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

April 1, 2019


Zero Waste Act Introduced By U.S. Representative Omar
On July 25, 2019, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Zero Waste Act, which intends to create a federal grant program to invest in solutions that address waste. The bill, if passed, will go towards recycling infrastructure or the creation of partnerships with local businesses focused on waste reduction. Representative Omar believes the bill will not only create jobs, but also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, grow domestic manufacturing, clean waterways, save energy, ensure safety from health hazards, and grow the U.S. economy. Omar’s bill has been endorsed by several organizations, including the City of Minneapolis, Eureka Recycling, Climate Generation, and Surfrider Foundation, among others. Presenting this bill through the lens that waste is an environmental justice issue, Representative Omar stated that “[a]ddressing the waste crisis is critical to preventing further damage to our climate—it is integral to racial justice and a clean, equitable future.” At a time where climate change debates have been of high interest to the U.S. population, in particular as the presidential candidate debates continue, it will be interesting to see whether this bill is passed. The full text of the bill can be accessed here.
EPA Assistant Administrator Dunn Speaks About The Future Of TSCA
On July 25, 2019, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) hosted a webinar titled “New TSCA at 3: Key Implementation Issues” led by B&C’s Managing Partner, Lynn L. Bergeson. Webinar speakers included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, and B&C’s Director of Chemistry and former EPA staff, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. Assistant Administrator Dunn’s presentation outlined EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) accomplishments and priorities three years after the amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Some of the most recent accomplishments highlighted by Assistant Administrator Dunn included OCSPP’s update to the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory in designating substances as “active” in commerce, the selection of the first 40 chemicals for prioritization, and consumer protection measures, among others. In addition, Dunn also highlighted OCSPP’s priorities for the future implementation of TSCA:

  • Publication of the draft dossiers for substances designated as high- and low-priority in the Federal Register for public comment expected as follows:
    • Summer 2019, for low-priority substances; and
    • End of 2019, for high-priority substances;
  • Risk evaluations on the 20 high-priority chemicals and designation of the 20 low-priority chemicals by December 22, 2019; and
  • Issue of draft scopes for public comment prior to issuing statutorily required final scopes six months after initiating the risk evaluation.

Assistant Administrator Dunn’s remarks also included EPA’s efforts for increased transparency through the publishing of information about new chemicals’ TSCA Confidential Business Information (CBI) claim reviews, which began in early July 2019. Bergeson and Engler commended Dunn’s efforts in implementing TSCA, and especially EPA’s efforts in increasing new chemical transparency. Engler urged businesses submitting new chemical notices to EPA to review carefully its submission prior to providing it to EPA to ensure that no CBI is made publicly available when new chemical notices are published. Following these discussions, questions from webinar attendees were accepted until the very last minute of the webinar. The full recording of the webinar can be accessed here.
DOE Announces Winners Of AIM Onshore Competition
On July 29, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the winners of the American Inventions Made Onshore (AIM Onshore) Prize Competition. Opened in 2018, this competition was an initiative aimed at closing the gap between American innovators who develop new energy technologies and manufacturers who produce them. Selected among four finalists, two winners were awarded for their innovative proposals. In first place was Fuzehub, awarded $250,000, and in second place was ADL Ventures, awarded $100,000. Fuzehub is a non-profit organization in New York that connects the State’s small and mid-sized manufacturing companies with resources, programs, and technology and business growth expertise. ADL Ventures develops and deploys emerging technology-enabled business solutions for legacy sector companies.
EPA Holds Public Hearing On RVO Proposed Rule Under RFS
On July 31, 2019, EPA held a public hearing in Ypsilanti, MI, to obtain stakeholders’ input on its proposed rule to set Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVO) and 2021 biomass-based diesel volume. Among the various stakeholders providing oral statements to EPA were representatives from Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Hero BX, and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Most of the oral comments provided were in opposition to the proposed rule. Industry representatives highly critized the proposed rule, stating that the RVOs proposed were unreasonable and would negatively impact economic growth through demand destruction and job losses. Many stakeholders also expressed disappointment that, in its proposed rule, EPA failed to account for approved Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) granted. In agreement with other stakeholders’ comments, Growth Energy’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Chris Bliley, stated that progress made thus far under the RFS Program is being threatened by this proposal. Bliley also added that too many exemptions have been granted in secrecy by EPA. Criticism was also made regarding compliance costs and its negative impact on jobs should this rule be approved. Tim Keaveney, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Hero BX, urged EPA to raise the RVOs for biodiesel to enable further industry growth. Overall, there seemed to be a general agreement that the proposed rule betrays President Trump’s commitment to maintaining the RFS Program.


Product Stewardship Conference — September 10-12, 2019
In September 2019, the Product Stewardship Society will be hosting its annual Product Stewardship Conference in Columbus, OH. B&C Regulatory Chemist, Scott J. Burya, Ph.D., will be presenting a session on regulatory barriers to innovation and how to address them. Dr. Burya’s work at B&C focuses on product development, quantitative risk assessments, and navigation of state and federal regulations.
First Annual GreenTech Conference — October 2-3, 2019
B&C is proud to sponsor the 2019 GreenTech Conference that will take place in October 2019, in Seattle, WA. Designed to provide attendees with an opportunity to engage with leaders from innovative companies, policymakers, technologists, and non-profit organizations, this conference is focused on environmental protection in this era of transformative technological change.

Other News

The Intelligencer, “Buckingham Center Offers Biotech Startups $50 Million
Science Codex, “Solar Energy Becomes Biofuel without Solar Cells
ScienceDirect, “Development of a Biorefinery Scheme to Produce Biofuels from Waste Cooking Oil
Sierra Sun Times, “U.S. Senators Renew Bipartisan Effort to Repeal Ethanol Mandate
Feedstuffs, “EPA Issued RFS Exemptions against DOE Advice
The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Trump Administration Official Visits Delaware County Refinery to Hear Gripes about Ethanol
Forbes, “Researchers Develop Technology to Harness Energy from Mixing of Freshwater and Seawater
Business Recorder, “US Ethanol Industry Nearing Breaking Point
The Hindu Business Line, “Adding Sugar and Salt to Catalyse Production of Biofuels
Successful Farming, “Update 1 – EPA Chief Defends Biofuel Waivers in Meeting with Farm Senators – Sources
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