Industry calls for tiered fees for TSCA risk evaluation

Industry groups have called on the United States Environmental Protection Agency to modify its “relatively simplistic” proposed fees for conducting TSCA risk evaluations. The fees, they say, should more accurately reflect the costs of the assessments. Issued in February, the proposed fees rule would charge manufacturers $1.35m for EPA-initiated risk evaluations, and either $1.3m or $2.6m for manufacturer-requested risk evaluations, depending on whether the requested substance is a Work Plan chemical or not. But in response, industry groups say fees should reflect the wide variability of the costs associated with a risk evaluation. These factors include:

  • how many uses will be evaluated;
  • how long the chemical has been active in commerce;
  • the extent to which workers or consumers are exposed; and
  • the volume of data that already exists.

The current approach is “unfair to data-rich and uncontroversial chemicals,” the National Association of Manufacturers said in its comments on the proposed fees. And the Ad Hoc Downstream Users Coalition – which comprises paper, motor equipment, toy and tyre manufacturing trade groups – said a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach may “lead to unintended consequences like product discontinuation or supply disruption”. The US Chamber of Commerce added that substances produced only by one or two manufacturers could disappear from the marketplace if those producers “opt out of production instead of paying an enormous fee”. In its comments the American Chemistry Council suggested the agency tie its risk evaluation fees to the actual cost it incurs. The ACC proposed setting this price tag at approximately 35% of EPA’s actual costs. Linking the fee to actual costs would “encourage manufacturers to provide as much information as possible to reduce the agency’s costs,” it added. Industry groups also roundly objected to the EPA’s proposal to require payment of the full risk evaluation fees within 60 days of the agency publishing its final scope of the assessment. “Requiring upfront payment for a multi-year project is unfair to industry, unnecessary, and contrary to common commercial practices that stagger such payments,” wrote B&C Consortia Management (BCCM). The ACC suggested the agency charge a down payment at the scoping phase, and a final closing payment at the risk evaluation’s conclusion.

Consortia challenges

In its proposal, the EPA had said it thought a 60-day timeframe would be “sufficient” for manufacturers to form a consortium and decide on the partial fee payments each member would be responsible for. But the BCCM said consortia management is “difficult, time consuming, and seldom successful absent extraordinary effort without EPA engagement.” REACH has demonstrated that forming a consortium within a 60-day window is “next to impossible”, added the US Chamber. Speciality chemicals group Socma recommended that the EPA help manufacturers in the formation of consortia and “offer logistical support when challenges arise”. And several groups asked that the agency publish a list of companies it knows to be engaged in the manufacture of substances, to assist in identifying consortia participants and ensure that all manufacturers of a substance contribute to its associated fees. But Socma was among those who warned that relying solely on existing reporting schemes like the chemical data reporting (CDR) rule to identify manufacturers of a substance would lead to an “incomplete list of users”. Instead it proposed a “formal notification system for high priority chemicals [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][that would] discourage free-rider scenarios and ensure that EPA captures the full universe of manufacturers that have engaged (or will engage) in the manufacture of a risk evaluation chemical.” The ACC also argued that the EPA should consider setting up a mechanism by which late market entrants – or free-riders – could be “held accountable for their fair share of fees, perhaps by establishing reimbursement rules.”

Further information is available at: Public docket

Chemical Watch, 7 June 2018 ; http://chemicalwatch.com[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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