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James Votaw Quoted in Inside TSCA Article on EPA’s Rework of its Significant New Use Rules

Keller and Heckman Partner James Votaw was quoted in the Inside TSCA article, “Attorney Sees ‘Big Change’ But Mixed Results From EPA’s SNUR Overhaul.” The article discusses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent rework of key elements of its Significant New Use Rules (SNURs). The article mentions Keller and Heckman’s August 10, 2022 TSCA 30/30 Webinar, where James pointed out that EPA’s move to ensure that SNUR guidelines adhere to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hierarchy of engineering controls is a “big change.” The article also refers to a Keller and Heckman article, “EPA Amends Regulations Governing Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances,” authored by Partners Tom Berger, Herb Estreicher, and Larry Halprin, that states the recent SNUR rulemaking alters “the requirements for computation of discharges of chemicals to surface water when assessing compliance with SNUR water release requirements,” and that the changes will “allow manufacturers and processors to account for reductions in surface water concentrations resulting from control technology.” James added during the webinar that EPA began to incorporate the water-discharge control technology “as a special condition” in some individual SNURS in 2016 and is now making this exemption a default part of the Toxic Substances Control Act’s (TSCA) Subpart B regulations. “Before you can use it, EPA will also have to specify an assumed removal efficiency and a treatment method,” James said, “so if you don't have that kind of a setup, then you'll have to go back to the old method.” The article goes on to discuss how these provisions in the recent rulemaking dealing with worker protections constitute a notable and possibly burdensome shift for industry. “A big change in the regulation is the practice that exists under OSHA rules that where there is a respiratory exposure that needs to be controlled, the employer is required in the first instance to use engineering controls to the extent feasible, rather than going directly to [personal protective equipment (PPE)],” commented James.

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