|Biobased and Renewable Products Update|
|February 6, 2020|
EPA Pollution Prevention Grant Program Requests Applications
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pollution Prevention (P2) Grant Program has announced the availability of funds to provide technical assistance (e.g., information, training, tools) to businesses to encourage the development and implementation of source reduction practices. EPA states that source reduction practices can help businesses save money by reducing resource use, expenditures, waste, and liability costs, while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint and helping to protect human health and the environment. Applications for fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021 are due March 31, 2020.
EPA states that it anticipates
awarding approximately $9.38 million in total federal pollution prevention
grant funding over a two-year funding cycle ($4.69 million in FY 2020 funds and
approximately $4.69 million in FY 2021
funds). According to EPA, P2 grants are expected to be awarded in each EPA
region and will be funded in the form of grants or cooperative agreements. EPA
provides the following “quick facts” for P2 grants:
- Eligibility: State governments, colleges, and universities
(recognized as instrumentalities of the state), federally recognized
tribes, and intertribal consortia;
requirement: 50 percent match; for tribal
governments that place P2 grant activities into a performance partnership
grant (PPG) agreement, the match for the tribe is reduced to five percent;
- Review of
applications: Along with
other requirements that are noted in the Request for Applications (RFA),
applications must address one of the following statutory/regulatory
criteria to merit further review:
- Provide technical assistance
and/or training to businesses/facilities about source reduction
techniques to help them adopt and implement source reduction approaches
and to increase the development, adoption, and market penetration of
greener products and sustainable manufacturing practices; and
- Identify, develop, document,
and share P2 best management practices and innovations so that this
information may inform future technical assistance and these P2
approaches and outcomes may be replicated by others;
- Provide technical assistance and/or training to businesses/facilities about source reduction techniques to help them adopt and implement source reduction approaches and to increase the development, adoption, and market penetration of greener products and sustainable manufacturing practices; and
- Range of
awards: Individual grant awards may
potentially be in the range of $40,000 – $500,000 for the two-year funding
period (between $20,000 and $250,000 incrementally funded per year). Some
EPA regions may have lower award caps, however; and
number of grants issued:
EPA will hold an informational webinar on February 19, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EST).
EPA Issues Final Rule On RFS Program Standards For 2020 And Biomass-Based Diesel Volume For 2021
On February 6, 2020, EPA issued its final rule setting 2020 renewable fuel percentage standards under its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. The final rule established the annual percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that apply to gasoline and diesel transportation fuel produced or imported in 2020. The volume requirements set are below the statutory volume targets. In addition to the 2020 annual percentage standards, the final rule establishes the applicable volume of biomass-based diesel for 2021. Other changes include the percentage standard calculations to account for fuel volumes exempted from the renewable volume obligation (RVO). Effective on April 6, 2020, this rule finalizes regulatory changes to the RFS Program, including clarifications of existing regulations, new pathways, and flexibilities for regulated parties.
USDA Requests Comments On Its Draft Instructions On Testing Methods For BE Foods
On February 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a notice requesting comments and feedback on its draft instructions on testing methods under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Standard). According to the Standard, which became effective in 2019, with a mandatory compliance date of January 1, 2022, foods that do not contain bioengineered (BE) material do not require label disclosure. USDA’s definition of BE food (7 CFR 66.1) states that food does not contain modified genetic material if the genetic material is not detectable. Therefore, detectability testing for BE materials in foods plays a key role for stakeholders to determine labeling compliance. Given its importance, USDA AMS has drafted instructions on acceptable testing methodology to be used to satisfy the requirement that the food does not contain detectable BE material. Detectability testing must meet the following standard:
- Laboratory quality assurance
must ensure the validity and reliability of test results;
- Analytical method selection,
validation, and verification must ensure that the testing method used is
appropriate and that the laboratory can successfully perform the testing;
- The demonstration of testing
validity must ensure consistent, accurate analytical performance; and
- Method performance
specifications must ensure that analytical tests are sufficiently
sensitive for the purposes of the detectability requirements of this part.
Comments on USDA AMS’s draft instructions must be submitted on or prior to March 4, 2020.
DOE EERE Looks To Fill Vacant Positions
On February 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it is searching for professionals to fill vacant general engineer and physical scientist positions. Resumes can be submitted directly to EERE’s hiring staff with information on the position of interest and EERE office (Solar, Geothermal, Vehicles, and Buildings, among others). Should EERE be interested in a particular resume, DOE’s Human Capital Office will reach out to the applicant requesting a transcript demonstrating educational background. Further information on vacant positions at EERE can be accessed here.
FDA/FTC To Host Public Workshop On Biosimilars’ Competitive Market
On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will host a public workshop titled “FDA/FTC Workshop on a Competitive Marketplace for Biosimilars.” The focus of the workshop will be on FDA and FTC’s collaborative efforts to support appropriate adoption of biosimilars, deter anticompetitive behaviors in the biologic marketplace, and discourage false or misleading statements about biosimilars. The workshop will take place in Silver Spring, MD, and requires registration. Webcast attendance will also be available. A meeting agenda is expected approximately one week before the meeting. FDA and FTC are also inviting stakeholders to submit electronic or written comments in addition to input at the public workshop. Comments are due on or prior to April 9, 2020.
NYSDEC Will Hold Public Meeting To Discuss Amendments To The Household Cleansing Product Regulations
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will hold a public meeting on February 24, 2020, at 1 p.m. (EST) in Albany, New York, “to discuss amendments to the household cleansing product rules that are being considered for adoption.” According to NYSDEC, amendments include specifying what information must be reported about covered products and their ingredients, how information should be shared with NYSDEC for the public record, the type of studies that must be reported, and how confidential business information (CBI) should be handled. NYSDEC states that during the meeting, it “is looking for input on disclosure of nonfunctional ingredients, issues around confidential information, how to disclose when a product’s formulation temporarily changes, and any other regulatory concerns.” Registration is required to attend the meeting. NYSDEC notes that it “will hold a formal public comment period at a later date once it officially proposes the regulations.”
As reported in Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) September 4, 2019, blog item, on August 27, 2019, the State of New York Supreme Court invalidated the Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program (Disclosure Program). Information related to NYSDEC’s prior delay of its enforcement of its Disclosure Program is available here, and general information regarding the Program and its extensive requirements for manufacturers of certain consumer cleaning products to disclose information regarding the ingredients in those products is available here. The court found that the Disclosure Program was established in violation of the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) and the New York State Constitution. In making this finding, the court held that the Program was a “rule” as argued by Petitioners and not “guidance” for which adherence to SAPA was not required, as argued by NYSDEC. A more detailed analysis and commentary are available in our August 30, 2019, memorandum, “NY Department of Environmental Conservation Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program Ruled ‘Null and Void.’”
NBB Submits Comments To USDA On HBIIP
On January 30, 2020, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) submitted comments to USDA in response to its request for information (RFI) on the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). A new USDA Rural Development project, HBIIP is designed to expand the availability of domestic ethanol and biodiesel by incentivizing the expansion of sales of renewable fuels. USDA’s RFI solicited information on options for fuel ethanol and biodiesel infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from all HBIIP processes and/or science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit. A total of 56 comments were submitted in response to USDA’s RFI. NBB’s comments included a request for USDA to focus the program on opportunities that would invest in facilitating the greatest additional volumes of biodiesel (including bioheat and sustainable aviation fuel) to enter the marketplace. NBB also calls for direct investment in infrastructure instead of federal funding that incentivizes sales. According to NBB, infrastructure investments should include heated storage tanks, transfer stations, large-scale national retail chains, increased rail capabilities to move and store biodiesel, and pipeline terminals to blend biodiesel. Urging USDA to make HBIIP a multi-year program, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, Kurt Kovarik, expresses NBB’s optimism that HBIIP will facilitate biodiesel industry growth.
Biobased and Renewable
Products Advocacy Group
2200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037