|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
April 25, 2019|
EPA Announces Proposed Procedures For Review Of CBI Claims For The Identity Of Chemicals On The TSCA Inventory
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule regarding its plan to review certain confidential business information (CBI) claims to protect the specific chemical identities of substances on the confidential portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory. 84 Fed. Reg. 16826. The CBI claims that would be reviewed under this plan are those that were asserted on Notice of Activity (NOA) Form A’s filed in accordance with the requirements in the Active-Inactive rule. Comments are due June 24, 2019. See Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) full memorandum for more information on the proposed rule.
EPA Proposes TSCA CDR Revisions And Update To Small Manufacturer Definition For TSCA Section 8(a)
On April 25, 2019, EPA issued a proposed rule that would amend the TSCA Section 8(a) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements and the TSCA Section 8(a) size standards for small manufacturers. The current CDR rule requires manufacturers (including importers) of certain chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory to report data on chemical manufacturing, processing, and use every four years. EPA is proposing several changes to the CDR rule to make regulatory updates to align with new statutory requirements of TSCA, improve the CDR data collected as necessary to support the implementation of TSCA, and potentially reduce the burden for certain CDR reporters. Proposed updates to the definition for small manufacturers, including a new definition for small governments, are being made in accordance with TSCA Section 8(a)(3)(C) and impact certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Overall, according to EPA, the regulatory modifications may better address EPA and public information needs by providing additional information that is currently not collected; improve the usability and reliability of the reported data; and ensure that data are available in a timely manner. Comments are due by June 24, 2019. See B&C’s full memorandum for more information on the proposed rule.
IRFA Speaks Against SREs For The 2018 RFS Blend Levels
On April 17, 2019, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, spoke at a press conference alongside Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, on how the approval of small-refinery exemptions (SRE) for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blend levels would undermine RFS in an irreversible way. IRFA’s Executive Director, Monte Shaw, pointed out that under current conditions all a refinery needs to show significant disproportionate economic harm to be granted an SRE is to purchase Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN). RINs, also known as compliance credits, can be purchased for as little as eight cents, which undermines RFS and breaks President Trump’s promise to protect the 15-billion-gallon RFS. Shaw concludes: “[t]he bottom line is this: If you grant SREs under these circumstances with eight-cent RINs, then what EPA is really saying is that they will always grant SREs and the hope of a true 15-billion-gallon RFS is dead.”
European Financial Leaders Publish Open Letter On Climate-Related Financial Risks
On April 17, 2019, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, and Frank Edelson, Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services (NGFS), published an open letter on the financial implications of global warming. Co-signed by the NGFS coalition, consisting of 34 central banks, the letter warns of global warming’s potential damage to infrastructure and private property, negative human health effects, decrease in productivity, and wealth destruction. The letter states that no countries are immune to the effects of climate change and that “[i]f some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.” Although the Paris agreement has and continues to promote a low-carbon economy, further measures would be central to achieving zero net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key to reaching this goal would be a massive reallocation of capital, the financial experts highlight.
Given the challenges associated with achieving zero-carbon emissions, in the letter, Carney, Villeroy de Galhau, and NGFS members propose four recommendations to policymakers and financial firms:
The integration of climate-related financial
risks into daily work, financial stability monitoring, and board risk
management. Policymakers and financial firms should conduct scenario
analyses and take a long-term strategic approach, which considers risks
associated with global warming. These risks should be embedded it into
their business-as-usual governance and risk-management frameworks.|
|■||Leadership by example, particularly by central banks, to integrate sustainability into their own portfolio managemen|
|■||Internal and external collaboration among public authorities to bridge data gaps important to assessments of climate-related risks.|
|■||In-house capacity building and knowledge sharing with various stakeholders on the financial risks related to climate change.|
According to the letter, the successful implementation of these four recommendations would lead to two broader calls for action on disclosure and classification of these risks. Market and regulators’ support in assessing risks and opportunities from climate change accompanied by consistent international disclosure are critical. In addition, NGFS members also encourage the development of a classification system to identify economic activities that would contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy. In sum, robust leadership and collaboration play a crucial role in identifying global solutions for the financial sector.