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

Biobased Products News and Policy Report

September 3, 2020


EPA Calls For Nominations For 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

On August 17, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. EPA intends these awards to recognize innovation by American businesses and researchers that redesign chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and manufacture of hazardous substances. The 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards nomination package is now available, and nominations are due December 4, 2020. EPA states that it anticipates giving awards to “outstanding green chemistry technologies” in five categories in June 2021. EPA will host a webinar on September 23, 2020, for those interested in applying. During the webinar, EPA will provide an overview of the requirements, criteria, and tips for submitting a nomination package.

OIG Concludes That Lack Of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability To Meet TSCA Deadlines

On August 17, 2020, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report entitled Lack of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability to Meet Toxic Substances Control Act Deadlines. OIG conducted an audit to determine whether EPA met the deadlines already imposed by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) in 2016, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and whether EPA has the staff, resources, and management controls in place to meet future statutory deadlines. OIG found that while EPA met several of its TSCA deadlines, it did not complete all ten required existing chemical risk evaluations by the June 19, 2020, deadline. OIG recommends that the assistant administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention publish the annual existing chemical plan, including the anticipated implementation efforts and required resources; conduct a workforce analysis to assess the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics’ (OPPT) capability to implement the TSCA requirements; and specify what skill gaps must be filled in fiscal year 2021 to meet the TSCA requirements. More information is available in our August 18, 2020, blog item.

DOE Announces RFI For Materials That Can Withstand Harsh Environments

On August 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a request for information (RFI) on advances in components, systems, and products that can withstand harsh environments and extended service lifetimes. According to DOE, equipment used in the American energy sector often encounters material stability and durability challenges due to high-temperature, corrosive, oxidizing, mechanically wearing, embrittling, and thermal cycling. Consequently, these challenges present constraints to the implementation of energy-efficient, cost-effective, and high-performance products and processes.

DOE’s RFI seeks input on accelerated research, development, and deployment; testing and qualification methods; and cost-effective manufacturing routes for materials designed to operate under the circumstances outlined below:

  • Corrosive environments;
  • Very high temperature environments;
  • High mechanical wear/stress conditions;
  • Alloy embrittlement conditions; and
  • Other extreme conditions, such as extreme cryogenic conditions.

Responses to the RFI must be submitted on or prior to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on September 21, 2020. The full submission guidelines can be accessed here.

DOE REMADE Manufacturing Institute Issues RFP To Address Recycling, Reuse, And Remanufacturing Challenges

On August 17, 2020, DOE’s Reducing EMbodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Manufacturing Institute announced the availability of approximately $35 million in support of research and development (R&D) that will enable U.S. manufacturers to increase the recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of plastics, metals, electronic waste, and fibers. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies by supporting high-impact R&D for plastics.

DOE issued a request for proposal (RFP) under this FOA for projects in two areas: transformational R&D and traditional R&D. The full RFP can be accessed here. Letters of intent and project abstracts are due September 14, 2020.

The Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mark W. Menezes, commented on the FOA, stating: “The Trump Administration is committed to advancing innovative reuse and remanufacturing technologies, including advanced plastic recycling technologies, and the development of new plastics that are recyclable by design. Through the Plastics Innovation Challenge, and in partnership with REMADE, DOE is proud to take part in the development of new technologies that strengthen the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem.”

DOE Requests Input On Hydrogen And Fuel Cells R&D Activities And Strategy

On August 12, 2020, DOE issued an RFI to obtain industry, academia, and research community input on DOE’s hydrogen and fuel cells R&D and demonstration activities and strategies, including its H2@Scale initiative. DOE hopes that feedback received will help its Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office’s (HFTO) research priorities and goals to ensure that they address current and future needs of the hydrogen and fuel cells industry. The information will also help HFTO to guide the work being conducted through National Laboratory consortia launched to focus on challenges specific to electrolyzers and heavy-duty fuel cell applications. RFI topics include: H2@Scale; R&D priorities; near-, medium-, and long-term strategy; and approaches to foster collaboration. Responses must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on September 15, 2020.


ELI Report Looks At Trump Administration’s Impact On Environmental Law And Policy And What Lies Ahead

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) recently released Environment 2021: What Comes Next?, a report that looks at the Trump Administration’s impact on environmental law and policy and what lies ahead. ELI states that the report is “a response to growing demand for analysis of how deregulatory initiatives by the Trump Administration will affect environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law with a focus on what might happen in a second Trump administration or a new administration.” According to ELI, the report:

  • Assesses the Trump Administration’s steps to remake federal environmental regulation and redefine the relationships among state and federal environmental decisions;
  • Identifies key categories of action affecting environmental regulation and examines some possible future outcomes; and
  • Helps environmental practitioners, policymakers, and the public at large think about what lies ahead, looking particularly at the nation’s ability to address new problems and confront as yet unsolved challenges, such as environmental justice.


UME Publishes Report On Economic Contribution Of The Biobased Economy In The State

The University of Minnesota Extension (UME) recently published a report titled “Economic Contribution of the Biobased Industrial Products Industry in Minnesota: 2019.” The report accounts for the economic impacts from the Minnesota Bioincentive Program enacted in 2015. Some of the key findings outlined by UME include but are not limited to the ones outlined below:

  • In 2019, companies claiming the Minnesota Bioincentive received $1.5 million in incentives. For every tax dollar invested in incentives, $407.10 is generated in the economy. In addition, for every dollar of incentive, approximately $8.90 is collected in taxes.
  • Construction activities of Minnesota biobased industrial product companies generated an estimated $1.2 billion of economic activity in the state, including $540.6 million in labor income. These activities also supported employment for more than 8,000 workers and generated approximately $46.5 million in tax collections.
  • Operations of Minnesota’s biobased industrial product companies generated an estimated $610.7 million of economic activity resulting from their operations, including $127 million in labor income. It also supported employment for more than 2,000 workers in the state and generated an estimated $13.3 million in tax collections.

According to the report, these impacts are annual and will continue to grow as long as companies do. A full copy of the report is available here.


What’s Going On At EPA Right Now? – A Conversation With Richard E. Engler, Ph.D.

On August 6, 2020, Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), sat down with Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., B&C’s Director of Chemistry, for a conversation on EPA’s latest activities during B&C’s All Things ChemicalTM Podcast. A brief description of the episode written by Lynn L. Bergeson is below.

This week I sat down with Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., B&C’s Director of Chemistry, and all-around TSCA savant. Rich is an organic chemist and a 17-year veteran with EPA OPPT, where Rich managed the Green Chemistry Program and reviewed some 10,000 new chemical notifications.

Given all that is going on at EPA with implementing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which extensively amended TSCA, Rich and I discussed a wide range of ongoing and planned EPA initiatives. These include EPA’s risk evaluations under TSCA Section 6, progress EPA has made in reviewing new chemicals and work that remains to be done, how EPA has responded to staff and resources challenges, key ongoing litigations challenging various aspects of TSCA implementation, and what to look for as we approach the end of the calendar year and the impact of the pending national election. Rich’s insights are always fascinating and enlightening, and our conversation is sparkling and entertaining.



PSS PSX 2020 Virtual Conference Approaches

From September 15 to 17, 2020, the Product Stewardship Society (PSS) will virtually hold its annual conference, PSX 2020. B&C is a proud sponsor of the conference. With a focus on promoting responsible design, development, and management of products throughout their life cycles, the PSX 2020 virtual conference offers a wide variety of education options indispensable to anyone in the chemical industry. Registration is open now, with a variety of attendance options. One does not have to be a member of PSS to register, though premium members do receive a 15% discount for the full event.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner of B&C and current President of PSS, stated: “Product stewardship is a fast growing career choice, and PSX 2020 is the premier venue to enhance your stewardship skill sets and learn how to become a Certified Professional Product Steward (CPPS), the first-ever product stewardship credential that the PSS is proud to offer with the Board for Global EHS Credentialing.”

Ms. Bergeson will help kick off the conference on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, followed by two and a half days of learning and networking opportunities. The full PSX schedule is available online.

Highlights from the agenda include:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Black Swans and Product Stewardship opening session presented by Mr. Olaf Isele, Founder and Principal, Metaxi Simbiosys LLC.

“Nobody could have known” is a line often heard in the aftermath of a major crisis, but often, a little research reveals missed warnings of such events and their consequences. This session explores how safety and product stewardship can be used to prepare and navigate an organization and industry through disasters.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Evaluating New Chemicals and Disconnects in Hazard Communication presented by Karin F. Baron, MSPH, Senior Regulatory Consultant, B&C, and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, B&C.

This session will cover the basics of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluation process for new chemicals and issues that arise that generate disconnects in hazard communication and will include a basic overview of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012) and the process for hazard determination for new substances.

Thursday, September 17, 2020, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Getting Sustainability Right presented by Connie Hensler, Interface; Dr. James Fava, Anthesis; Bruce Vigon, M.S. Water Chemistry, Breveja Environmental Consulting LLC; and Al Iannuzzi Jr., The Estee Lauder Companies.

This interactive panel will address the disconnect between the clear importance of decision makers fully understanding entire value chain impacts and how the product stewardship and environmental community can best provide the relevant information efficiently and effectively.

Register for PSX online. Make plans now to attend and discover new ideas, practical solutions, and best practices that will help product stewards manage the challenges of today and prepare for the issues of tomorrow.

ELI To Host Webinar On Advanced Biofuels

On September 18, 2020, ELI will host a webinar titled “Advanced Biofuels: Fuel for the Future?” from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT). The webinar, as implied by its title, will focus on the practical and policy challenges and opportunities facing advanced biofuels and the impacts of the coronavirus on biofuel production and research. Panelists may include:

  • Lauren Helen Leyden, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. (invited);
  • Lynn McKay, Assistant General Counsel, Volkswagen Group of America (invited);
  • Shailesh Sahay, Senior Regulatory Counsel, POET, Inc.;
  • Luke Tonachel, Director, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); and
  • Stephanie Wettstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Montana State University (invited).

The webinar will be open to the public; registration, however, is required. Click here to register.

Other News

St. Louis Public Radio, “Missouri S&T Researchers Looking to Soybean Oil to Improve Industrial Metal Cutting
The Washington Post, “When Fashion Is Fungal:  Textiles Have a Big Carbon Footprint and Then Clog Landfills When Discarded.  Could Biodegradable Clothes Be a Solution?
Scienmag, “$1.3 Million DOE Grant Funds Study of How Fungus May Help Grow Sorghum for Biofuels
Lincoln Journal Star, “Beyer:  Farmers Need Less Talk, More Action on Renewable Fuel Standard
edie, “Manufacturers Aim for Carbon-Neutral Cement by 2050
CompositesWorld, “Demonstrating Recyclable, Bio-Based Autocomposites
Photonics Media, “Responsive Photonic Biobased Materials Self-Assemble in Liquid Marbles

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