The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (a/k/a the TSCA Reform Act), signed into law in 2016, was a major overhaul of the 40-year-old chemical law, reforming how new and existing chemicals are evaluated and deemed “safe.” Since the law’s passage, EPA has completed determinations on 1,602 new chemical cases. EPA has also taken action to ban or restrict use of five existing chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride, which EPA found to pose heightened risks.
EPA has expended considerable resources over the past two year to fulfil these new review and evaluation requirements. EPA has now taken action to pass some of those costs down to the chemical industry in the form of fees authorized by the TSCA Reform Act.
On September 27, 2018, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler signed the final Fees Rule, setting out the fees EPA will impose on industry to pay for the costly TSCA review process. The final rule will become effective one day after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen in the next few days.
Under the Fees Rule, affected businesses will begin incurring fees on October 1, 2018. The Fees Rule requires payment from manufactures when they take the following actions:
- Submit test data for EPA review
- Submit a pre-manufacture notice for a new chemicals or a notice of new use
- Manufacture or process a chemical substance that is the subject of a risk evaluation
- Request that EPA conduct a chemical risk evaluation
According to EPA, the Fees Rule will impact primarily the following industries:
- Chemical Manufacturers (NAICS code 325)
- Petroleum and Coal Products (NAICS code 324)
- Chemical, Petroleum and Merchant Wholesalers (NAICS code 424)
EPA estimates that the annualized fees collected from industry under the Fees Rule will be approximately $20 million, excluding fees collected for manufacturer-requested risk evaluations (which will be approximately $4.2 million). As required by the TSCA Reform Act, EPA will evaluate and readjust, if necessary, the fees every three years.
The Fees Rule will be found at 40 CFR chapter I, subchapter R (Parts 700-791).