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 February 12, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2017 (Emissions Inventory) for public review. EPA is requesting recommendations on how to improve the overall quality of the Emissions Inventory, which is expected to be issued in final in April 2019. The Emissions Inventory tracks U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks by man-made source and economic sector since 1990. Once it is prepared in final, the Emissions Inventory will then be submitted to the United Nations in accordance with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The deadline for comment submission is March 14, 2019; the full Emissions Inventory can be accessed here. In addition, EPA has also developed an interactive tool for interested parties to access the data from the national greenhouse gas inventory. Users can create customized graphs, download data, and analyze trends over time. Once the Emissions Inventory is published in April, the national greenhouse gas inventory will be updated accordingly.

Tags: EPA, GHG

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In early January 2019, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a report called A New World: The Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. Analyzing the geopolitical implications of the global energy sector that is being driven by renewables, the report was created by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation in early 2018. A ten-month project, the deliberations by the Commission consider the move of renewables to the center of the global energy landscape. The report claims that global energy transformation driven by renewables “will reshape relations between states and lead to fundamental structural changes in economies and society. […] Global power structures and arrangements will change in many ways and the dynamics of relationships within states will also be transformed.” Arguing that power will become more decentralized and diffused, states that are heavily invested in renewable technologies (such as China) will have greater influence. In contrast, states that rely on fossil fuel to a greater extent will lose influence. Furthermore, the abilities for countries to achieve energy independence will enhance their development, security, sustainability, and equity. As an important step in the direction of addressing climate change, combatting pollution, and promoting prosperity and sustainable development, states must be prepared to create a foundation for dialogue, debate, and policy actions focused on energy transformation.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On January 16, 2019, a group of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain announced the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which will advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.  AEPW membership, currently at 30 member companies, represents global companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  APEW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years.  The announcement of the launch states that APEW will “develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.”  AEPW is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies.  The following companies are the founding members:  BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).

As part of its roll-out, APEW also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:

  1. Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking.  This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders and generating economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.
  2. Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models, and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
  3. Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
  4. Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
  5. Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement.  The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean.

The global internet broadcast that aired on January 16, 2019, is available at www.endplasticwaste.org/live.  More information is available on APEW’s website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in the Federal Register that the Syracuse Research Corporation (SRC) will be assisting the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) in the creation of a database that will cover key data from past biotechnology submissions, and the creation of a biotechnology literature database with documents provided or referenced in Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) biotechnology submissions. The databases may include Confidential Business Information (CBI) and SRC will be given access to information submitted to EPA under all sections of TSCA. Under this contract, EPA may provide SRC access to CBI materials on a need-to-know basis only. All access to CBI will take place at EPA Headquarters and SRC sites in Arlington, Virginia, and Syracuse, New York, in accordance with EPA’s TSCA CBI Protection Manual. The contract will be effective until April 2, 2022, unless it is extended. SRC personnel will be required to sign nondisclosure agreements and will be briefed on security procedures prior to gaining access to CBI.

Tags: EPA, TSCA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 21, 2018, EPA announced the call for nominations for the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (GCCA). A national award to honor entities that have developed new processes or products using green chemistry approaches, the award focuses on approaches that assist in the protection of public health and the environment. Nominations for the awards include five innovation categories and are due by January 15, 2019. The five categories are: small business, greener synthetic pathways, design of greener chemicals, academic, and greener reaction conditions. Interested parties should read the GCCA Nomination Package for the awards prior to the submission of a nomination. The 2019 GCCA ceremony and reception for the winners will be held on June 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 30, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable fuels volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2019 and the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020.  The final rule establishes that the 15-billion gallon targets originally set by Congress for 2019 will be maintained and primarily met by corn ethanol.  Additionally, in 2019, advanced biofuel volumes will increase by 630 million gallons and cellulosic biofuel volumes by 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.  The biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the 2019 standard of 2.1 billion gallons.

Tags: EPA, RFS, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 4, 2018, EPA announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  Sponsored by EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACSGCI), these awards promote the development and use of novel green chemistry for environmental and economic benefits.  There are five award categories for which eligible candidates can be nominated:

  • Greener Synthetic Pathways (Focus Area 1);
  • Greener Reaction Condition (Focus Area 2);
  • The Design of Greener Chemicals (Focus Area 3);
  • Small Business; and
  • Academic.

Eligibility for nominations requires that candidates’ technology meets the following criteria:  (1) it must be a green chemistry technology with a significant chemistry component; (2) it must include source reduction; (3) it must be submitted by an eligible organization or its representatives; (4) it must have a significant milestone in its development within the past five years; (5) it must have a significant U.S. component; and (6) it must fit within at least one of the three focus areas of the program.  The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2019, to be presented in the summer of 2019.  Self-nominations are allowed, there is no entry fee or standard form, and one can nominate more than one technology.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the submission for review of an information collection request (ICR) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  83 Fed. Reg. 56319.  The Federal Register notice states that purpose of this submission is to obtain OMB approval of an ICR that consolidates some existing collections.  By consolidating the existing collections and recordkeeping updates, EPA is aiming to create a new, consistent, and easily understandable format to report burden and cost estimates related to the RFS program.  Additionally, the ICR requests approval of updates to the recordkeeping and reporting burden along with cost estimated in December 2017.  EPA requested comments on this ICR for a 60-day period.  The November 13, 2018, notice extends the request for public comments by an additional 30 days.  Additional comments may be submitted on or before December 13, 2018.  The estimated burden approximates 566,665 hours per year, with a total estimated cost of $57,457,330 per year.  The cost estimate includes $0 of annualized capital or operation and maintenance costs.

Tags: EPA, RFS, OMB, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 30, 2018, Earthjustice and the Clean Air Task Force submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a petition “to amend its ‘aggregate compliance’ approach to the definition of biomass under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) … to prevent the conversion of native grasslands.”  The petition was filed on behalf of 11 organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club, and urges EPA’s Administrator Andrew Wheeler to amend regulations related to land permissibility for renewable biomass production.  Under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act’s (EISA) RFS, land conversion for the production of renewable fuel sources is restricted to agricultural land cultivated prior to the enactment of the ruling that is nonforested or uncultivated.  Meant to ensure that growing renewable fuel sources would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, the petition claims that these requirements are not being implemented by EPA due to an aggregate compliance system for measuring land use.  Instead, green groups are requesting that EPA use an individualized compliance approach in evaluating biofuel producers to assure compliance with EISA’s land use restrictions.  The petition also requests that EPA require additional “proof that only EISA-compliant land is used to grow crops displaced by renewable biomass production.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 17, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final fees rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the Federal Register.  83 Fed. Reg. 52694.  The final rule largely tracks the proposed rule.  EPA is establishing fees applicable to any person required to submit information to EPA; or a notice, including an exemption or other information, to be reviewed by EPA; or who manufactures (including imports) a chemical substance that is the subject of a risk evaluation.  This final rulemaking describes the final TSCA fees and fee categories for fiscal years 2019, 2020, and 2021, and explains the methodology by which the final TSCA fees were determined.  It identifies some factors and considerations for determining fees for subsequent fiscal years; and includes amendments to existing fee regulations governing the review of premanufacture notices, exemption applications and notices, and significant new use notices. As required in TSCA, EPA is also establishing standards for determining which persons qualify as “small business concerns” and thus would be subject to lower fee payments.  Small businesses will be eligible to receive a substantial discount of approximately 80 percent on their fees.  EPA has been hosting a series of webinars focusing on making TSCA submissions and paying fees under the final rule.  The first webinar was held on October 10, 2018, and the second was held on October 24, 2018. The third webinar will be held on November 7, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EST).  The final rule became effective on October 18, 2018. For an overview of the rule, see Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s regulatory developments update.
Tags: EPA, TSCA

 
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