Biobased Products News and Policy Report
DOE Announces Collaborative Project On Hydrogen And Fuel Cells
On October 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Army on a collaborative project designed to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for civilian and military use. The MOU was signed by the U.S. Department of Army’s Tank & Automotive Research Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC) and the DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO). It aims to facilitate the research and development of innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies portfolios. The research will include studies on hydrogen production from domestic resources, infrastructure development, and fuel cells for transportation. Additionally, the MOU will allow for further exploration of a DOE FCTO concept called H2@ Scale, which “explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors.”
Trump Talks Biofuels; BIO Applauds
On October 9, 2018, during a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he will order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand its sales of corn ethanol. This action, which farmers across the U.S. have been waiting for, will allow for year-round sales of 15 percent biofuels (E15) ethanol blends. Currently, E15 sales are restricted during the summer months in certain states, limiting the expansion of the market space for biofuels. Well received by many in the industry, the announcement was particularly appreciated by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, which applauded President Trump’s decision in a press release. Brent Erikson, BIO’s Executive Vice President, emphasized in his statement that “[a]llowing E15 to be sold year-round will help unleash the potential of cellulosic biofuels by creating more demand and marked headroom for the next generation of biofuels.”
EPA Issues TSCA User Fees Final Rule
On September 27, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the user fees final rule for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the fourth and remaining framework rule to be issued in final under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg).
This final rule, that amends 40 C.F.R. Parts 700, 720, 723, 725, 790, and 791, “describes the final TSCA fees and fee categories for fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021”; “explains the methodology by which the final TSCA fees were determined”; “identifies some factors and considerations for determining fees for subsequent fiscal years”; and “includes amendments to existing fee regulations governing the review of premanufacture notices, exemption applications and notices, and significant new use notices.” The final rule has not been published yet in the Federal Register so an effective date is not yet available; a pre-publication version is available here.
Specifically, EPA is establishing fees applicable to any person required to submit information to EPA under TSCA Section 4; or a notice, including an exemption or other information, to be reviewed by EPA under TSCA Section 5; or who manufactures (including imports) a chemical substance that is the subject of a risk evaluation under TSCA Section 6(b). EPA is also establishing standards for determining which persons qualify as “small business concerns” and thus would be subject to lower fee payments.
In the press release announcing the rule, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler states that this rule will “provide resources needed to support the valuable work EPA does to review chemicals for safety, manage risk as required, and make chemical information available as appropriate.” During fiscal years 2019-2021, EPA states it will “work to track costs and will use that information to adjust future fees, if appropriate.”
EPA also announced that it will be hosting a series of webinars focusing on making TSCA submissions and paying fees under the final rule. The first webinar was held on October 10, 2018. Two other webinars are scheduled for October 24, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EDT); and November 7, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (EST).
More information on TSCA implementation is available on our website under key phrase Lautenberg Implementation. More information on the TSCA user fees final rule is available in Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) detailed memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Fees Rule.”
What “Bio-based” Means Across The Globe
In September 2018, researchers Harmen Willemse, from The Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN), and Dr. Maarten van der Zee, from the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research Center, published a White Paper on “Communicating the bio-based content of products in the EU and the US.” Analyzing how bio-based content information is exchanged between businesses, consumers, and government, the paper aims to address the significant challenges associated with the various methods used for the determination of bio-based carbon content in bio-based products. The paper further explores three different determination approaches and compares them to U.S. and European Union (EU) requirements. The researchers conclude that awareness of these different determination methods is key in information sharing between businesses, consumers, and government agencies.
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The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
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