Environmental groups increase pressure on EPA to release TSCA CBI rules.

Following the August 21 filing of a petition by a coalition of health, environmental and labor NGOs, EPA is under increased pressure to release its much-anticipated proposed rule on Confidential Business Information (CBI) under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Represented by Earthjustice, the coalition – whose members include the Environmental Defense Fund, BlueGreen Alliance, and Breast Cancer Fund – is petitioning EPA to propose rules to (1) automatically sunset “affirmative CBI determinations” after five years and (2) establish procedures for “reassertion” of CBI claims.

The rules sought by the Earthjustice coalition are the same ones that the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has urged the agency to adopt. Last spring, EPA told the OIG that a proposed CBI rule would be released by September 30, 2014, although the same rule was previously slated for release in spring 2014 and then August 2014. The proposed rule is expected to set time limits with automatic expiration dates and establish reassertion and re-substantiation requirements.

The coalition’s petition was filed under a general provision of the Administrative Procedure Act – rather than the citizens’ petitions provision in TSCA – meaning that the EPA must only respond “within a reasonable time.” Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelmann Lado told Chemical Watch that the coalition “wanted the clock ticking to actually finalize a rule and get it out the door.” The petition is available to read online [PDF].