contamination in drinking water, an increase of $53 million over 2021 levels;
  • Invest in Critical Water Infrastructure: The budget provides a total of $2.4 billion for the State Revolving Funds (SRF) for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, an increase of more than $1 billion over the current levels;
  • Safeguard against Dangerous Chemicals and Protecting Public Health and the Environment: The budget invests nearly $132 million, an increase of $49 million above current levels, to continue building core capacity and modernizing information technology and data software for the TSCA Program. The budget also provides $208 million for Brownfields to support efforts to revitalize sites by awarding grants and providing technical assistance to Tribes, states, local communities, and other stakeholders to plan, inventory, assess, safely clean up, and reuse Brownfields sites. Additionally, the budget proposes approximately $170 million for EPA to continue addressing PFAS through actions highlighted in EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap;
  • Continue to Build Back Capacity to Carry Out EPA’s Core Mission: The budget adds more than 2,000 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) relative to the 2023 Operating Budget, for a total of more than 17,000 FTEs;
  • Ensure Compliance with and Enforcement of the Nation’s Environmental Laws: The budget provides $260 million for civil enforcement efforts, including funding to prevent the illegal importation and use of HFCs in the United States. The budget also includes $172 million for compliance monitoring efforts, including funds to conduct inspections in underserved and overburdened communities and rebuilding the inspector corps, and $77 million for criminal enforcement efforts; and
  • Support State and Tribal Partners: The budget continues to request additional resources to support directly EPA’s Tribal, state, and local partners with an investment of $1.5 billion in categorical grants, an increase of $304 million.

This Update is provided as a complimentary service to our clients and is for informational purposes. This Update may be copied or quoted, provided proper attribution is given. The contents are not intended and cannot be considered as legal advice.