EPA Announces Winners Of The 2022 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
On June 6, 2022, EPA announced the winners of the 2022 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. EPA states that green chemistry “is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation and use of hazardous substances.” According to EPA, the winners “have developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that provide solutions to significant environmental challenges and spur innovation and economic development.” In support of the Biden Administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis, EPA added a new award category recognizing technology that reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The 2022 winners include:
- Professor Song Lin of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, for developing a new, more efficient process to create large and complicated molecules that are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. EPA states that the new technology avoids using hazardous materials and has the potential to reduce both energy use and wasteful byproducts.
- Merck, Rahway, New Jersey, for developing a greener way to make LAGEVRIO™ (molnupiravir), an antiviral treatment for COVID-19. According to EPA, Merck significantly improved the manufacturing process for this antiviral drug in a short time, producing ingredients more efficiently and greatly reducing solvent waste and energy use.
- Amgen, Thousand Oaks, California, for an improved manufacturing process for LUMAKRAS™ (sotorasib), a novel drug for the treatment of certain non-small cell lung cancers. EPA states that Amgen’s innovation decreased manufacturing time, lowered the amount of solvent waste generated, and established a recycling process for a high-value waste stream.
- Provivi, Santa Monica, California, for creating ProviviFAW®, a biological pheromone-based product that controls the fall armyworm, a destructive pest of corn. The product’s pheromone active ingredients are produced through innovative green chemistry using renewable plant oils. According to EPA, ProviviFAW™ can reduce the need for conventional pesticides, which can be harmful to beneficial insects, such as pollinators.
- Professor Mark Mascal of the University of California, Davis, California, in partnership with Origin Materials, for a technology that reduces GHG emissions by producing chemicals for making polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic from biomass derived from sugar fructose rather than petroleum. EPA states that this novel chemistry could have significant climate impacts by replacing fossil-based products with carbon-neutral, biobased products, especially when the technology is scaled to an entire industry.
EPA recognized the winners during the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. EPA states that since 1996, EPA and the American Chemical Society, which co-sponsor the awards, have received more than 1,800 nominations and presented awards to 133 technologies that decrease hazardous chemicals and resources, reduce costs, protect public health, and spur economic growth. According to EPA, winning technologies are responsible for reducing the use or generation of nearly one billion pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving over 20 billion gallons of water, and eliminating nearly eight billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents released to the air.
EPA Seeks Information On End-Of-Life Management Of Batteries And Current Labeling Standards And Requirements Regarding Their End Of Life
EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) published a request for information (RFI) on June 9, 2022, seeking information on the end-of-life management of batteries, including their generation, collection, recycling, and reuse, as well as the current labeling standards and requirements for batteries regarding their end of life. 87 Fed. Reg. 35202. According to the RFI, EPA is developing best practices with respect to the collection of batteries to be recycled, as well as establishing a program intended to promote battery recycling through the development of voluntary labeling guidelines for batteries and communication materials for battery producers and consumers as directed by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. Comments are due July 11, 2022.
Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Holds Hearing On Implementation Of The Lautenberg Act
On June 22, 2022, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on “Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments Implementation.” This coincides with the sixth anniversary of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act) that amended TSCA. The only witness present was Michal Freedhoff, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). The recording of the hearing is available here.
DOE Issues FOA To Establish Its 7th Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute
On June 23, 2022, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of $70 million to establish the 7th Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute. DOE EERE states that “[t]his new coalition of industry, academia, and government partners aims to develop and scale technologies to electrify industrial process heating and reduce emissions across the industrial sector.” The institute along with a new federal advisory committee, will focus on decarbonization technologies to help the United States reach its net-zero emissions goal by 2050. The Secretary of Energy will appoint 16 to 20 committee members for the federal advisory committee based on individual qualifications and a need to ensure diverse viewpoints, subject matter expertise, and regional knowledge. Nominations are now open until August 1, 2022, and can be submitted here. The new institute will join DOE’s six Manufacturing USA® institutes funded through EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). DOE will hold an informational webinar on the new institute on July 14, 2022. Concept papers for the institute are due on August 9, 2022.
EPA Announces New Chemical Engineering Initiative Intended To Increase Transparency And Reduce Rework
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 24, 2022, that it is “conducting a broad outreach effort to describe and discuss with stakeholders how the Agency evaluates data provided for new chemicals submissions and common issues that cause EPA to have to reconduct risk assessments (‘rework’) for these submissions.” According to EPA, its goal is to reduce rework of initial risk assessments for new chemicals submissions caused by submitters supplementing incomplete initial new chemicals review submissions, contributing to delays in EPA’s review of these chemicals, and stretching already limited resources. EPA notes that it shares an interest with stakeholders in reducing process inefficiencies while also ensuring a protective review of new chemical risks. EPA states that it anticipates this outreach effort will be “particularly helpful” for Low Volume Exemptions (LVE), which constitute about 60 percent of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 submissions annually.
DOE BETO Accepting Concept Papers For Integrated Biorefineries Funding Opportunity
On June 27, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced that it is accepting concept papers for a funding opportunity aimed at accelerating biofuel and bioproduct production to reduce emissions. DOE is interested in research and development (R&D) that will reduce the cost and risks of biofuel production. DOE BETO expects that the breakthroughs from this funding opportunity will contribute to the achievement of President Biden’s and DOE’s goals of advancing bioenergy use, reducing the production cost of biofuels, and reaching a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Concept papers are due by July 8, 2022. Interested parties may click here to apply.
USDA Announces NIFA Bioproduct Pilot Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced recently a new program that directs USDA to partner with at least one qualified institution to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing. Up to $5 million is available for each of the fiscal years (FY) 2022 and 2023. NIFA will work in collaboration with USDA Rural Development’s BioPreferred program to seek research proposals that explore the benefits of bioproducts in relation to:
- “Cost savings relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Greenhouse gas emission reductions and other environmental benefits relative to their commonly used alternative materials;
- Lifecycle and longevity-extending characteristics relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Lifecycle and longevity-reducing characteristics relative to other commonly used alternative materials;
- Landfill quantity and waste management cost reductions;
- Product development and production scale-up; and
- Any other benefits that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.”
Information on how to apply for the Bioproduct Pilot Program is available here, and NIFA will hold a webinar on July 14, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) to discuss the program and answer questions. Registration for the webinar is required.
Register Now — “TSCA New Approach Methodologies” Webinar On August 3, 2022
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to present “TSCA New Approach Methodologies,” a complimentary webinar featuring Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., James W. Cox, M.S., and Kristie Sullivan, MPH. The 2016 amendments to TSCA require EPA “to reduce and replace” vertebrate animals to the extent practicable, scientifically justified, and consistent with TSCA policies. EPA is also required to “develop a strategic plan to promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing and provide information of equivalent or better scientific quality and relevance for assessing risks of injury to health or the environment of chemical substances or mixtures.”
These are tall orders, and EPA has worked hard to fulfill Congress’s expectations. This webinar will:
- Highlight examples of EPA’s use of non-vertebrate testing strategies, commonly referred to as “new approach methodologies” or NAMs, in its evaluation of new and existing chemical substances under TSCA Sections 5 and 6, respectively;
- Provide examples of successful collaborations between EPA and external partners to advance the understanding and use of NAMs for informing regulatory scientific questions;
- Provide perspectives from former EPA scientists and non-governmental organization scientists on the types of data needs required to advance the acceptance and use of NAMs over existing vertebrate alternatives; and
- Provide a proposed roadmap for engaging EPA scientists on the types of questions EPA scientists will likely ask when considering proposals for utilizing NAMs as part of regulatory filings.
Recording Available — ELI, B&C, And GWU Conclude Another Fabulous Conference
On June 29, 2022, B&C, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health presented “TSCA Reform — Six Years Later.” This virtual conference marked the sixth TSCA Annual Conference, reflecting on the accomplishments and challenges since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where TSCA stands today. Speakers covered a variety of topics, including the interface of science and policy under TSCA, EPA’s regulation of new chemicals, risk assessment and risk management, and the regulation of articles under TSCA. The over 700 program registrants demonstrate the continuing, if not growing, interest in EPA’s challenging implementation of TSCA. A recording of the conference is available online.
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