Virginia Assembly Opposes Agenda 21

Sustainability:

Yes, from the state that brought us Thomas Jefferson and so many other leaders, we now get the following.  Leaders or not?  You decide.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 654

Offered January 9, 2013

Prefiled January 8, 2013

Recognizing the need to oppose United Nations Agenda 21.

———-

Patrons– Lingamfelter, Cole, Hodges, Landes and Peace

———-

Referred to Committee on Rules

———-

WHEREAS, United Nations Agenda 21, a comprehensive nonbinding, voluntarily implemented action plan concerning sustainable development, environmentalism, social engineering, and globalism, was first presented at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992; and

WHEREAS, United Nations Agenda 21 is being covertly introduced in states and local communities across the nation by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives through local sustainable development policies such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other “green” or “alternative” projects; and

WHEREAS, United Nations Agenda 21, a radical plan of purported “sustainable development,” envisions the American way of life of private property ownership, single-family homes, and individual freedoms as destructive to the environment; and

WHEREAS, in addition, social justice is described by United Nations Agenda 21 as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded by society and the environment that would be accomplished by the redistribution of wealth; and

WHEREAS, United Nations Agenda 21, referring to the 21st century, is an action agenda of the United Nations, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels; United Nations Agenda 21 has been affirmed and modified at subsequent United Nations conferences and various countries have become signatories, including the United States; and

WHEREAS, because United Nations Agenda 21 is not a treaty, the United States Senate has been unable to hold a formal debate or vote to ratify it, and the executive branch has not acted on it in any way; nevertheless, there is support in Congress for United Nations Agenda 21 and over 528 United States cities have become members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international sustainability organization that helps to implement the Agenda 21 and Local Agenda 21 concepts across the world; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, national sovereignty is deemed a social injustice and opposition to the policy has increased over the last 10 years in the United States at the local, state, and federal levels, and several state and local governments have passed legislation rejecting United Nations Agenda 21 as “erosive of American sovereignty”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly recognize the need to oppose United Nations Agenda 21 due to its radical plan of purported “sustainable development,” and that the General Assembly recognize the policy’s infringement on the American way of life and individual freedoms and ability to erode American sovereignty.

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit a copy of this resolution to the United States Secretary of State, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation in order that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia in this matter during their deliberations.

DTSC Requests Public Comment on Another Draft of the Green Chemistry Regulations

California Green Chemistry Regulations:

The saga of California’s nascent Green Chemistry program continues. Last week, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released the revised text (PDF) of its proposed Safer Consumer Product Regulations. The comment period for the revisions started on January 29 and closes on February 28, 2013.

Notably, the revised rules significantly pare down the list of potential Chemicals of Concern (COCs), which are now referred to as “Candidate Chemicals,” from over 3,000 to approximately 1,200. The Candidate Chemicals  are drawn from lists of substances which exhibit one or more hazard trait. The revisions also clarify that the list of Priority Products to be regulated will be developed and updated through the Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.

In addition, DTSC modified the applicability of upfront exemptions for certain products, providing an exemption for products already regulated by other laws that provide comparable health and environmental protections. However, products which are manufactured, stored, or transported through California solely for use outside of the state, or used in California solely for the manufacture of non-consumer products will no longer be exempted, although these factors will be considered in the product prioritization process.

Requirements for the certification and accreditation of assessors involved in developing Alternatives Analyses (AA) have been relaxed in favor of a public review and comment process for AA reports, a choice that seems likely to increase the administrative burden and place confidential business information at greater risk. The scope of evaluating economic impacts for AA reports has also been limited to “a monetized comparison of public health and environmental costs, and costs to governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations that manage waste, oversee environmental cleanup and restoration efforts, and/or are charged with protecting natural resources, water quality, and wildlife.”

Finally, DTSC’s ability to make regulatory responses has been further refined and clarified. For example, the revised proposal requires DTSC to provide notice (with accompanying public comment period) of its proposed regulatory response determination no later than 90 days after it issues a notice of compliance or disapproval for a submitted AA report. The revised proposal also limits the agency’s ability to impose certain regulatory responses on manufacturers only, and not on retailers or importers.

More details on the revised proposed regulations, including how to submit comments and a comprehensive summary of changes from the agency’s last proposal, are available on the DTSC’s website.

Global Mercury Reduction Treaty Finalized

UN/Mercury:

Last week in Geneva, Switzerland, over 140 countries finalized the first global mercury reduction treaty, the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The treaty follows four years of negotiations among national environment ministers.

The Convention is named in honor of Minamata, the Japanese city which suffered severe public health effects from mercury pollution over 50 years ago, and where the diplomatic ceremony and official signing of the treaty will take place in October.

The Minamata Convention commits countries to reducing mercury in two main ways: (1) by phasing out its use in products and (2) by requiring new coal-fired power plants to employ the best available technology to cut mercury emissions. By 2020, manufacturing and trading in “mercury-added” products – like batteries (except ‘button cell’ batteries used in implantable medical devices); switches and relays; certain types of light bulbs; and soaps and cosmetics – will be banned. Other provisions of the treaty include phasing out primary mercury mining and restricting trade on mercury from decommissioning chlor-alkali plants.

Critics such as environmental NGOs have already found fault with the Convention’s lenient approach to existing coal plants and artisanal small-scale gold mining, the two largest global sources of mercury emissions. Under the Convention, countries where artisanal small-scale gold mining is practiced have within three years of the treaty entering into force to implement action plans to reduce mercury use in mining, but the treaty does not provide for an enforcement mechanism. Likewise, decisions on triggering thresholds for existing mercury-emitting facilities have been deferred until the first meeting of the treaty after it comes into force. Negotiators also agreed to funding mechanisms to assist developing countries implement the Convention and support capacity-building and technical assistance.

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) Releases Regular Reporting Requirements for Four New Substances

China:

On January 4, 2013, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) released regular reporting requirements for four new substances under its chemical registration regime. Two of the newly certified compounds are classified as hazardous and the other two as dangerous.  Under China’s new chemical registration regime, the “Provisions on the Environmental Administration of New Chemical Substances (MEP Decree No. 7),” companies with certificates must file annual reports to the Chemical Registration Center (CRC) of the MEP.  The reports detail activities that occurred with the registered chemicals.

This announcement marks the sixth set of chemicals to be certified under China’s registration program for new chemical substances. More details on the affected chemicals, as well as reporting deadlines and contact information with the Chemical Registration Center of the MEP, are available in the MEP’s original notice (in Chinese).

International Negotiations on Mercury Treaty

UN/Mercury:

International negotiators in Geneva for the fifth and final Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (“INC 5”) hope to complete a mercury reduction treaty by the end of this week, although officials warn that difficult issues remain to be resolved. Delegates from over 130 countries are expected to establish the first international legal instrument with enforceable limits on mercury emissions.

The negotiators must still determine issues including: the selection of products and processes containing mercury to be phased out; the deadline for such phase-outs; whether to adopt a complete ban on primary mercury mining; and programs for financial assistance, technology transfer, and capacity-building.

A draft text of the treaty provides for regulation of the supply and trade in mercury, as well as its use in products and processes. The draft also addresses how to: reduce mercury emissions from power plants and metal production facilities; safely store and treat waste containing mercury; and identify and evaluate contaminated sites.

A joint proposal submitted by the EU, Japan, and Jamaica would phase out mercury in products like fluorescent lamps, pesticides, and cosmetics by 2018, with a later phase-out of 2020 for batteries and measuring devices. The joint proposal also calls for phasing out mercury in the production of chlor-alkali, polyurethane, and acetaldehyde by 2018 to 2025.

Negotiators are still considering a ban on the export and sale of mercury from countries with primary mercury mining. Delegates have already reached a compromise on the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (“ASGM”), which recently surpassed coal burning as the major source of global mercury emissions. Under the deal, countries could continue to import mercury for ASGM if they develop national action plans to reduce mercury emissions. In addition, the draft treaty permits the continued use of mercury in producing vinyl chloride monomer (“VCM”), an intermediary chemical used in manufacturing PVC plastic.

In the run-up to the conference, UNEP released two reports warning of the growing environmental and health risks of mercury exposure. The reports present estimates and trends of mercury contamination; for example, in the past century, mercury levels have doubled in the top 100 meters of the world’s oceans. UNEP argues that a global reduction treaty would reduce health problems linked to mercury, including neurological and behavioral disorders.

EPA Removes 16 Chemicals from HPV 'Orphan' List

TSCA:

On December 19, 2012, the Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) recommended to EPA that 16 High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program orphan chemicals be removed from the TSCA Section 4(e) Priority Testing List.  (Federal Register notice available here.)   The chemicals are listed below. The ITC determined that appropriate actions have been taken to evaluate the hazardous potential of these chemicals.  Public comments are due January 18, 2013.

CAS No.

Chemical Name

ITC Report

Removal Rationale

62-56-6

Thiourea

55

EPA NPRM

81-16-3

1-Naphthalenesulfonic acid, 2-amino-

55

55 OECD SIDS

84-69-5

1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, 1,2-bis(2-methylpropyl) ester

55

EPA NPRM

91-68-9

Phenol, 3-(diethylamino)-

55

Sponsored chemical

110-18-9

1,2-Ethanediamine, N1,N1,N2,N2-tetramethyl-

55

Sponsored chemical

119-33-5

Phenol, 4-methyl-2-nitro-

55

OECD SIDS program

121-69-7

Benzenamine, N,N-dimethyl-

55

Sponsored chemical

131-57-7

Methanone, (2-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)phenyl-

55

EPA NPRM

870-72-4

Methanesulfonic acid, 1-hydroxy-, sodium salt (1:1)

55

EPA NPRM

6473-13-8

2-Naphthalenesulfonicacid, 6-[2-(2,4-diaminophenyl)diazenyl]-3- [2-[4-[[4-[2-[7-[2-(2,4-diaminophenyl)diazenyl]-1-hydroxy-3-sulfo-2-naphthalenyl]diazenyl]phe nyl]amino]-3-sulfophenyl]diazenyl]-4-hydroxy-, sodium salt (1:3)

55

EPA NPRM

28188-24-1

Octadecanoic acid, 1,1′-2- (hydroxymethyl)-2-[[(1- oxooctadecyl)oxy]methyl]- 1,3-propanediyl ester

55

EPA NPRM

61788-44-1

Phenol, styrenated

56

Sponsored chemical

68334-01-0

Disulfides, alkylaryl dialkyl diaryl, petroleum refinery spent caustic oxidn. products

55

Sponsored chemical

68457-74-9

Phenol, isobutylenated methylstyrenated

56

Sponsored chemical

68915-39-9

Cyclohexane, oxidized, aq. ext., sodium salt

55

Analog to CAS No. 68915-38-8

90640-80-5

Anthracene oil

55

OECD SIDS program

IRIS Remains Under Fire

Risk Assessment/IRIS:

EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (“IRIS”), which assesses the human health risks associated with chemical exposure, has come under fire from the head of the scientific panel charged by Congress to review the program.

In recent years, IRIS has been the subject of much criticism, causing Congress to direct a panel of the National Research Council (“NRC”), an arm of the National Academies, to review EPA’s assessment of arsenic and other chemicals and issue recommendations to improve “scientific and technical performance.” NRC is also currently conducting a review of the overall IRIS process for developing assessments and the current methods available for weight-of-evidence analyses, with the goal of recommending “approaches for weighing scientific evidence for chemical hazard and dose-response assessments.”

In 2011, NRC found fault with the agency’s IRIS assessment of formaldehyde, and EPA is in in the process of implementing some of the panel’s recommendations from that review.

However, EPA’s attempts to improve the program have provoked criticism from the very panel whose recommendations the agency is trying to adopt. At a December 18, 2012 meeting with EPA officials, the head of the NRC review panel, Professor Jonathan Samet of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, raised concerns that EPA’s ongoing changes to the IRIS process presented the panel with a difficult “moving target.” Samet noted that “it seems like literally every aspect of the IRIS assessment process” is changing, complicating NRC’s review.

EPA’s newly revised IRIS process will be on display in its assessment of benzo[a]pyrene, which is expected to be released in coming months.

In another example of overlapping agendas, both EPA and NRC have planned upcoming events on weight-of-evidence assessments. Vince Cogliano, head of the IRIS program, told meeting attendees that EPA would coordinate with NRC so that the two events would be complementary and further strengthen weight-of-evidence analyses.

Meanwhile, EPA has also announced that it is “restarting” its IRIS assessment of arsenic. The new assessment process is expanded to include inhalation risks and will also combine studies of cancer and non-cancer effects for a broader overview of the chemical’s health risks. EPA held a January 8-9, 2013 workshop to gather public input on the assessment, the first meeting of its kind. The NRC panel reviewing the arsenic assessment will also collect public input and provide EPA with an interim report prior to EPA’s release of the draft assessment, which the panel will also peer review.

CRS Report Published on Chemical Regulation Issues for 113th Congress

TSCA Reform:

Last week, the Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) released a new report previewing chemical regulation issues for the 113th Congress. According to CRS, lawmakers are likely to prioritize legislative priorities that languished in the last Congress, like bills that would require increased public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing as well as a proposal to broadly reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”).

Legislative TSCA reform efforts are already under way; in a January 4, 2013 statement on EPA’s release of its TSCA Work Plan draft risk assessments, Sen. Frank Lautenberg emphasized the continuing need to pass TSCA reform. A long-time advocate of TSCA reform, Sen. Lautenberg promised that he would re-introduce his Safe Chemicals Act. Last summer, the Safe Chemicals Act was successfully reported out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works but failed to win Republican support and never reached a floor vote. Sen. David Vitter is reportedly preparing a competing TSCA reform bill for the new Congress as well.

CRS also highlighted scientific integrity issues that have been raised in recent years, such as the compositional balance of EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board and the need for reforming the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (“IRIS”) for conducting chemical risk assessments. Legislators may also pick up where the 112th Congress left off on exempting the regulation of certain pesticide applications under the Clean Water Act. In addition, Congress may amend existing statutes to implement three U.S.-signed treaties on the reduction of persistent organic pollutants (“POPs”). In appropriations activity, CRS reported that Congress is expected to revise parameters for grants that address lead paint hazards in older homes, a program which is generally funded at over $100 million.

EPA Releases First Set of Draft Risk Assessments Under Existing Chemicals Work Plan Effort

On January 4, EPA  released for public comment draft risk assessments, for particular uses, on five chemicals found in common household products. The draft risk assessments were developed as part of the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan, which identified common chemicals for review over the coming years to assess any impacts on people’s health and the environment. Following public comment, the agency will seek an independent, scientific peer review of the assessments before beginning to finalize them in the fall of 2013.

“The draft risk assessments released today for public review and comment highlight the agency’s ongoing commitment to ensure the safety of chemicals we encounter in our daily lives,” said James J. Jones, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The public and scientific peer review will ensure use of the best science to evaluate any impacts of these substances on people’s health and the environment.”

The five assessments address the following chemical uses: methylene chloride or dichloromethane (DCM) and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint stripper products; trichloroethylene (TCE) as a degreaser and a spray-on protective coating; antimony trioxide (ATO) as a synergist in halogenated flame retardants; and 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8,-hexamethylcyclopenta-[γ]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) as a fragrance ingredient in commercial and consumer products. The draft assessments focus either on human health or ecological hazards for specific uses which are subject to regulation under TSCA. Three of the draft risk assessments— DCM, NMP, and TCE— indicate a potential concern for human health under specific exposure scenarios for particular uses. The preliminary assessments for ATO and HHCB indicate a low concern for ecological health.

EPA recommends the public follow product label directions and take precautions that can reduce exposures, such as using the product outside or in an extremely well ventilated area and wearing protective equipment to reduce exposure. If EPA concludes in finalizing the risk assessments that there is a potential for concern, the agency will take action as appropriate to address possible risks.

The draft assessments were undertaken as part of EPA’s efforts to identify chemicals for review under the TSCA Work Plan, which EPA released in March 2012. At that time, EPA identified 83 chemicals as candidates for review over the coming years and outlined the data sources and other information the agency would use in the reviews. This initiative is part of EPA’s comprehensive approach to enhance the current chemicals management program within the limits of existing TSCA authorities. EPA continues to support updating TSCA to strengthen and modernize the law.

Additional information on the TSCA Work Plan effort and the specific draft risk assessments can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/workplans.html

 

EPA Announces Proposed Revisions to FIFRA Minimum Risk Exemption

FIFRA:

In a December 31, 2012 Federal Register notice, (77 Fed. Reg. 76,979) EPA announced a new proposed rule that would revise the labeling requirements for minimum risk pesticide products. The proposed rule affects section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) by changing how minimum risk pesticides are identified on product labels as well as the way ingredient lists are organized in the implementing regulations. In addition, producer contact information will be required on product labels.

Under FIFRA’s § 25(b) minimum risk exemption, pesticides with active and inert ingredients which are demonstrably safe do not need to be registered with EPA. These permitted ingredients are listed in 40 CFR 152.25(f), but because of ambiguities across the various ingredient lists, confusion remains as to which ingredients are covered and how they should be labeled, leading to increased regulatory burden and inefficiencies for state regulators. Many chemicals may be known by producers, regulators, and consumers by different names; for example, soybean oil may be described on a product label as “Glycine Soja Oil.”

EPA’s new proposed rule is intended to make clear which active ingredients are permitted in exempted pesticide products, and does not add or remove any ingredients from the list. Instead, EPA will identify permitted active ingredients by re-organizing them in tables including the chemical’s “Label Display Name” (e.g., “Citric Acid”), “Chemical Name” as determined by the Chemical Abstract Services (“CAS”) (e.g., “2-Hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid”) and “CAS Registry Number,” a unique identifier which is easy to use for consumers and widely accepted by industry and regulators alike. In addition, the table will include a “Specifications” column which will be empty for most ingredients, but will indicate the United States Pharmacopeia (“USP”) standard for “approximately 20 of the active ingredients.”

Inactive ingredients will also be re-organized into a table similar to the one proposed for active ingredients. This table will codify “List 4A,” the list of chemicals currently maintained on EPA’s website. In addition, EPA proposes to incorporate references to other CFR sections which describe which chemicals may be used as inert ingredients for the purpose of the minimum risk exemption. In the case of pesticides that may come in contact with foods, for which there are no federal tolerance levels or tolerance exemptions, EPA proposes to amend the text of the exemption to direct users to an EPA website for more information on which of the listed chemicals may be used in food-use pesticide products.

Finally, EPA proposes that exempted product labels must use the “label display name” in the product’s ingredient listing. The proposed rule also requires that producers of minimum risk pesticide products must include their company’s contact information (address and telephone number) on the product label. In the case of a product label which includes the name of a company that is not the producer, EPA proposes that the label text should clarify that the product was “packed for,” “distributed by,” or “sold by” the non-producer company.

EPA is requesting comments on various topics related to this proposal, including: the format and information to be included in the new tables; whether reference to an online resource with more information on food-use pesticide tolerance requirements would provide clarity for stakeholders; impacts on state and local agencies; and whether products would need to be reformulated as a result of the changes. The comment period for this proposed rule ends on April 1, 2013.