The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 10, 2019, the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced in the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) on the U.S. bioeconomy. Calling for input from all interested parties on the U.S. bioeconomy, OSTP’s RFI aims to inform notable gaps, vulnerabilities, and areas to promote and protect in the bioeconomy that may benefit from federal government attention. Input from the public is welcome, including those with capital investments, those performing innovative research, and those developing enabling platforms and applications in the field of biological sciences. Of particular interest to OSTP are suggestions of areas of greatest priority within the bioeconomy. Comments are due on or prior to October 22, 2019.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the selection of the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) as Network Director for the U.S. Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research Team (TEAMER) Program. TEAMER is a three-year program that supports testing and research for marine energy technologies. It provides access to test facilities and technical expertise to assist technology developers with designing devices that save energy. In a collaborative effort, universities, established DOE National Laboratories, and National Marine Renewable Energy Centers will engage in the TEAMER Program’s efforts. The TEAMER Program is an EERE Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) project to strengthen U.S. water power research and development (R&D) and testing. WPTO aims to increase competitiveness while promoting economic prosperity and energy security.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On September 16, 2019, Governor of Virginia, Ralph S. Northam (D), signed Executive Order Forty-Three, establishing statewide objectives for clean energy production expansion. The target goals outlined in the Executive Order include a 30 percent increase of electricity powered by renewable energy resources by 2030, and achieving 100 percent of energy by carbon-neutral resources by 2050. Directing the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to develop a plan of action to meet the renewable energy goals, the plan should address issues related to storage, energy efficiency, equity, and environmental justice. Governor Northam emphasizes in his Executive Order how advancements in clean energy can offer Virginia an opportunity to address inequities for Virginia’s vulnerable populations. DMME is advised to work in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Secretary of Natural Resources, and the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to develop this plan. Governor Northam’s concerns related to this imperative issue clearly stand out in his Executive Order. The Executive Order was effective upon its signing.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On September 17, 2019, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) chaired a hearing to discuss the use and sourcing of minerals needed for clean energy technologies. Highlighting the fact that renewable technologies such as batteries and wind turbines are built from minerals, Senator Murkowski stated that “[t]he United States is capable of being a leader in the development of the minerals needed for clean energy technologies.” As Chairman for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, she further argued that for this to be achieved, the production, manufacturing, and recycling of minerals must expand to rebuild a robust domestic supply chain. In her opening statement, Senator Murkowski announced the release of a report by the Congressional Research Service. The report summarizes analyses of the quantity of materials needed to meet renewable and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. The report includes an analysis of a World Bank Group (WB) study, which forecasts that demand for certain minerals will increase under an aggressive scenario to limit warming. The other two analyses in the report consist of DOE critical mineral demand projections and a gross domestic product (GDP) electricity demand study by Halada et al.

Tags: GHG, Report

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

Recently, the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council (NDCUC) announced the implementation of its new program, the North Dakota Unleaded88 Expansion Program, in partnership with the North Dakota Ethanol Council (NDEC). The goal of the program is to partner with fuel retailers to provide drivers with Unleaded 88, which consists of a higher octane fuel containing 15 percent ethanol blend with 85 percent gasoline. Through June 30, 2020, NDCUC will grant funds to fuel retailers for infrastructure needs to offer Unleaded88. Claiming that Unleaded88 provides a safe, economical, and cleaner fuel option to consumers, NDCUC’s Chairman, Terry Wehlander states that 40 to 60 percent of North Dakota’s corn crop is purchased by its five ethanol plants. Therefore, Wehlander and the Chairman of NDEC both argue that increasing the availability of Unleaded88 will create more market stability for consumers and agricultural producers. Retailers interested in applying for the program can find the application and guidelines on NDCUC’s website and submit the application via e-mail.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

This month, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, published its 2019 Sustainability Report titled The Future Is Clean. In its 2019 report, ACI outlines its sustainability goals, which include increased transparency, the reduction of GHG emissions, and the move toward a circular global economy. As part of its activities to achieve such goals, ACI has worked on filling knowledge gaps, harnessing power in the power of convening, uniting for a cleaner world, and further developing its sustainability organizations. In its report, ACI also highlights its support for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how its future goals can positively contribute to the SDGs.

Managed by B&C® Consortia Management (BCCM), BRAG is a consortium of international and well-respected member organizations and companies engaged in the development of biobased or renewable chemical products. BRAG members recognize the importance of advocacy, education, and communication. For further information, see the BRAG webpage on membership.


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 3, 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and National Health Commission (NHC) jointly issued a final Technical Framework Guideline for Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances (Trial). This Trial Guideline provides a basic framework, including evaluation steps, technical requirements, and report preparation, for the environmental risk assessment of a single chemical substance under standard production and uses. The Trial Guideline does not apply to mixtures or exposures due to accidents or leakages. The “four-step” evaluation includes hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. It also outlines uncertainty analysis, data quality assessment, spatial scale of exposure assessment, risk assessment of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemical substances, and consideration for risk assessment of metals and their compounds. For further details, see The ACTA Group’s commentary here.


 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 9, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an update to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. According to EPA’s announcement, the only part of the plan that has been modified is its language of the strategic goals. Aiming to better reflect EPA’s environmental and policy goals, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that this “update helps us [EPA] more clearly articulate our goals and commitment to providing greater regulatory certainty to states, tribes, and local governments.” The update includes three updated goal statements as follows:

  • Goal 1: A Cleaner, Healthier Environment -- Deliver a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment for all Americans and future generations by carrying out the Agency’s core mission.
  • Goal 2: More Effective Partnerships -- Provide certainty to states, localities, tribal nations, and the regulated community in carrying out shared responsibilities and communicating results to all Americans.
  • Goal 3: Greater Certainty, Compliance, and Effectiveness -- Increase certainty, compliance, and effectiveness by applying the rule of law to achieve more efficient and effective agency operations, service delivery, and regulatory relief.”

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 29, 2019, an article titled Population susceptibility: A vital consideration in chemical risk evaluation under the Lautenberg Toxic Substances Control Act was published in the PLOS Biology Journal. The article, written by academics, criticizes EPA for not identifying pregnant women, infants, children, families near industrial sites, and other susceptible and highly exposed populations in its risk evaluations. This lack of consideration for vulnerable populations, according to the article, is the lead cause of EPA’s future challenge to incorporate current scientific principles and address data deficits in the process of identifying, evaluating, and mitigating unreasonable risks. Given this challenge, Koman et al. urge EPA to act quickly to identify potentially highly exposed or susceptible populations and subpopulations, evaluate risks, and safeguard health through primary prevention


 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 9, 2019, the House of Representatives returned to work after a six-week August recess and passed a package of energy-related bills. By a roll call vote of 295 to 114, the House approved a bill (H.R. 1768) that would extend the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act through 2024. The vote would keep alive an EPA program that takes older diesel-powered equipment off the market. House lawmakers also approved: H.R. 1420 to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings; H.R. 2114 to provide states with financial and technical support on energy security; and H.R. 1760 that would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a uranium program.

Tags: Energy

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 10, 2019, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on the clean energy economy. In a notice, the Subcommittee stated that there are growing opportunities for small companies, including farmers, to respond to energy challenges through new and innovative solutions. The clean energy economy covers many industries that are dominated by small businesses, including construction, agriculture, and renewable energy sectors. The Committee explored the economic opportunities for small businesses that come through efforts to address unpredictable weather patterns, reduce fossil fuel consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy efficiency. Witnesses shared how small businesses are growing and creating well-paying jobs within clean energy sectors, as well as what they need to continue to succeed. Testifying before the committee were Lynn Abramson, President, Clean Energy Business Network; Thomas Brooks, General Manager, Western Dubuque Biodiesel LLC; Michael Williams, Deputy Director, BlueGreen Alliance; and David Spigelmyer, President, Marcellus Shale Coalition. Hearing information, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the hearing are available online.


 
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The Product Stewardship Society (PSS) Board of Directors inducted Lynn L. Bergeson as President during its annual board meeting preceding the Product Stewardship conference being held in Columbus, Ohio, September 10-12, 2019. Ms. Bergeson, Managing Partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), will serve as President through 2021. Ms. Bergeson has served on the PSS Board of Directors since 2015.

PSS is an affiliate of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA®), launched in 2012 to drive the product stewardship profession forward by providing resources, professional development, and networking opportunities that serve the needs of professionals globally. PSS and AIHA announced in late 2018 the joint development of an ANSI-certified product stewardship credential, and progress toward the launch of the test-based credential continues in 2019. PSS recently published Professional Practices of Product Stewardship, a first-of-its-kind textbook providing deep insight into core areas of product stewardship, including product risk management, product life cycle management, management of product compliance and liability, and product stewardship strategy and program management. Other PSS publications include Realizing the Full Business Value of Product Stewardship, for which Ms. Bergeson authored the chapter “Legal Considerations Relating to Tort and Product Liability Law,” and Core Competencies for the Product Stewardship Professional. All publications are available on the PSS website.

Lynn L. Bergeson is also Vice Chair of the International Bar Association (IBA) Agricultural Law Section, Vice Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Committee on Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know, and a former Chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. Ms. Bergeson is consistently recognized among the elite practitioners of chemical regulatory law by Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and The Washingtonian, among others. Chambers and Partners USA 2019 edition, where she was ranked Band 1, notes Ms. Bergeson’s “stellar reputation in the environment space”and quotes clients as saying: “If you need advice in the chemical regulatory arena, there is no better choice than Lynn.”Ms. Bergeson is also President of The Acta Group (Acta®), B&C’s scientific and regulatory consulting arm with offices in Washington, D.C., the United Kingdom, and Belgium, and President of B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM), which helps the chemical industry form consortia to achieve shared research, testing, and regulatory goals.

Tags: PSS, Bergeson

 

 
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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 5, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science announced an open meeting of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC). The purpose of the meeting will be to provide advice to the Office of Science Director on various technical issues that occur in the development and implementation of the Biological and Environmental Research Program. Tentative agenda topics listed by DOE include news from the Office of Science and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER); workshop briefing and research topic discussions; a report from the Biological Systems Science and Climate and Environmental Science Divisions; science talks; and an opportunity for public comment, among other topics. The meeting will take place in North Bethesda, MD, on October 24, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) and on October 25, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT).

Tags: DOE

 
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