On Wednesday, EPA released its “First Year Implementation Plan” for the recently enacted TSCA reform legislation.
Before getting to the details, it’s worth emphasizing what a significant accomplishment it was to get TSCA reform passed in the current Congress. It’s also enlightening, because the message of TSCA reform may be that reform of existing legislation is possible, but only if the existing legislation is so obviously broken that it harms everyone. TSCA was ripe for amendment because not only was it not working, but it was a negative sum game: it was bad for business and it was bad for the environment. I’m not sure it provides much of a model for efforts to amend the Clean Air Act to address climate change or the Clean Water Act to figure out what a “water of the United States” is.
So, what is EPA’s plan for implementing the amendments? Here’s an example, the first item in the Plan:
Requirement: Review and make an affirmative determination on all premanufacture notices (PMNs) and significant new use notices (SNUNs) before manufacturing can commence.
Goal: Meet the applicable deadlines. (My emphasis.) For companies that submitted PMNs prior to enactment and are currently undergoing review, EPA will make every effort to complete its review and make a determination within the remaining time under the original deadline. However, as a legal matter, the new law effectively resets the 90-day review period.
It’s not obvious to me that meeting the applicable deadlines constitutes an actual “plan.” It is, as EPA says, a “goal.” What would be interesting to know would be EPA’s actual plan for meeting that goal. To some extent, the prior version of TSCA failed because it simply wasn’t feasible to implement.
Good luck. Everyone wants this to work.