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August 18, 2016

Chemical Watch Article “Law firm flags up issues in EPA Snur proposal” Quotes B&C Memorandum Conflict Between SNURs And Revised OSHA HCS

The ACTA Group

On August 18, 2016, Chemical Watch quoted Acta affiliate Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) memorandum, “TSCA: Proposed Revisions to Significant New Use Rules Reflect Current Occupational Safety and Health Standards,” in an article examining the conflict between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) proposal and the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standard (HCS).

US agency’s notice ‘downplays’ magnitude of changes, says Bergeson & Campbell.

The US EPA’s proposed amendments to rules governing significant new use rules (Snurs) raises “significant and complex” issues, according to Bergeson & Campbell.

In a blog post, the law firm says that the agency’s notice of the proposal “downplays” the changes.

“The minimal discussion provided in the notice, and the lack of adequate public debate having occurred prior to its issuance, raise troubling questions about the legal basis for, scope of, and complexity of the proposed changes, some of which may apply retroactively,” it adds.


Issues of potential confusion, pointed out by Bergeson & Campbell, include:

§  the “legal and regulatory ambiguities” of applying HCS/GHS requirements to different regulations, as has been demonstrated with similar efforts to align pesticide labelling under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (Fifra);

§  the inclusion of a hierarchy of controls (HOC) approach, which was absent from the TSCA reform passed earlier this year;

§  citations to the pre-amended TSCA, which it says raises uncertainty over whether the EPA reviewed ways in which the new TSCA may “materially impact” its proposal; and

§  “interesting anomalies” with regard to disclosure of confidential business information (CBI).

§  The firm notes that there “may well be a good reason for several of the proposed changes”.

But it says that the anticipated confusion could have been avoided by adequate discussion, prior to publication.

“At the least, EPA could have raised these issues in the proposed rule’s preamble to focus stakeholders’ attention appropriately,” it added.