From Chris Bell of GT Houston:

EPA today published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment, by August 18, 2014, on a variety of options EPA is considering to collect and make available to the public information about chemicals used in oil and gas exploration and production, particularly those used in hydraulic fracturing.  79 Fed. Reg. 28664 (May 19, 2014).  This ANPRM signals the potential for a rule requiring disclosure of detailed information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing E&P activities, possibly imposing obligations on everyone from the manufacturers or importers of the chemicals to the service companies or well operators who mix the chemicals onsite prior to use.  This initiative is the outcome of a TSCA rulemaking petition filed in 2011 by over 100 environmental and public interest groups, which EPA denied in part and granted in part.


Continue Reading EPA Initiates Rulemaking On Reporting About Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

From Chris Bell of GT Houston:

EPA last week published a significant new use rule (“SNUR”) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) that requires prior notification to EPA before a company may newly manufacture (including import) or process certain perfluorinated chemicals historically used in the manufacture and treatment of carpets.  78 Fed. Reg. 62443 (Oct. 22, 2013).  These activities will be considered “new uses” and cannot be engaged in until the company first submits a significant new use notice (“SNUN”), which is similar to a pre-manufacture notification (“PMN”) for new chemicals.  This SNUR, and similar ones for other chemicals that are still in the proposal stage (e.g., for brominated fire retardants), are part of EPA’s aggressive chemical regulation strategies aimed at a short list of targeted chemicals.

What is important about this SNUR is EPA’s departure from its general policy of exempting “articles” (e.g., products, components, etc.) from the scope of the SNUR.  In the thousands of SNURs promulgated by EPA over the past decades, the focus has been on the chemical itself, not the “articles” that contained the chemical.  Therefore, the manufacturing, importing or processing of articles containing the regulated chemical were typically not considered “new uses” that would trigger the SNUR’s requirements.  However, this new SNUR not only applies to the perfluorinated chemicals, but also to the carpets or carpet pieces that may contain the chemicals.  Thus, for example, a company cannot newly import carpet containing the perfluorinated chemicals unless it has first submitted a SNUN to EPA.


Continue Reading EPA Promulgates TSCA Significant New Use Rule For Perfluorinated Chemicals – And Limits Its Applicability To “Articles”