Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is EPA Ready to Use TSCA Section 6 Again?

Bloomberg BNA is reporting that EPA may be on the verge of pulling out the TSCA Section 6 rulemaking book again, something they haven't touched since 1991 with the failed attempt to regulate asbestos.  The article, penned by long-time Chemical Regulation Reporter writer Pat Rizzuto, notes that the suggestion was made by current Acting Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Jim Jones.

According to Rizzuto, Jones said "We will try and exercise some muscle we have not exercised for decades."

His statements were made at a recent Environmental Council for the States (ECOS) forum.

Use of TSCA Section 6 authority has a high hurdle for EPA, who must demonstrate that the chemical in question poses a significant risk.  Since many existing chemicals often have little health and safety data available to review, and the request for such data requires demonstrating risk (something hard to do without data), the onus of Section 6 has been one of the major driving points for the recent attempts to reform TSCA. 

As has been noted many times here, it seems highly unlikely that Congress will make a serious attempt to pass TSCA reform legislation before the election...despite claims by all stakeholders that they are in favor of modernizing the 36 year old law.  It is perhaps that reality in mind that led to Jim Jones' suggestion - what better way to emphasize the need for TSCA reform than to fail again in using one of its primary authorities?  Perhaps this will give some impetus to Congress to change the law.

And even without Congressional action, maybe, just maybe the EPA can actually address the risks of some chemicals of concern.  As the article notes Jim Jones as saying: "If the chemical is safe, our work will be done."

If it isn't, EPA's work will have just begun.

The Bloomberg BNA article can be read in full here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

EPA Extends Reporting Deadline for Chemical Data Rule

News Flash - The USEPA has announced an extension of the reporting deadline for the CDR (formerly the IUR):

Jim Jones, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, has today signed a Federal Register Notice under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to extend the Chemical Data Rule (CDR) reporting period by six weeks to August 13, 2012, from the original due date of June 30, 2012.

More details are available in the prepublication version of the Federal Register notice.