With the U.S. government shutdown moving into its third week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signaled it anticipates delays related to its responsibilities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Under EPA’s contingency plans, the vast majority of staff within the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) have been furloughed. Across EPA broadly, approximately 13,200 of its 14,000 employees have been furloughed. EPA has only retained staff necessary to protect life and property. The only excepted activities that have been authorized under EPA’s contingency plans
are management of high-risk Superfund sites, maintenance of EPA laboratories, emergency response readiness operations, and litigation and law enforcement activities.
This portends delays for various agency functions, including review of new chemical applications, issuance of Significant New Use Rules (SNURs), the identification of the 20 high- and 20 low-priority chemicals to undergo TSCA prioritization, finalization of the TSCA inventory, the completion of risk evaluations for the first 10 chemical substances undergoing review, and a variety of anticipated rulemakings.
Because the of the government shutdown, the January 8 TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) virtual preparatory meeting to review Pigment Violet 29 was cancelled. If the shutdown continues through January 11, EPA will postpone the TSCA SACC’s Peer Review Meeting of the PV29 Draft Risk Evaluation, scheduled to take place January 29 through February 1.
The new Congress was sworn in on January 4, and negotiations with the White House have resumed. Signs of progress over the current shutdown stalemate, however, are limited. SOCMA will keep members updated as negotiations continue.
For more information on TSCA and other regulatory and policy issues, contact SOCMA's Government Relations team at firstname.lastname@example.org.