Biobased Products News and Policy Report – Update from Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Biobased Products News and Policy Report

March 26, 2020

Federal

DOE Announces BERAC Virtual Meeting

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The meeting will be held digitally via webcast on April 16, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT). Information on how to access the meeting will be posted here. Tentative agenda topics include:

  • BERAC business and discussion;
  • News from the Biological Systems Science and Climate and Environmental Sciences Divisions;
  • News from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER);
  • Report brief(s); and
  • Public comment.

The virtual meeting is open to the public. Both written and oral statements regarding agenda items will be accepted.

EPA Will Consider Exemptions To TSCA Fees Rule For EPA-Initiated Risk Evaluations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 25, 2020, that it will consider a proposed rule that would look at providing exemptions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) fees rule in response to stakeholder concerns about implementation challenges. EPA states that by considering a proposal to narrow the broad scope of the current requirements, it “could significantly reduce burden on potentially thousands of businesses across the country while maintaining the ability to successfully implement the Lautenberg Act amendments” to TSCA to protect human health and the environment. According to EPA, it plans to initiate a new rulemaking process to consider proposing exemptions to the current rule’s self-identification requirements associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations for manufacturers that:

  • Import the chemical substance in an article;
  • Produce the chemical substance as a byproduct; or
  • Produce or import the chemical substance as an impurity.

EPA states that it may also consider proposing other changes to the rule during this process consistent with TSCA’s requirement to reevaluate the fees rule every three years. EPA notes that it believes that considering exempting certain entities from self-identification requirements will not impede the ability to collect fully the necessary fees and will still allow it to achieve the ultimate objective of the TSCA fees rule and the statute — “to defray a portion of EPA’s TSCA implementation costs.” EPA intends to issue proposed amendments to the current fees rule later in 2020, with the goal of promulgating the amendments in 2021.

EPA states that additionally, “in light of the extremely unusual circumstances of this situation and the undue hardship imposed on certain businesses who would be required to collect and report information” under the TSCA fees rule, EPA issued a “no action assurance” for the three categories of manufacturers at this time. More specifically, EPA “will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the self-identification requirement for the three categories of manufacturers” for which EPA intends to propose an exemption.

EPA suggests that businesses that are erroneously on the preliminary lists of fee payers or fall into one of the three categories discussed above should see its frequently asked questions (FAQ) for more information about how to certify as such to EPA and to avoid fee obligations. EPA posted more information on its announcement, as well as a copy of the no-action assurance, on its website. More information is available in our March 9, 2020, blog item, “EPA Extends Deadline to Self-Identify as a Manufacturer or Importer of a High-Priority Chemical to May 27.”

Yvette T. Collazo Will Be New Director Of EPA’s OPPT

Effective March 29, 2020, Yvette T. Collazo will be the new Director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). Ms. Collazo previously worked for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where she led activities related to federal contracts and agreements of more than $250 million for the cleanup of radiological, industrial, and groundwater hazards resulting from decades of nuclear material production at DOE’s Savannah River facility. Ms. Collazo also served as Senior Advisor and Director for the Office of Technology Innovation and Development at DOE’s Office of Environmental Management. In this capacity, she led the identification and advancement of technologies, processes, and technical practices that improved the performance of waste processing, groundwater and soil, facility decontamination and decommissioning, and nuclear materials projects over their life cycles, from planning to disposal. Starting in 2013, Ms. Collazo served as District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands District Office. As District Director, she was responsible for the delivery of the SBA’s financial assistance, business counseling, entrepreneurial training, and federal contracting programs throughout the District. Ms. Collazo has a Master of Science in Environmental Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

Safer Choice Program Accepting Submissions For 2020 Safer Choice Partner Of The Year Awards

EPA published a Federal Register notice on March 23, 2020, announcing that the EPA Safer Choice program is accepting submissions for its 2020 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards. 85 Fed. Reg. 16334. EPA states that it developed the Partner of the Year Awards to recognize the leadership contributions of Safer Choice partners and stakeholders who, over the past year, have shown achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals, furthering outstanding or innovative source reduction. All Safer Choice stakeholders and program participants in good standing are eligible for recognition. Interested parties who would like to be considered for this award should submit to EPA information about their accomplishments and contributions during 2019. EPA notes that there is no form associated with this year’s application. EPA will recognize award winners at a Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards ceremony that is being planned for fall 2020. Submissions are due May 31, 2020.

EPA Seeks Nominations For TSCA SACC

EPA published a Federal Register notice on March 20, 2020, inviting the public to nominate scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). 85 Fed. Reg. 16094. EPA is seeking nominations of individuals who have demonstrated high levels of expertise in scientific and/or technical fields relevant to chemical safety and risk assessment, including, but not limited to: human health and ecological risk assessment, biostatistics, epidemiology, pediatrics, physiologically based pharmacokinetics, toxicology and pathology, and the relationship of chemical exposures to women, children, and other potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations. In addition, nominees should have backgrounds and experiences that would contribute to the diversity of scientific viewpoints on the committee, including professional experiences in government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and other groups, as the EPA Administrator determines to be advisable (e.g., geographic location, social and cultural backgrounds, and professional affiliations). Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to SACC. Individuals also may self-nominate. The preferred method for submitting nominations is via e-mail to Steven Knott, the SACC’s Designated Federal Officer ([email protected]). Nominations are due no later than April 20, 2020.

Other News
 

Successful Farming, “U.S. Biofuel Group Says Ethanol Industry Sharply Cutting Production
 
British Plastics and Rubber Magazine, “EUBP Raises Concerns Over EASAC Report on Biobased and Biodegradable Plastics
 
Plastics News, “DSM Honors Minnesota Professor for Biopolymer Work
 
Tech Crunch, “YC Graduate Genecis Bioindustries Turns Food Waste into Compostable Plastics
 
Phys.org, “Researchers Create Water-Degradable Plastic Combining Starch and Cellulose
 
Reuters, “‘Astonishing’; Trump EPA Backs Down on Biofuel Waivers in Blow to U.S. Refiners
 

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