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December 20, 2018

Bloomberg Environment Features Comments By Lynn L. Bergeson Regarding Potential Impacts Of A Government Shutdown On The EPA Chemical Program

The ACTA Group

On December 20, 2018, Bloomberg Environment spoke with Lynn L. Bergeson, President, The Acta Group (Acta®), for the article “‘Calamitous’ Harm Possible for EPA Chemical Program in Shutdown.”

Shutting the government down could have particularly severe effects on the EPA’s oversight of chemicals in commerce and further delay the entry of new chemicals onto the market, two attorneys specializing in chemical policy told Bloomberg Environment.

“If a shutdown were to occur—any shutdown of any length—would invite calamitous results,” said Lynn Bergeson, managing partner of Bergeson and Campbell PC.

The EPA’s chemicals office faces the most deadlines in its history in 2019 due to requirements under the 2016 Toxic Substances Control Act amendments.

“The longer the shutdown, the greater the damage to EPA institutionally and to the toxics program as a whole,” Bergeson said Dec. 18, as Congress and the White House were still negotiating a possible budget agreement.


“Even a short shutdown is highly disruptive,” Bergeson said by email. “A week or so shutdown could take months from which to recover. The emotional setback this holiday season is especially cruel and our federal employees deserve better.”


“The new chemicals review process can be expected to be uniquely impacted by any shut-down,” Bergeson said. “The complicating factor here is the ‘stop-start’ nature of any shut-down and the havoc it invites in an already tight 90-day time frame.”

The TSCA amendments direct the agency to decide within 90 days, with a one-time extension of 90 additional days, whether a new chemical would or might pose an unreasonable risk warranting some type of control before it could be manufactured.

Despite that requirement, it has still taken the EPA months—in some cases years—to decide whether a new chemical can be made.

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