DTSC Delay of Official Draft SCPA Regulation Is Too Coincidental

Green Chemistry Regulations:

As of Friday, stakeholders have reason to doubt the assertions of good faith by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  As readers will undoubtedly know, DTSC has made a concerted effort to reassure stakeholders that it’s operating in good faith – protecting the interests of all stakeholders – when drafting the Safer Consumer Product Alternatives (SCPA) Regulation.  There are YouTube videos and Facebook feeds, and many public meetings have been held.  That facade crumbled Friday.

Last week, DTSC made known that it was deferring until April publication of the official draft of the SCPA Regulation.  The regulation had been scheduled for publication this month, launching the formal rulemaking process.  The delay in itself wasn’t necessarily bad; DTSC could have needed time to refine the regulation in response to the hundreds of pages of public comments it received on the last informal draft. 

On Friday, however, Director Raphael’s confirmation hearing was scheduled for — you guessed it — this month, March 28 to be exact.  Surprise!  So, gone is the opportunity for questioning on the official draft.  No one at the hearing will know – except DTSC staff and other insiders – what the formal draft looks like.  One has to ask:  Why the secrecy?  Why the avoidance?

Delaying publication until after the DTSC Director’s confirmation hearing arguably signals a lack of good faith.  The timing in no way appears coincidental.  One would be justified in expecting the impending draft to be quite controversial.  Whose ox is getting gored is anyone’s guess, although suspicions abound given the deaf ear DTSC has recently turned to a number of industry’s legitimate concerns (e.g., hazard identification, de  minimis thresholds).

Stay tuned for more posts on this impending and important regulatory development.