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 and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On June 10, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Ceremony, where four awards were given to academics, scientists, and business innovators across the industry sector. Promoting environmental and economic benefits of developments in green chemistry, EPA, in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute granted four awards. Congratulated by EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, the 2019 awardees included:

  • Academic Award -- Professor Sanjoy Banerjee, The City University of New York – Energy Institute, Rechargeable Alkaline Zn-MnO2 Batteries for Grid Storage Applications;
     
  • Small Business Award -- Kalion, Inc., Microbially Produced High-Purity Glucaric Acid for Diverse Uses;
     
  • Greener Synthetic Pathways Award -- Merck & Co., Innovating for a Greener Future: Development of a Green & Sustainable Manufacturing Process for ZerbacaTM; and
     
  • Greener Reaction Conditions Award -- WSI, TRUpathTM.
Dunn thanked ACS for its support and highlighted the importance of the awarded technologies in supporting economic growth while reducing energy use, hazardous chemistry, and protecting water. Dunn’s remarks included a note on the need for more people who chose to be in the science field, especially those who support green chemistry. Dunn also pointed out the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s (OCSPP) work in implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) measures, stating that EPA staff is currently working “fast and furiously.”
 
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. congratulates all ACS Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners for their invaluable contributions to a more sustainable and renewable future.
Tags: EPA, GCCA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in final the regulatory changes allowing gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that applies to E10 during the summer months. This means that E15 can now be sold year-round in the U.S. without additional RVP control rather than just eight months of the year. EPA also released in final the rulemaking regulatory changes to modify certain elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Aiming to increase transparency to the market and deter price manipulation, the reforms to RIN markets include a requirement for public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds, and the collection of additional data to improve EPA oversight.

Tags: EPA, E15, Biofuel

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that on May 30, 2019, it will begin publishing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 5 notices, including premanufacture notices (PMN), microbial commercial activity notices (MCAN), and significant new use notices (SNUN), their attachments, including any health and safety studies, any modifications thereto, and all other associated information in ChemView -- in the form they are received by EPA, without review by EPA.  EPA states that it will not be reviewing confidential business information (CBI)-sanitized filings before publishing.  EPA states that this announcement will be the first of several reminders that EPA sends and, in addition, EPA has incorporated a reminder to check accompanying sanitized submissions as part of the Central Data Exchange (CDX) reporting module for TSCA Section 5 notices.
 
EPA’s announcement states the following as guidance for submitters to take heed of before submitting their TSCA Section 5 notices:

  1. Verify the asserted CBI claims are correct and consistent; and
     
  2. Verify the sanitized versions of the form, attachments, and file names are checked for proper and consistent CBI redactions and that watermarks or stamps indicating CBI are removed.
Tags: EPA, TSCA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 21, 2019, EPA announced a new version of a mapping tool designed to assist in the reduction of food waste by displaying facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food. According to EPA, the Excess Food Opportunities Map serves as an online “matching” service, linking, for example, owners of anaerobic digestion facilities with people looking to dispose of organic waste, including excess food. These anaerobic digestion facilities control organic decomposition in an oxygen-free, sealed tank to produce bioproducts and biosolids for on-site use or sale. This interactive map is part of EPA’s attempt to address the 133 billion pounds of wasted food in the U.S. through the diversion from landfills. It displays locations of potential excess food generators and recipients of excess food in industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors. The interactive and easy-to-use map was initially designed in 2014 by the Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) Regional Sustainability and Environmental Sciences Research Program (RESES). Since then, it was taken over by the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) and has evolved from a regional tool to a national one. The most recent version 2.0 includes 1.2 million potential excess food generators and identifies about 4,000 recipients.

Tags: EPA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 10, 2019, at 5:00 p.m., the American Chemical Society (ACS) will hold the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.  Sponsored by EPA’s OCSPP, in partnership with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and members of the chemical community, these prestigious annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use.  If you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.
 
EPA usually presents one Green Chemistry Challenge Award in each award category. For the 2019 competition, there are five award categories:
  • Focus Area 1: Greener Synthetic Pathways;
     
  • Focus Area 2: Greener Reaction Conditions;
     
  • Focus Area 3: The Design of Greener Chemicals;
     
  • Small Business* (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business); and
     
  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher).

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 30, 2019, 15 U.S. Senators signed and submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, urging him to protect U.S. consumers and account for the ethanol blend wall when setting annual target volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) requirements. According to the letter, a decrease in consumer demand for gasoline has occurred since the RFS Program was passed into law. Instead of the original 170 billion gallons projected, now, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a gasoline demand for 2020 to be closer to 142 billion gallons and to decrease to 137 billion gallons by 2022. Therefore, in the letter, the Senators request that EPA acknowledge the “market reality when resetting the statutory targets such that the contribution of conventional biofuel is set below an implied 10 percent level for 2020.” They also emphasize that, should EPA fail to reset the volume below the blend wall, EPA would be violating the Congressional intent set forth under RFS, harming both consumers and refiners

Tags: RFS, Biofuel, EPA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 25, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally weighed-in on the murky and often misunderstood topic of label claims for plant regulators and plant biostimulants in posting its Draft Guidance for Plant Regulator Label Claims, Including Plant Biostimulants in Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258.  EPA issued the notice of availability in the Federal Register on March 27, 2019.  84 Fed. Reg. 11538.  EPA states that the draft guidance, issued under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), is intended to “provide guidance on identifying product label claims that are considered to be plant regulator claims” by EPA, thereby subjecting the products to regulation as pesticides under FIFRA.  EPA notes that when determining whether a plant biostimulant may trigger pesticide registration requirements, or may be excluded or exempt from FIFRA regulation, a “key consideration is what claims are being made on product labels.”  Comments on the draft guidance are due by May 28, 2019
 
Please see the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) full memorandum for more information on this draft guidance including some background, information on the definition of a plant biostimulant, examples of product label claims, and B&C’s commentary.

Tags: EPA, FIFRA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 25, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted Draft Guidance for Plant Regulator Label Claim, Including Plant Biostimulants in Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0258.  EPA issued the notice of availability in the Federal Register on March 27, 201984 Fed. Reg. 11538.  This is an important document addressing tricky jurisdictional issues that have plagued EPA for years.  Comments on the draft guidance are due by May 28, 2019.  For a full summary of the draft guidance, please see Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) Pesticide Law and Policy Blog.

Tags: EPA, Pesticide

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 21, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was releasing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process required by the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  84 Fed. Reg. 10491.  New TSCA requires EPA to designate 20 chemicals as “high-priority” for subsequent risk evaluation and 20 chemicals as “low-priority,” meaning that risk evaluation is not warranted at this time.  The 20 high priority candidate chemicals include:

  • Seven chlorinated solvents;
  • Six phthalates;
  • Four flame retardants;
  • Formaldehyde (which has been studied by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program for many years);
  • A fragrance additive; and
  • A polymer pre-curser.

EPA is also currently determining whether to conduct a risk evaluation of two additional phthalates.  The 20 low priority candidate chemicals have been selected from EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which includes chemicals that have been evaluated and determined to meet EPA's safer choice criteria. 

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, stated that initiating a chemical for high or low prioritization “does not mean EPA has determined it poses unreasonable risk or no risk to human health or the environment,” however.  EPA states that is it releasing this list “to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals.”  Comments are due June 19, 2019.  EPA has opened a docket for each of the 40 chemicals; the dockets numbers are listed in the Federal Register notice.  EPA is directed to complete the prioritization process in the next nine to 12 months. 

Please be on the lookout for the Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) memorandum that will contain more information regarding EPA’s list.  It will be posted on our Regulatory Developments webpage.

Tags: EPA, TSCA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 18, 2019, (EPA) announced a public hearing to be held for the proposed rule: “Modifications to Fuel Registrations to Provide Flexibility for E15: Modifications to RFS RIN Market Regulations.”  84 Fed. Reg. 9734.  The proposed rule would implement regulatory changes allowing E15 to take advantage of a Renewal Fuels Standard (RFS) program waiver. Currently, the 1-psi Raid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver only applies to ten percent ethanol (E10) during the summer months. The proposed rule also includes an interpretative definition of E15 gasoline as “substantially similar” to the fuel used to certify Tier 3 motor vehicles.  Lastly, EPA is also proposing changes to some RFS compliance system elements that would improve renewable identification number market functioning and prevent market manipulation.  The public hearing will take place in Ypsilanti, MI, on March 29, 2019.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2019.  84 Fed. Reg. 10584. Comments are due by April 29, 2019.

Tags: EPA, RFS, RIN, Biofuel

 
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