Erik Baptist Discusses Election’s Potential Impact on TSCA Policy
Erik C. Baptist, partner in Wiley’s Environment & Product Regulation Practice, was quoted by Chemical Watch in an article about the 2020 presidential election’s potential impact on policies related to the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). A shift in administrations could lead to significant changes in how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements the 2016 amendments to TSCA, according to the article.
Mr. Baptist said that under a new Administration, changes to chemical policy could include expanding TSCA risk evaluations to include more conditions of use (COUs) and aggregate exposures; requiring more data from companies and expanding test orders; a shift in litigation strategy; and taking immediate action on hazardous substances. Mr. Baptist previously served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Law and Policy in the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and as Senior Deputy General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel.
As noted in the article, the EPA has indicated it plans to finalize, by the end of this year, all of the first 10 chemical risk evaluations required under TSCA. If former Vice President Joe Biden is elected President, the EPA could take a more expansive approach on the next 20 substances to be assessed, Mr. Baptist said. He said the EPA in a Biden Administration could look at COUs regulated by other statutes, such as the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act, as part of its TSCA evaluations – an approach the Trump Administration has avoided.
Regardless of who wins the presidential election, one area of focus next year is likely to be a backlog in the EPA’s evaluations of new chemicals that are subject to a 90-day review period under TSCA, according to the article.
Mr. Baptist said that EPA believes many pre-manufacture notices (PMNs) submitted for new chemicals are insufficient in their current form. “The EPA would like more flexibility to reject or force submissions to the back of the line if they fail to meet the needed requirements,” he said. He added that if the EPA could reject submissions that do not meet basic requirements, it could help the agency meet the 90-day review deadline.
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