On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg) during a signing ceremony. Lautenberg represents years of negotiation and is a towering achievement to enhance the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to review industrial and consumer chemicals and provide the public with confidence that chemical products do not pose unreasonable risks.
Of particular interest to biobased chemical manufacturers and users, Lautenberg requires that EPA maintain the use of Class 2 nomenclature and the Soap and Detergent Association Nomenclature System. In addition, if a manufacturer or processor demonstrates that a "substance appears multiple times on the [Inventory] under different [Chemical Abstracts Service] numbers, [EPA] may recognize the multiple listings as a single chemical substance." While it is not yet clear how the nomenclature provisions of Lautenberg will affect the ability of novel biobased chemicals to be incorporated into supply chains without triggering new chemical notification, it does raise the profile of Class 2 nomenclature and may enable additional high-level discussions related to source-based nomenclature and the barriers that such nomenclature present to new chemicals.
On June 17, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open teleconference of the State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB) in the Federal Register. STEAB advises DOE and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) on the operation of its energy efficiency programs, renewable energy programs, and grant programs for research and deployment in energy efficiency and renewable energy fields. The tentative agenda includes:
"Receive STEAB Task Force updates on action items and revised objectives for FY 2016, discuss follow-up opportunities and engagement with EERE and other DOE staff as needed to keep Task Force work moving forward, continue engagement with DOE, EERE and EPSA staff regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and initiatives, and receive updates on member activities within their states. Recap June meeting and follow-up on action items from that meeting."
On June 15, 2016, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced three new members of the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP). The new members are Jack Linard, Ph.D., Personal Care Regulatory Affairs Team for Unilever North America; Elaine Cohen Hubal, Ph.D., Deputy National Program Director for EPA's Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS) Research Program; and Mark Nicas, Ph.D., MPH, CIH, Associate Adjunct Professor Emeritus for the University of California, Berkeley. The new members will work with existing panel members to advise DTSC on Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations implementation. GRSP will also provide input and advice on other discussion topics, including the Department's Alternative Analysis Guide, and the implementation of the 2015-2017 Priority Products Work Plan.
On June 14, 2016, DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), through UT-Battelle, LLC, published a report determining that bioenergy crops do not impact food security. The report, "Reconciling food security and bioenergy: priorities for action," was put together by experts from ten institutions, including ORNL, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the World Bank, and Imperial College London. The report determined that previous studies finding bioenergy crops to blame for food shortages had underlying assumptions that lead to incorrect conclusions. The authors additionally recommended using flex-crop schemes utilizing crops that may be used as either fuel or food depending on economic and environmental changes.
||PR Web, "Greenyug Announces U.S. Midwest Biobased Chemical Plant"
||Environmental Leader, "Will Lego's $150 Million Sustainable Plastics Challenge Make Biobased The Norm?"
||Ohio Soybean Council, "Soy-Based Replacement For BPA Receives Prestigious Bio-Based Innovation Award"
||Plastics News, "Anellotech Moving Closer To Production For Bio-Based PET"
||Reuters, "U.S. Navy 'Green Fleet' Fills Up With Italian-Made Biofuel"
||The Street, "Demand For Aviation Biofuels Grows As Green Regulations Loom"
||Bloomberg, "The Bio-Plastics Revolution Is Coming, And It Won't Be Cheap"
||Phys.org, "New Understanding Of Cellulose Could Lead To Tailored Biofuels"
||Genetic Literacy Project, "Experts Split On Whether Current Regulations Can Handle Coming Synthetic Biology Boom"
||Boston Herald, "Ginkgo Has Designs On Building Markets"
||Xanthella, "Algal Solutions For Local Energy Economy: Xanthella Ltd Are Very Pleased To Announce The Start Of A New Pioneering Project To Bring New Industry To Rural Areas Of Scotland Using Renewable Energy To Produce High Value Products"
On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA). The PGCCA honors green chemistry technologies that solve climate and environmental problems through creating business opportunities. Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) stated, "these innovations reduce the use of energy, hazardous chemicals and water, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. They even turn pollution into useful products. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products are safer for people's health and the environment. We will continue to work with the 2016 winners as their technologies are adopted in the marketplace."
This year's winners and technologies are:
These awards were presented during the 20th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon. Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor of the conference.
On June 9, 2016, European Bioplastics (EUBP) announced the support of a European Parliament (EP) report emphasizing the role of bioplastics in the creation of a circular bioeconomy. The report, produced by Italian MEP Simona Bonafè¨, outlines legislation that is needed to use waste more efficiently to create bio-based materials. Increasing the value of waste by promoting its use to create other bioproducts will help shift the linear bioeconomy to a circular, more efficient, bioeconomy. The report suggested defining composting and anaerobic digestion of organic waste as recycling, and requiring the collection of biowaste by 2020 in order to increase organic recycling of biowaste to 65 percent by 2025. On June 15, 2016, the EP debated possible new definitions of litter, with the intent of reducing both land and marine based litter by 50 percent by 2030.
On June 7, 2016, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576), after Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) dropped the hold placed on the bill. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on May 24, 2016, with a 403-12 roll call vote. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform is now only waiting for President Obama's signature, which is expected soon, based on the White House's endorsement of the bill in May. Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has collaborated with Chemical Watch to assemble TSCA experts to present a series of complimentary webinars titled "'The New TSCA' -- What You Need To Know." The speakers will include:
- Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, B&C;
- Richard A. Denison, Ph.D., Lead Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund;
- Charles M. Auer, Charles Auer & Associates, LLC, former Director of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and
- James V. Aidala, Senior Government Affairs Consultant, B&C, former EPA Assistant Administrator for Toxics.
The first webinar of the series, "Overview and Summary of Major Changes: What to Expect and When to Expect it," is taking place on June 13, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. PDT /11:00 a.m. EDT /4:00 p.m. BST.
On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an extension for the abstract submission deadline for the Bioenergy 2016 poster session. Abstract submissions were originally due June 3, 2016, but have been extended through June 10, 2016. Poster submitters will still be notified of acceptance by June 17, 2016. Abstracts must fit the following guidelines:
- Not exceed the maximum of 300 words;
- Explain validity and technical merit of the approach;
- Discuss how the poster will be used to engage Bioenergy 2016 attendees;
- Highlight applicability to the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) activities/Bioenergy 2016 theme; and
- Provide clarity of motivation, methods, results, and conclusions.
Designated Federal Officer for the Committee
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Mail Stop EE-3B
1000 Independence Avenue. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20585
A post from the Environmental Law Institute's "Vibrant Environment" Blog
By Lynn L. Bergeson
The last thing the push for TSCA reform needs is another delay, and Senator Paul's unexpected interest in H.R. 2576 has caused just that. Under typical circumstances, a Member's focused interest in legislation is refreshing, and as today highlights, entirely too infrequent. In this instance, the circuitous road to TSCA reform is anything but typical—the complexity of the legislation has invited an unusual divisiveness that has frustrated passage—and delay is the enemy of the good.
When TSCA reform achieved bipartisan support in 2015, the Miracle on 34th Street quality of it all invited cautious optimism that reform of our ancient chemical management law just may be possible after all. Through 2015 and early 2016, the roller coaster ride the legislation took between the House and Senate was both nerve-wracking and energizing. Members and others "close to the legislation" metered out bits of information, sufficient to telegraph the patient was alive but requiring extreme measure to stay afloat. When the House voted on May 24, 2016, by an overwhelming majority to approve H.R. 2576, there was a palpable buzz in the chemical community and a real sense that this insanely stubborn law was finally going to relent and get its much- needed overhaul.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Senator Paul put a hold on the bill's further consideration. Taking his explanation at face value, wishing to read the legislation is not an unreasonable request. In addition to wanting to read the legislation closely, Senator Paul reportedly is concerned about the enhanced criminalization provisions in the bill that raise fines for TSCA violations and enhance penalties for knowingly putting someone in imminent danger. Both of these changes are consistent with penalties stipulated in other federal environmental laws. Paul’s request to put a hold on TSCA, however, disturbs a fragile balance that is not well-suited to sustain disruption, and plainly breaks the momentum the legislation enjoyed before the Memorial Day recess.
It is imperative that days do not turn into weeks, or worse. We need this law, and we need it yesterday. TSCA has not kept pace with chemical innovation and EPA desperately needs enhanced authorities to manage potential risks from existing chemical substances. The Senate must make this vote a priority when it reconvenes so President Obama can sign it, as we expect he will, and we can start the important work of implementing the law.
On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) had resumed incentives for farmers and foresters producing biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. BCAP has $3 million in available funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The program was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and supports growers who produce energy biomass crops, or deliver forest and agriculture residues to a USDA-approved bioenergy or bioproducts facility. Facilities seeking enrollment in this program can apply through June 6, 2016. Farmers and forest landowners may enroll for biomass establishment and maintenance payouts for two existing projects cultivating shrub willow and giant miscanthus from June 15, 2016, through September 13, 2016. From June 15, 2016, through August 4, 2016, farmers and foresters may apply for biomass residue (including corn residue, diseased or insect infested wood materials, or orchard waste) removal and delivery incentives provided at a match of $1 for $1, up to $20 per dry ton.
On May 27, 2016, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of $8.8 million to increase production of advanced biofuels in 39 states. The USDA Advanced Biofuel Payment Program is providing the funding with payments being allocated based on the amount of advanced biofuels produced from non-corn kernel starch renewable biomass. Eligible feedstocks include crop residue, food waste, yard waste, vegetable oil, and animal fat. A full list of the 108 programs receiving payments is available online, with an average payment of $81,789. Applications are accepted annually for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program with the next round of applications due October 31, 2016.