October 5-8, 2015
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SOCMA members gathered at our offices in Washington, DC, October 5-8
to hear key Obama administration officials and subject-matter experts
discuss issues important to the specialty chemical industry.
Committee Week is held each year to give SOCMA members an opportunity
to meet face-to-face with Washington decision-makers to ask questions
and share their concerns about many laws and regulations that impact
Below is a brief recap from each committee meeting.
Safety and Security Committee
Topping our list of speakers was Vanessa Sutherland, the newly appointed
chairperson of the Chemical Safety Board. Speaking to SOCMA's Safety
and Security Committee, on Wednesday, Sutherland said the CSB is in a
rebuilding phase where it is renewing its focus on its primary task of
chemical accident investigations. She said the board's role is vital in
singularly focusing on accidents and determining the root cause.
Chemical safety is a joint responsibility between industry, companies
and government, Sutherland said. "We all have a role to play," she told
the committee. She said her agency is working more closely with the
Occupational, Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and other
agencies, as well as local emergency responders and planners to increase
Sutherland said the CSB will hold a public meeting in November to
weigh in on their findings of the West Texas Fertilizer explosion. She
stressed that her agency's responsibility was to determine the cause of
an explosion or how a chemical is stored, not whether a certain chemical
should be banned. "That is not our role, and we will share some of that
in the West meeting," she said.
The committee kicked off the morning with Jordan Barab, Deputy
Assistant Secretary and second in command at OSHA, who talked about the
President's Executive Order to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and
Security and other OSHA priorities. Barab said the West Fertilizer
explosion brought national attention to chemical safety because it
wasn't just the facilities that were affected by the incident. Schools
and nursing homes were destroyed, and local firefighters killed. As a
result, OSHA was asked to look at its Process Safety Management (PSM)
standard, as well as its Definition of Retail Facility and its National
Emphasis Program. Barab said OSHA is working closely and cooperating
with the CSB and other agencies to address these issues more
The Safety and Security Committee also heard from multiple officials
with the Department of Homeland Security, the Small Business
Administration (SBA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation throughout
Chemical Risk Management Committee
SOCMA's Chemical Risk Management Committee met Tuesday and heard from a variety of speakers on a wide range of issues.
Jeffrey Morris, Deputy Director for Programs at the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off the Chemical Risk Management
Committee meeting with an update on workplan chemicals and a TSCA
section 8 reporting rule on nanomaterials. SOCMA submitted comments on
the reporting rule earlier in the year and recommended that EPA
re-propose it. Members learned the rule would not be re-proposed,
however, the agency is working to refine it and make it clearer. EPA
also seemed receptive to SOCMA’s concerns.
Committee members also received an overview of chemical data
reporting requirements from Lynn Vendinello, Deputy Director of the
Chemical Control Division. An EPA webinar on the requirements is planned
for this week. SOCMA members should be wary of the new requirements,
including lower volume thresholds and reporting for chemicals that are
regulated. The reporting period will occur in 2016.
Greg Sullivan, lead attorney-advisor in EPA’s Office of Site
Remediation Enforcement, talked about TSCA enforcement activities and
priorities. He told the committee EPA is issuing more Significant New
Use Rules (SNURs), while also paying more attention to compliance. SNURs
can impact a significant portion of the supply chain and be quite
difficult to understand.
Jerry Couri, Senior Environmental Policy Advisor for the House
Committee on Energy & Commerce, provided some perspective on the
House TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) and expressed gratitude
for SOCMA’s help with the bill and the many times we have testified on
Capitol Hill over the years. “Without SOCMA, the TSCA Modernization Act
would not be possible,” he said. Stay tuned for a Senate floor vote on
S. 697 any day now. It is likely just a matter of time before TSCA
Additional speakers included Tom Jacob of the Chemical Industry
Council of California and Helen Medina with the U.S. Council for
The Environment Committee wrapped up SOCMA's successful 2015 Committee Week with speakers from the EPA, SBA and others.
During the meeting, Bruce Lundegren and Tabby Waqar, Assistant Chief
Counsels for the Office of Advocacy at the SBA, encouraged SOCMA to
submit comments as a “helper” for the RMP Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Actprocess with a short turn-around time - the next
Kathy Lett and Jessica Young, chief of the Recycling and Generator
Branch, for EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, reviewed
and answered questions about the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements
The committee also discussed concerns about the Generator
Improvements proposal, including recordkeeping requirements and the
classification of generators with minor compliance lapses as Treatment,
Storage, Disposal Facilities with Aaron Goldberg, Principal, Beveridge
Reggie Cheatham, Director of EPA's Office of Emergency Management,
also provided anoverview of relevant priorities within his office,
including the RMP rulemaking and the President's Executive Order on
Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (EO-13650).
Members of the Environment Committee also received an overview and
assessment of a petition being considered by EPA to change the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrosivity characteristic from
Joseph Green, Special Counsel for Kelley Drye.