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 August 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service publicized two application cycles for applications for funds available under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (BAP). The loans under the aforementioned program are designed to encourage the proliferation of biobased practices that use “technologically new commercial scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products, on a commercial scale.” Applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on October 1, 2018, or during the second application cycle, by 4:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 1, 2019.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) signaled on June 29, 2018, its intent to prepare a “programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with potential changes to the regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered [(GE)] organisms.”  The EIS will have a significant impact on how APHIS chooses to amend its regulation of GE organisms.  APHIS requested comment on issues to be considered in preparing the EIS, as well as how to define the scope of the alternatives and environmental impacts.  Comments are due July 30, 2018.
 
Our full memorandum provides some background, context, and a commentary regarding APHIS’ announcement.  

Tags: USDA, APHIS, GE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced it was amending the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement to add 12 sections that designate product categories within which biobased products will be afforded federal procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors via a final rule.  83 Fed. Reg. 31841.  The Federal Register publication states that this final rule “designates the proposed product categories within which biobased products will be afforded Federal procurement preference” and that “USDA has determined that each of the product categories being designated under this rulemaking meets the necessary statutory requirements; that they are being produced with biobased products; and that their procurement will carry out the following objectives of section 9002:  to improve demand for biobased products; to spur development of the industrial base through value-added agricultural processing and manufacturing in rural communities; and to enhance the Nation’s energy security by substituting biobased products for products derived from imported oil and natural gas.”
 
The final rule revises the definition of the following categories in an effort to clarify or add examples of intermediates that can be included in each of these categories:

  • Intermediates -- plastic resins (revised to include the term “polymers”);
  • Intermediates -- chemicals (revised to list additional materials such as viscosity reducers, rheology modifiers, adhesion agents, polyols, and polymers);
  • Intermediates -- paint and coating components (revised to add additional examples of paint and coating components, such as humectants, open time additives, and polymers); and
  • Intermediates -- binders (revised to expand on the types of chemicals that typically make up binders, to include examples of materials that binders can be used to formulate, and to include the phrase “binders are generally polymers or polymer precursors (such as epoxies) and include the polymeric materials used to formulate coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers”).
This final rule will become effective on August 9, 2018.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it was seeking public comment on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and a preliminary Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA) prepared in response to a petition from Nuseed Americas Inc. (Nuseed) to deregulate a canola variety genetically engineered to convert oleic acid to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  83 Fed. Reg. 29742.  APHIS will thoroughly review and consider all public input submitted during the comment period, and use the information as it works to complete, and then publish, final environmental documents and its regulatory determination.

The Federal Register notice states that APHIS’ draft PPRA “has concluded that canola designated as event B0050–027, which has been genetically engineered to accumulate the long chain omega-3 fatty acid known as [DHA] in seed, is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk” and APHIS’ draft EA presents two alternatives “based on our analysis of data submitted by Nuseed, a review of other scientific data, field tests conducted under APHIS oversight, and comments received on the petition.”  The alternatives are:  “(1) Take no action, i.e., APHIS would not change the regulatory status of canola designated as event B0050-027, or (2) make a determination of nonregulated status of canola designated as event B0050-027.”  APHIS requests comments to be submitted by July 26, 2018.

Tags: USDA, APHIS

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that a pre-recorded informational webinar regarding the proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will be made available beginning on June 1, 2018.  83 Fed. Reg. 23827.  The Federal Register notice states that the pre-recorded webinar “will provide an overview of the background, provisions, and potential impacts of the proposed standard,” and the proposed standard “would require food manufacturers and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information about bioengineered food and bioengineered food ingredients.”  The webinar will be available on USDA’s Rules & Regulations webpage.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the availability of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public review and comment. This document evaluates the possible environmental impacts from a potential approval of a permit to release a genetically engineered (GE) Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) through Florida.  This GE plant virus would be used as a biological control agent to help manage Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, which can devastate the citrus industry. This notice is available in the Federal Register and is open for comments through June 25, 2018.

Tags: USDA, APHIS, EIS, Citrus

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 9, 2018, Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance announced that its POWERply® Endure™ BIO Adhesive had earned the Certified Biobased Product label from the USDA BioPreferred Program. Tremco’s adhesive is made of 71 percent biobased material with ultra-low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that meet California VOC limits. Four other Tremco Roofing products have the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label, including AlphaGuard™ BIO Base Coat, AlphaGuard BIO Top Coat, Rock-It® WB, and Low Rise Foam Insulation Adhesive Green. The USDA BioPreferred Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill, and provides third-party verification of a product’s biobased content. This program was created to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 3, 2018, Jacor, LLC announced that five of its EcoBioClean® products earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label:

  • EcoBioClean® 100 COSW with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Pipes/Tanks 103 CE with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Fresh Water 101 COFW with 95% biobased content;
  • EcoBioClean® Land 102 COL with 95% biobased content; and
  • EcoBioClean® Biological Waste 105 BW with 95% biobased content.

These products provide contamination cleanup solutions for crude oil spills and leaks, as well as lubricants, dispersants, cleaning solutions, tar, human waste, and more, in a variety of environments and temperatures. The USDA BioPreferred Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill, and provides third-party verification of a product’s biobased content. This program was created to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 4, 2018, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016.  83 Fed. Reg. 19860.  USDA states the standard will provide “a uniform way to offer meaningful disclosure for consumers who want more information about their food and avoid a patchwork system of state or private labels that could be confusing for consumers and would likely drive up food costs,” and is intended “to provide a mandatory uniform national standard for disclosure of information to consumers about the [bioengineered (BE)] status of foods.”  Comments on the proposed rule must be received by July 3, 2018, and the announcement states that, due to the Congressionally mandated timeline for this rulemaking, the comment period will not be extended.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 28, 2018, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sonny Perdue issued a statement providing clarification on USDA’s oversight of plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques that include techniques called genome editing.  The announcement states that under its biotechnology regulations, USDA “does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests,” which “includes a set of new techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods” and “[t]he newest of these methods, such as genome editing, expand traditional plant breeding tools because they can introduce new plant traits more quickly and precisely, potentially saving years or even decades in bringing needed new varieties to farmers.”   Secretary Perdue stated that using this science, “farmers can continue to meet consumer expectations for healthful, affordable food produced in a manner that consumes fewer natural resources.”


 
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