Following President Obama’s signing, last week, of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, EPA has begun to roll out a variety of resources to help stakeholders understand this update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Today, EPA posted its Implementation Plan for the Lautenberg Act, a “roadmap of major activities EPA will focus on during the initial year implementation.” The requirements and goals outlined in the Plan are based on deadlines set in the statute. The agency noted that the Plan is a “living document” that will be updated over time.
Notably, the Plan states that the Lautenberg Act’s passage “effectively resets the 90-day review period” for submitted Premanufacture Notices (PMNs). As an “Immediate Action” under the Plan, EPA’s goal is to meet the “applicable” deadlines for reviewing and making affirmative determinations on all PMNs and Significant New Use Notifications (SNUNs). The agency says it “will make every effort to complete its review and make a determination within the remaining time under the original deadline.”
Another “Immediate Action” under the Plan is the routine review and making of determinations on new confidentiality claims for the identities of chemicals offered for commercial distribution. These Confidential Business Information (CBI) claims must receive a determination within 90 days and upheld claims will result in the chemical receiving a unique identifier and associated information. EPA also set a goal of creating a plan to link such associated information in 30 days, by mid-July. For CBI claims not related to chemical identity, EPA is required to review and make determinations for at least 25% of new claims, with a goal of developing an approach for routine review by mid-July. EPA plans to provide additional information on required statements and certifications for asserted CBI claims by mid-July as well.
The new law allows EPA to publish proposed and final rules, under Section 6, for chemicals with risk assessments completed prior to the enactment of the Lautenberg Act. These rules must be consistent with the scope of the risk assessments, “even if they do not cover all conditions of use.” EPA has set “Immediate Action” goals to address the identified risks associated with trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride (MC), and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), with various proposed and final rules anticipated to be released from October through December 2017.
Other mandatory actions to be completed within the first year of implementation include:
- Scope of Initial Risk Evaluations: The scope of the first ten Work Plan chemicals’ risk evaluations will be published in mid-June 2017.
- Annual Plan for Risk Evaluations: The first annual plan, providing updates on evaluations to be started or completed each calendar year, among other things, will be due January 2017.
- Additions to Mercury Export Ban: The initial list of mercury compounds prohibited from export is slated for publication mid-September 2016.
- Mercury Inventory: EPA must publish an inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the U.S. by April 1, 2017, and update it every three years thereafter.
- Small Business Definitions: By mid-December 2016, EPA must review the standards for identifying small manufacturers and processors and determine whether revisions are warranted.
- Report to Congress: EPA’s first report to Congress must be submitted by mid-December 2016. The report must address the agency’s capacity and resources needed to conduct risk evaluations and issue rules addressing unreasonable risks, as well as EPA’s capacity to conduct industry-requested risk evaluations, the likely demand for such requests, and anticipated schedule for meeting that demand.
Beyond the first year of implementation, the Plan outlines “Framework Actions” that will guide the program on a longer-term basis. These are all on the same timeframe and include:
- Initial Risk Evaluations: The list of ten Work Plan chemicals will be published in December 2016, with scope of assessments published in June 2017, as mentioned above.
- Prioritization Process Rule: The Proposed Rule establishing EPA’s process and criteria for prioritizing chemicals for risk evaluations is expected by mid-December 2016; the Final Rule in June 2017.
- Risk Evaluation Process Rule: The Proposed Rule establishing EPA’s process for evaluating the risk of high priority chemicals is expected in mid-December 2016; the Final Rule in June 2017.
- Fees Rule: EPA plans to meet and consult with industry in developing the rules for collecting newly-authorized fees, including those for industry-requested risk evaluations, which must be fully funded by fees. The Proposed Rule is expected mid-December 2016 and the Final Rule in June 2017.
- Inventory Rule: This rule will collect information via required industry reporting on chemicals manufactured or processed in the last ten years to determine which chemicals on the TSCA Inventory are “active” or “inactive.” Publication of the Proposed Rule is slated for mid-December 2016 and the Final Rule in June 2017.
- Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals: This committee will be established to provide independent advice and scientific and technical expertise on the law’s implementation. EPA aims to establish the Committee by mid-December 2016, six months before the statutory deadline. The agency plans to publish the applicable Federal Register notice in early September 2016, with public comment accepted through early November 2016.
“Later Mandatory Actions” designated in the Plan include the publication of an Alternative Testing Methods Strategy by June 2018 and negotiated rulemaking on byproducts reporting for Chemical Data Reporting (CDR), with a Proposed Rule (by negotiating process) anticipated in June 2019.
In addition, EPA will hold an informational overview of the Lautenberg Act by webinar tomorrow, June 30, at 2:00 p.m. EST. The webinar will be accessible here: http://epawebconferencing.acms.com/overviewreform/. Audio will be available by phone by dialing 866-299-3188 and entering the code 2025648098#.