Given the considerable industry stakeholder confusion and angst that has arisen related to the January 27, 2020, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Register notice on identifying the preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 chemical substances that EPA designated as high-priority substances for risk evaluation and for which fees will be charged (85 Fed. Reg. 4661), EPA leadership has repeatedly stated that EPA is considering options to alleviate these concerns. With this in mind, industry stakeholders that believe they may be impacted by the January 27 notice may wish to consider suspending ongoing internal deliberations on self-reporting obligations until EPA provides additional guidance. Importantly also, EPA staff has publicly stated that a 30-day extension to self-identify will be forthcoming.
As reported by B&C in its TSCAblog™, during the defined response period, manufacturers (including importers) are required to self-identify as manufacturers of a high-priority substance irrespective of whether they are included on the preliminary lists identified by EPA. EPA states that where appropriate, entities may also avoid or reduce fee obligations by making certain certifications consistent with the final rule on fees for the administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The comment period also provides the public an opportunity to correct errors or provide comments on the preliminary lists.
As reported in our February 26, 2020, memorandum, EPA indicated plans to extend the deadline by 30 days, making the new deadline April 27, 2020. This is consistent with remarks made last week by Mark Hartman during a presentation at the Small Business Administration Environmental Roundtable meeting on February 28, 2020, and Alexandra Dunn in her remarks at ChemCon America 2020 on March 2, 2020.
EPA leadership has also repeatedly stated that EPA appreciates the practical challenges that the fees rule presents and is looking at possible options to address these concerns. We anticipate that any additional EPA guidance on options to address industry concerns will be included in the notice extending the March 27, 2020, deadline. We therefore advise that potentially impacted industry stakeholders suspend efforts on determining self-identification obligations until the EPA notice is issued.
Information forming a consortium is available in our March 2, 2020, memorandum, “The Essential Value of Forming TSCA Consortia.”
Information about TSCA fees is available on EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/tsca-fees. EPA has posted a transcript of the February 24, 2020, conference call, as well as a transcript of a December 19, 2019, conference call on TSCA fees associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations.
The preliminary lists of manufacturers (including importers) of the 20 high-priority chemical substances for risk evaluation are available in Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0677 and on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/TSCA-fees.
The Notice of TSCA Fee Action Participation form is available in the docket for the final rule at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0401-0079. EPA has stated that this form is for reference only. It does, however, provide context as to the response options anticipated under this EPA action.
More information on the 20 substances designated as high-priority substances is available in our December 20, 2019, memorandum, “Final List of High-Priority Chemicals Will Be Next to Undergo Risk Evaluation under TSCA.”
More information on the final TSCA fees rule is available in our September 28, 2018, memorandum, “EPA Issues Final TSCA Fees Rule.”