Tom Berger Quoted in Chemical Watch article, "EPA Considers ‘Flexibilities and Payment Options' for TSCA Fees"

Date: Jun 04, 2020

Keller and Heckman Partner Tom Berger was quoted in the Chemical Watch article, “EPA Considers ‘Flexibilities and Payment Options’ for TSCA Fees.” The article notes that The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering extending the deadline for industry to pay $27 million in fees associated with the TSCA risk evaluation of 20 high-priority chemicals, a move trade associations have argued is necessary due to the financial uncertainty caused by the COVID - 19 pandemic.

But there is also concern that doing so could leave the EPA short on resources to conduct the TSCA program during a critical busy period. Several industry groups wrote a joint letter to the EPA arguing that, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, responsible companies should have one full year to pay their share of the fee, noting that quarantines, interruptions to supply chains, and diminished demand for goods are straining resources. EPA is evaluating potential options to accommodate industries affected by the pandemic but reiterated that current regulations state that the TSCA fees are due 120 days after the agency issues the final scope documents.

Some organizations warned that granting a delay in fees could slow the EPA’s work. Mr. Berger said that EPA does have some flexibility and has long considered ‘ability to pay’ when assessing civil monetary penalties under TSCA, adding that the agency has allowed penalty payment over time when appropriate.

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