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.
On September 11, 2019, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) will host a webinar titled “Genetic Engineering: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary.” The webinar is designed to cover the vast possibilities offered by genetic engineering in a world where regulatory officials face increasing pressure to guarantee global food security. Along with the many possibilities associated with genetic engineering, however, there are great concerns about the environmental, health, and ethical implications of it. Webinar panelists will discuss many of these possibilities and concerns.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On August 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $40 million in funding for 29 projects to advance the H2@Scale concept. H2@Scale is a concept that explores the potential for wide-scale hydrogen production and utilization in the United States to enable resiliency of the power generation and transmission sectors while also aligning diverse domestic industries, competitiveness, and job creation. Funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Office of Nuclear Energy, the 29 selected projects will advance hydrogen storage and infrastructure technologies.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On May 30, 2019, DOE also announced the release of GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet, an analysis on how the U.S. can benefit from the potential of geothermal energy. The report summarizes findings that show geothermal electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from today. Geothermal energy has the potential to reach 60 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity (a 6GW growth) by 2050, including the provision of heating and cooling solutions for residential and commercial consumers through direct-use and heat-pump technologies. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, stated that “[m]aking geothermal more affordable can increase our energy options for a more diverse electricity generation mix […].” Industry experts, academia, DOE’s National Laboratories, and federal agencies assessed opportunities to expand geothermal energy deployment through 2050 via technology improvement, cost reduction, and reduction of project development barriers such as long permitting timelines. The GeoVision report also includes the analysis of economic benefits to the U.S. geothermal energy sector, and an investigation of opportunities for desalination, mineral recovery, and hybridization with other energy technologies for greater efficiencies and lower costs. Additionally, the report quantified potential environmental impacts of an increased deployment of geothermal energy. A roadmap of action items for stakeholders is also included, outlining three key objectives to:
- Increase access to geothermal resources;
- Reduce costs and improve economics for geothermal projects; and
- Improve education.
These GeoVision objectives are to be met through four key Action Areas: (1) Research Related to Resource Assessments, Improved Site Characterization, and Key Technology Advancements; (2) Regulatory Process Optimization; (3) Maximizing the Full Value of Geothermal Energy; and, (4) Improved Stakeholder Collaboration. For further details, the full report can be accessed here.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On June 3, 2019, DOE announced a joint Call for Proposals for an opportunity to win $2 million in available funding for the advancement of geothermal research and development (R&D) through a partnership with more than 12 European countries. DOE is a member of a transnational consortium called GEOTHERMICA, which combines financial resources and research expertise to demonstrate and validate new concepts in geothermal energy use. The U.S. geothermal community will have the ability to collaborate directly with European partners on shared research projects that leverage valuable data, field site access, and expertise in geothermal R&D. In addition to the U.S., Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey are members of GEOTHERMICA. Each participating country will fund applicants originating within its national boundary. U.S. funding will be provided through the DOE National Laboratories. The Call for Proposals can be accessed here.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On April 17, 2019, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, and Frank Edelson, Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services (NGFS), published an open letter on the financial implications of global warming. Co-signed by the NGFS coalition, consisting of 34 central banks, the letter warns of global warming’s potential damage to infrastructure and private property, negative human health effects, decrease in productivity, and wealth destruction. The letter states that no countries are immune to the effects of climate change and that “if some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.” Although the Paris agreement has and continues to promote a low-carbon economy, further measures would be central to achieving zero net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key to reaching this goal would be a massive reallocation of capital, the financial experts highlight.
Given the challenges associated with achieving zero-carbon emissions, in the letter, Carney, Villeroy de Galhau, and NGFS members propose four recommendations to policymakers and financial firms:
- The integration of climate-related financial risks into daily work, financial stability monitoring, and board risk management. Policymakers and financial firms should conduct scenario analyses and take a long-term strategic approach, which considers risks associated with global warming. These risks should be embedded it into their business-as-usual governance and risk-management frameworks.
- Leadership by example, particularly by central banks, to integrate sustainability into their own portfolio management.
- Internal and external collaboration among public authorities to bridge data gaps important to assessments of climate-related risks.
- In-house capacity building and knowledge sharing with various stakeholders on the financial risks related to climate change.
According to the letter, the successful implementation of these four recommendations would lead to two broader calls for action on disclosure and classification of these risks. Market and regulators’ support in assessing risks and opportunities from climate change accompanied by consistent international disclosure are critical. In addition, NGFS members also encourage the development of a classification system to identify economic activities that would contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy. In sum, robust leadership and collaboration play a crucial role in identifying global solutions for the financial sector.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a request for comments on two documents related to the potential deregulation of a canola variety genetically engineered (GE) to convert oleic acid to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA), as well as for resistance to an imidazolinone herbicide. The documents are a draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) and a draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment (dPPRA). While the dEA analyzes potential issues and environmental impacts, the dPPRA examines any plant pest risks. DHA and EPA are omega-3 fatty acids that support brain development and protect neurological function. The aforementioned GE canola accumulates higher concentrations of these fatty acids. Therefore, in a petition submitted by BASF Corporation (BASF), it stated that this canola provides a plant-based and scalable production system for omega 3-fatty acids that can be another source of EPA and DHA for consumers either as a food ingredient or as an aquaculture feed ingredient. Based on BASF’s statement and the draft documents, USDA will be accepting comments until May 6, 2019. APHIS intends to thoroughly review and consider the information provided in the completion of the final environmental documents and regulatory determinations.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On March 8, 2019, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., released a statement on the continued efforts to advance safe biotechnology innovations, and the deactivation of an import alert on genetically engineered (GE) salmon. In his statement, Dr. Gottlieb emphasized FDA’s mission to evaluate the safety of intentional genomic alterations (IGA) in animals that will ultimately be sold for consumption in the U.S. According to FDA’s recent framework for the efficient development of safe biotechnology products, Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan, Dr. Gottlieb stated that FDA has taken important steps to help advance new products.
Part of these efforts includes FDA’s 2015 decision to approve an application related to GE salmon containing the first approved IGA in an animal meant for food consumption. In 2016, however, the U.S. Congress directed FDA not to allow into commerce any food containing GE salmon until it issues final labeling guidelines for informing consumers of the GE salmon content in the food. Consequently, in compliance with Congressional views, FDA implemented an import alert in that same year that prevented GE salmon from entering the U.S. With the enactment of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) by Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was made responsible for the implementation of a mandatory standard for disclosing foods that are bioengineered. FDA was, therefore, divested of its authority over labeling GE content in human foods. Given the Congressional enactment of NBFDS, Dr. Gottlieb stated that FDA believes this Congressional mandate on GE salmon has been satisfied by USDA’s issuance of final regulations implementing NBFDS. NBFDS requires that human food containing GE salmon be labelled to indicate that it is bioengineered. Therefore, FDA has deactivated the import alert that prevented GE salmon from entering the U.S.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On, March 12, 2019, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the publication of two draft documents related to the potential deregulation of a soybean variety GE for increased yield and resistance to the herbicide glufosinate. The draft documents are Draft Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) and Draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) for Petition to Deregulate GE Soybean for Increased Yield and Herbicide Resistance. The PPRA will examine any plant pest risks and the dEA will analyze the potential issues and environmental impacts. The draft documents can be accessed here, and the official notice of the review period can be viewed in the March 13, 2019, Federal Register. 84 Fed. Reg. 9077. Comments are due by April 12, 2019.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On January 17, 2019, DOE BETO announced that the deadline for submission to its Manufacturing Innovator Challenge has been extended to February 10, 2019. As DOE seeks new concepts in biobased materials to address today’s manufacturing challenges, the Manufacturing Innovator Challenge is an effort to incentivize solutions that increase energy productivity and strengthen the U.S. industrial base. Prizes are open for ideas focused on Biobased Additive Manufacturing (BAM) and will be distributed to three winners. BAM involves the production of rapid prototyping of complex structures through biobased three-dimensional printing. To qualify for the BAM prize, candidates are required to identify new materials that are made from at least 90 percent plant matter or algae, and that can meet or improve the performance of current three-dimensional printing materials.