Originally published by Greg L. Johnson and Carlos J. Moreno.
This is Part II of our TSCA update following the recent changes to the TSCA legislation.
On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released its first year implementation plan for the recently-enacted amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). Faced with the ambitious requirements and timeframes laid out by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (the “Act”), EPA has planned out its implementation activities during the first year. The agency divided up actions into four categories: Immediate Actions, Framework Actions, Early Mandatory Actions, and Later Mandatory Actions (beyond the first year of implementation).
From Day 1, EPA has to make an affirmative determination of safety before the manufacture of new chemicals (or significant new uses of chemicals) can commence. For notices received prior to enactment, EPA’s goal is to complete the review within the remaining time under the original deadline, but in any event no later than 90 days from enactment. The first 30 days will see a number of actions related to the Confidential Business Information (“CBI”) process. Specifically, EPA will create a plan for linking confidential business information to a unique identifier, develop an approach for routine review of confidentiality claims, and provide additional information on statements and certifications required for CBI claims. Within the next six months, EPA will issue risk management rules for three solvents: Trichloroethylene or TCE, Methylene Chloride, and N-Methylpyrrolidone or NMP.
A number of proposed rules expected in the next six months will provide the framework for new regulatory processes required by the Act, including prioritization of chemicals for risk evaluation, evaluation of the risk of high priority chemicals, fee collection, and inventory reporting. In the next six months, EPA also plans to issue the initial list of ten chemicals to undergo risk evaluations and create a new Science Advisory Committee on chemicals.
Early Mandatory Actions
EPA also expects to take action on a number of early mandatory requirements. EPA will publish a list of mercury compounds prohibited from export by mid-September of this year. Within the next six months, the agency will review the “small business” definition for purposes of TSCA and submit the first TSCA implementation report to Congress. Finally, the plan for the first year of enactment also includes publishing the scope of evaluation for the first 10 chemicals, preparing the agency’s first annual plan for risk evaluation of chemicals, and publishing an inventory of mercury in commerce.
Beyond the first year of implementation, EPA will be required to issue additional rules on mercury reporting and CBI substantiation, as well as come up with a strategy for alternative testing methods. There may be some doubt about whether EPA can meet all these aggressive implementation goals, but one thing is for sure: the regulated community can expect a lot of regulatory development in this area for the foreseeable future.
A copy of EPA’s First Year Implementation Plan can be found here.
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