EPA strengthens new chemical safety reviews
The EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) announced on October 14, 2021, action to strengthen new chemical safety reviews.
OCSPP’s New Chemicals Division (NCD) has engaged in a top-to-bottom effort to catalogue, prioritize, and improve its standard operating procedures (SOP), decision making, and recordkeeping practices related to review and management of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). OCSPP states that to date, NCD has inventoried and reviewed over 100 different SOPs, guidances, and science policies, and prioritized those that NCD expects to be updated over the next year. Several policy changes have already been implemented, including stopping harmful new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from entering the market and procedures to strengthen the review of new chemicals and ensure worker safety.
New EPA PFAS Roadmap to address “forever chemicals”
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can cause severe health problems and persist in the environment once released, EPA Administrator Regan launched EPA’s PFAS Roadmap.
The PFAS Roadmap will guide the agency’s current and planned activities in 2021-2024 to research, restrict, and remediate harmful PFAS. The Roadmap includes regulatory and administrative actions and enforcement approaches that EPA intends to take, using existing authorities, to comprehensively address PFAS throughout the environment. Actions include a new national testing strategy to accelerate research and regulatory development, a proposal to designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and actions to broaden and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS.
EPA will conduct monitoring across the country for 29 PFAS compounds in drinking water through the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule program.
EPA moving ahead on power plant rules
EPA is quietly working on the next generation of Clean Air Act power regulations.
EPA lawyers and technical specialists are working on new power-sector carbon dioxide rules. The Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards is the lead on the rule that is generating work across the agency, an EPA spokesperson said.
“[W]e are working across offices within EPA to analyze the science and to determine which regulatory approaches are best suited to address the full suite of climate, health and environmental impacts from the power sector, and how they fit together,” the spokesperson told E&E News.
“We are being deliberative about this process in order to ensure we arrive at an approach that is not just effective in protecting human health and the environment, but is also cost-effective, legally resilient and sensitive to the unique realities of this.”
EPA hasn’t said when it might propose and finalize its power plant rules, but observers are expecting to see proposals early next year with a final rule out a year later.