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.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2020, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary to establish a renewable feedstock reimbursement program. Aiming to support biofuel producers that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this bill can be cited as the Renewable Fuel Feedstock Reimbursement Act of 2020. Under the reimbursement program, biofuel producers will be reimbursed for their feedstock purchases from January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020, through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Eligible parties will consist of those that produce renewable fuel used as transportation fuel and eligible feedstocks mean renewable biomass intended for production of the aforementioned renewable fuel. Furthermore, to be eligible to receive reimbursements, eligible entities must enter into an agreement with the USDA Secretary.

The two U.S. Senators initially introduced this idea in April 2020 as an amendment to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act, which assists the biofuels industry sector. Assistance, however, was not included in the CARES Act package. Senators Klobuchar and Grassley, with industry support, now hope that this second attempt in support of the biofuels industry follows through.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 28, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the issuance of the final rule amending the definition of small manufacturer, including a new definition for small government in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Effective June 29, 2020, these amendments affect certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements in the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule under TSCA.

Tags: TSCA, CDR

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2020, EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) announced the opening of a 15-day comment period on its proposal to register a new active ingredient and biopesticide product. The biopesticide product, PHC-91398, would contain Ea peptide 91398, the new active ingredient that was derived from naturally occurring bacterium and induces natural plant defenses. The plant’s reaction to the peptide “activates a hypersensitive response in treated plants, which enables resistance to bacterial and fungal infection, as well as suppression of nematode egg production.” PHC-91398, the biopesticide product, is intended for use on a wide range of agricultural crops and home and garden uses. There will be three product applications:

  • Pre-plant foliar or root dip;
  • Foliar application in greenhouses and fields through a conventional spray, drip, or aerial equipment; and
  • Seed treatment.

Upon review of the data submitted in support of Ea peptide 91398, EPA states that toxicity, allergenicity to humans, and/or adverse effects on non-target organisms is not expected.

EPA is seeking comments, particularly from pesticide users, registrants, public interest organizations, and state, tribal, and local governments. Comments are due on or prior to June 5, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced the availability of approximately $21.3 million in funding for 106 Phase I small business innovation projects. The funds, announced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, are part of DOE’s $53 million available for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects. The selected small businesses represent 26 states. Most Phase I awards are $200,000 for a performance period of less than one year. Nine EERE technology offices will fund the awards under 12 topics.

Tags: DOE, EERE, Funding

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued the much-anticipated final Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient (SECURE) rule. 85 Fed. Reg. 29790. The rule is intended to update and modernize USDA’s biotechnology regulations under the Plant Protection Act. The final rule amends the regulations regarding the movement (importation, interstate movement, and environmental release) of certain genetically engineered (GE) organisms in response to advances in genetic engineering and APHIS’s understanding of the plant pest risk posed by GE organisms, thereby reducing the regulatory burden for developers of organisms that are unlikely to pose plant pest risks. For more information, please read the full memorandum here.

Tags: USDA, APHIS, SECURE, GE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 18, 2020, USDA issued its final rule for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (9003 Program), which incorporates the statutory definition changes as required in the Agricultural Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) and adopts the interim rule published on June 14, 2015. The 9003 Program replaces the Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP), which guaranteed loans to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries using eligible technology. The final rule makes several specific changes to BAP, including:

  • Renames the program as the 9003 Program;
  • Revises the purpose statement for the program to include renewable chemicals and biobased product manufacturing;
  • Expands the program to include biobased product manufacturing facilities;
  • Adds definitions for “renewable chemicals” and “biobased product manufacturing”; and
  • Ensures diversity in the types of projects approved by the program.

The final rule became effective on May 18, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 15, 2020, U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2020, creating a federal research initiative to ensure continued United States leadership in engineering biology. The National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative would focus on the advancement of societal well-being, national security, sustainability, and economic productivity and competitiveness. It would accomplish these goals through:

  • Advancement of areas of research at the intersection of biological, physical, chemical, data, and computational sciences;
  • Advancement of areas in biomanufacturing research;
  • Support of social and behavioral sciences and economics research that advances the field of engineering biology;
  • Improvement of the understanding of the engineering biology;
  • Support of risk research;
  • Development of novel tools and technologies to accelerate scientific understanding and technological innovation in engineering biology;
  • Expansion of the number of researchers, educators, and students with engineering biology training;
  • Acceleration of the translation and commercialization of engineering biology research and development by the private sector; and
  • Improvement of the interagency planning and coordination of federal government activities related to engineering biology.

According to Senator Rubio, the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2020 has been endorsed by a number of leading research institutes, including the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory is sponsoring a $1 million challenge for synthetic biology solutions to reduce the cost and improve the quality for aerospace thermosets. This scientific challenge is focused on the use of biotechnology to create products or product precursors required by USAF. Interested parties must submit white papers on the viability of the approach to bio-synthesize two molecules A and B needed for aerospace thermosets. This is the first of three challenges and consists of three phases. Phase One is the white paper submission as previously described. Phase Two is when submitted white papers will be down-selected from the viable entrees. Potential awardees selected will then have two weeks to enter into a subsequent agreement with a company that can scale up their production concept and demonstrate capability to manufacture testable amounts with a United States company (if the awardees cannot manufacture the product themselves). In the third and final phase, semi-finalist teams will have one hour to pitch their concept and scale up strategy with their manufacturing partner (if needed) to the evaluation team.

The winner of the third phase will be awarded half of the prize ($500,000) based on their total cost estimate to complete the challenge. The team will then have to demonstrate that they can biosynthesize molecules A and B. Upon completion of this demonstration, the team will be given one-third of the prize award to demonstrate the viability of the concept to manufacture one gram each of A and B to test for purity. Interested parties must submit applications here on or prior to June 15, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 14, 2020, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), a BRAG member, announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved eight cleaning product ingredients submitted by ACI for inclusion in EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL). EPA’s Safer Choice Program focuses on assisting consumers, businesses, and purchasers to find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment. SCIL is a list of chemical ingredients that have been evaluated and determined by the Safer Choice Program to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. This is the first time that the Safer Choice Program has approved a SCIL submission by a non-manufacturer. Kathleen Stanton, ACI Associate Vice President of Technical and International Affairs and BRAG company representative, commented on ACI’s achievement stating that “[a]dding chemicals to the SCIL encourages innovation and growth in safer products, increases markets for manufacturers and helps protect people and the environment.” The following chemical surfactants were added to SCIL:

  • Octadecanoic acid, 2-ethylhexyl ester;
  • Alcohols, C12-15;
  • Octadecanoic acid, 12-hydroxy-;
  • Fatty acids, C8-18 and C18-unsaturated, sodium salts;
  • Fatty acids, C14-18 and C16-18-unsaturated, sodium salts;
  • Potassium oleate;
  • Fatty acids, palm-oil; and
  • Sulfuric acid, mono-C14-18-alkyl esters, sodium salts.

 

From the current impacts of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) on science policies to challenges faced by industry, Lautenberg Implementation continues to evolve even four years after becoming law. B&C, The Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the George Washington University (GWU) Milken Institute School of Public Health are pleased to present “TSCA Reform -- Four Years Later,” a complimentary virtual seminar bringing together government and industry officials to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where TSCA stands today.

Panelists will dive into a host of topics, including the current impacts of TSCA on science policies, challenges faced by industry, and regulatory policies, especially those concerning ensuring compliance and enforcement. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), EPA
  • Eve C. Gartner, Managing Attorney, Toxic Exposure & Health Program, Earthjustice
  • Lynn R. Goldman, Michael and Lori Milken Dean and Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, GWU
  • Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EDT),to join ELI, B&C, the GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health, leading experts, and distinguished keynote speakers in a day-long exploration of the issues and regulations surrounding TSCA. Registration is free and open to the public, but an ELI account (no charge) is required.

Tags: TSCA, Seminar, B&C

 
 1 2 3 >  Last ›