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James Votaw Quoted in Inside TSCA Article

Keller and Heckman Partner James Votaw was quoted in the Inside TSCA article, “Industry Faces Hurdles from PBT Rule Despite EPA ‘No Action’ Pledge.” The article discusses how Industry attorneys are welcoming EPA’s six-month enforcement pause for some aspects of its novel TSCA rule governing one persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical, but they say companies wrestling with how to eliminate the flame retardant from their supply chains still face challenges despite the agency’s “no action assurance.”

During Keller and Heckman’s March 17th TSCA 30/30 webinar, James said the enforcement pause “opened the door” to a “practicable transition” away from use of the PBT, phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1), or PIP (3:1). But he also warned that companies that work with the chemical must still offer EPA concrete evidence to support any long-term regulatory reforms aimed at easing implementation of the rule after EPA’s no-action order expires in September, such as when they address which chemicals might be viable substitutes for PIP in their processes.

“As a practical matter for companies with PIP in their supply chain . . . [it is] really critical not to rely on generalization on making substitutions. The agency really needs facts, substantial evidence rather than general statements about what is or isn’t difficult to do,” James said.

EPA is seeking comment from stakeholders both on how to alleviate implementation concerns with the PIP rule and potential changes to all five of the PBT regulations—which is likely to draw demands from environmental groups for the agency to eliminate some of the use-specific exemptions and phase-in periods that they attacked as improper “loopholes” during the rulemaking process. That combination of actions “really opened the door both for practicable transition and to increase the scope of these PBT rules as it relates to these chemicals,” said James.

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