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December 23, 2020

Comments by Lynn L. Bergeson and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Featured in Bloomberg Environment Article “Fuel-Chemicals Advisory Seen as ‘Unwanted’ EPA Parting Gift”

The ACTA Group

On December 23, 2020, comments by Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) and Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry, B&C, were featured by Bloomberg Environment regarding a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance advisory describing how the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) applies to certain petroleum-based chemicals, along with renewable substitutes made from crops, fats, and waste oil.

[T]he EPA’s advisory is also “an unexpected and, to many, unwanted parting gift from the Trump administration,” said Lynn L. Bergeson, managing partner at Bergeson and Campbell PC. “The Biden administration may wish to revisit the wisdom and prudence of this antiquated and inequitable view.”

The EPA said it issued the advisory in response to questions from companies making renewable fuels and fuel additives. But the advisory is noteworthy, said Bergeson and other attorneys specializing in the nation’s primary commercial chemicals law.


Companies have faced enforcement actions for disagreements with the EPA about whether a chemical they produced was included in a name that applies to a range of varying, but closely related chemicals.

And the restrictions companies face as a result of going through the EPA’s new chemicals review—even for a chemical that’s substantially the same as its petroleum-based counterpart—are “a substantial disincentive” to commercializing petroleum alternatives, said Bergeson.

Her law firm manages the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group, which consists of companies making plant-based and other renewable chemicals.

Just the determination that a renewable chemical is substantially equivalent to its petroleum counterpart typically means the company has to submit a request to make a new chemical and agree to certain restrictions about its production, said Richard E. Engler, director of chemistry at Bergeson and Campbell.

If EPA decides, for example, that a plant-based oil isn’t quite the same under TSCA as its petroleum-based counterpart than any company that purchases the oils has to keep them separate and maintain records for the plant-based oil, or treat both as being regulated the same when they’re not, he said.

“Neither option is commercially feasible or sustainable,” Engler said.

“This sequence of events is about as appealing as a root canal, which is why commercial entities are disinclined to avail themselves of renewable sources,” of chemicals, Bergeson said.

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