Legislative & Regulatory Issues

Toxic Substances Control Act

Both the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) and the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697) enjoyed broad support since they were first introduced and passed their respective chambers. The bills then went through an informal conference process where their differences were ironed out, and a compromise was made. 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on final text of this House/Senate compromise on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, passing it with a 403-12 vote. The Senate then approved the compromise bill by unanimous consent. Following passage in the House and Senate, President Obama signed the bill into law on June 22, 2016.

The final text and more information on the enacted TSCA reform bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, can be found here. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now working on major implementation rules, including procedural rules on prioritization and risk-evaluation it has already proposed, as well as a proposed rule on an inventory reset. A proposed rule on a fee structure should emerge this spring. There were some mandates, including new provisions on new chemicals, that became effective as of the date of enactment. Final rules on prioritization, risk-evaluation and the inventory reset should come out in June 2017.

SOCMA is engaged in the implementation process. View SOCMA’s comments on EPA’s major rulemaking activities here. For more information, please contact Dan Newton at (571) 348-5122.

Risk Management Plan

The Risk Management Plan (RMP) is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation from the Clean Air Act Amendments.

RMP regulates facilities holding more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance. Those facilities must file an RMP with EPA. The plan must include:

  • Hazard assessment that details the potential effects of an accidental release, an accident history of the last five years, and an evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental releases;
  • Prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures; and
  • Emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and response agencies (e.g the fire department) should an accident occur.

The latest update to RMP, which was finalized by the Obama Administration on January 13, 2017, has faced much criticism from industry, including SOCMA. The rule, which was intended to take effect March 21, 2017, would have required chemical facilities to deliver additional extremely sensitive information of processes and chemicals stored on site.

On March 13, 2017, Administrator Scott Pruitt delayed implementation of the RMP rule until June 19, 2017. The 90-day extension will allow EPA to further review the rule and implement a new rulemaking.

Congress has also target RMP under the Congressional Review Act with H.J. Res.59, which would nullify the update to RMP. This gives SOCMA two avenues to pursue.

SOCMA supports EPA’s delay and the CRA efforts of Congress.

Hazardous Waste Generator Rule

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the “Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule,”  which updates the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Generator (HWG) Regulatory Program enacted in 1980.

On February 24, 2017, SOCMA and other trade associations filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The main concern listed in the petitions is a provision that will change the criteria under which a generator of hazardous waste is deemed in violation of the RCRA permitting program applicable only to facilities that treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste (TSDFs). Under the new rule, failure to meet any one of EPA’s long list of ‘conditions for exemption’ could subject a generator to multiple violations and substantial penalties. Even a minor deviation in compliance would cause a generator to now be considered an illegal TSDF.

 

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