Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) filed extensive comments yesterday on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposals for the two most central “framework” rules mandated by last year’s Lautenberg Act amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Our comments address these proposed rules:
- TSCA Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation, the rule that sets up the process EPA will use to identify high-priority chemicals for risk evaluation and low-priority chemicals that do not require risk evaluation.
- TSCA Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation, the rule that sets up the process EPA will use to conduct risk evaluations on high-priority chemicals and make risk determinations as to whether or not the chemicals present unreasonable risk to human health or the environment
Both sets of comments address many different provisions of the proposed rules. EDF indicated our strong support for many aspects of the proposals, but urged changes to a number of provisions that we cannot support as proposed. In addition, we identified provisions we believe need to be added to EPA’s rules to be consistent with or meet the requirements of the Lautenberg Act.
EDF emphasized how vital it is for EPA to meet its June 22, 2017, statutory deadline for promulgating these rules. Because they establish processes that will require several years to begin to yield decisions on specific chemicals, delays in promulgating them in final form so that the processes can commence in the timeframe Congress intended will only serve to undermine public confidence in the new law, counter business interests to restore confidence in the chemicals marketplace, and hamper EPA’s ability to carry out its new mandates. This is especially the case, given EPA’s appropriate recognition in both proposed rules that it will need to initiate measures as soon as possible to ensure that sufficient information will be available to inform prioritization and risk evaluation decisions.
As discussed in more detail in the comments, EDF strongly supports EPA’s decision not to codify specific scientific policies, procedures and guidance in these rules. To do so would not be consistent with the law and would more generally represent bad policy. EDF also agreed with EPA’s proposal not to define in its rules complex, science policy-laden terms such as “weight of the scientific evidence,” “best available science,” and “unreasonable risk.” These concepts are best elaborated on in guidance and policy statements and best understood in the context of specific decisions on chemical substances.
Some other highlights from each set of EDF’s comments follow. Read More