Biofuels

Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, "An Analysis of TSCA Reform Provisions Pertinent to Industrial Biotechnology Stakeholders," Industrial Biotechnology, Volume 12, Issue 4, August 2016.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, P.L. 114-182, significantly amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Act was signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2016. The date of signature is both the date of enactment and of entry into force of amended TSCA. New TSCA fundamentally changes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approach to evaluating and managing industrial chemicals, including genetically engineered microorganisms. The body of changes, the careful balancing of countless competing needs and interests, and artful drafting yield a statute that has been greatly strengthened and addresses virtually all of the deficiencies that have impeded TSCA's effectiveness over the years.  The changes are consequential, and stakeholders in the industrial biotechnology community could be greatly impacted by them, depending upon how EPA interprets and discharges its new authorities. This article highlights key changes of which stakeholders should be aware, sets forth the law's schedule by which EPA is to implement the changes, and identifies opportunities for stakeholders to engage in rulemaking or other activities to help influence the implementation process to ensure that it is firmly rooted in a clear understanding of the science, and of the risks and benefits offered by products of industrial biotechnology.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Biotechnology: A Lot is Going On," Environmental Quality Management, Winter, 2015.

Biotechnology is an area of growing domestic and international importance to the manufacturing sector, and this summer the federal government announced several important biotechnology initiatives of which stakeholders should be aware. This article from the Winter, 2015, issue of Environmental Quality Management explains each initiative, and outlines why stakeholders are encouraged to engage in each one.

L. Bergeson, B. Auerbach, L. Campbell, T. Backstrom, S. Dolan, J. Vergnes, R. Engler, J. Bultena, K. Baron, C. Auer, "The DNA of the U.S. Regulatory System: Are We Getting It Right for Synthetic Biology?," Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Synthetic Biology Project Report, October 15, 2015.

The pathway to market for new products utilizing synthetic biology can be difficult to navigate, posing a challenge for companies in their efforts to commercialize new ideas, while the novelty posed by some of these products can make it difficult for regulatory agencies to evaluate risks. This report from the Synthetic Biology Project,The DNA of the U.S. Regulatory System: Are We Getting It Right for Synthetic Biology?, looks at the current regulatory oversight of synthetic biology in the United States through the lens of different products. The case studies in the report look at synthetic organisms, synthetic chemicals, biopesticides, biomining products, and genetically modified plants, which are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Our report demonstrates the regulatory complexity innovators face in seeking to commercialize their products,” says Lynn Bergeson, lead author of the report and managing partner at Bergeson & Campbell PC. “The report offers some common-sense and easily implemented solutions to help federal agencies do their jobs more efficiently and offers suggestions for the regulated community to be more proactive in expanding the technological literacy of the agencies with jurisdictional oversight over their products.”

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Industrial Biotechnology: Coordinated Framework Make-Over and Lots More," Industrial Biotechnology, Vol. 11 No. 5, October 2015.

The summer of 2015 was surprisingly busy in the industrial biotechnology policy and regulatory arenas with three important announcements regenerating lots of buzz.  On July 2, 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, the US Trade Representative, and the Council on Environmental Quality issued a memorandum directing EPA, FDA, and USDA to update and modernize the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology.  A few weeks later, EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) announced a project intended to support public dialog concerning the development and use of biotechnology by developing a new algae “how to” document for Toxic Substances Control Act Purposes, and to help jump start much needed public discourse around the topic of biotechnology in general.  Finally, OPPT also announced that it is updating its Points to Consider in the Preparation of TSCA Biotechnology Submissions for Microorganisms. Each of these developments is important. This article discusses these initiatives, offers insights on why stakeholders should applaud these opportunities, and urges stakeholders to seize the moment and to engage vigorously in them.  

Lynn L. Bergeson, "White House Targets Biotechnology," Chemical Processing, July 16, 2015.

With little fanfare, on July 2, 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Council on Environmental Quality issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. Last updated in 1992 and first rolled out in 1986, the Coordinated Framework outlines a comprehensive federal regulatory policy for products of biotechnology. The memorandum could have significant implications for innovators in the biotechnology and synthetic biology commercial space

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., "Thought Leadership: The Toxic Substances Control Act and the Bioeconomy: Part 3, Call to Action," Biofuels Digest, May 18, 2015.

In the second installment of this series, I wrote about how the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates products across a manufacturing process, from feedstock to product. In this last installment, I present options for updating TSCA and the related implementing regulations to put novel, biobased chemistry on an even footing with incumbent products and processes that were grandfathered in as part of the original TSCA Inventory.

The key is to find a way to level the field without compromising the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission and authority to protect human health and the environment.

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., "Thought Leadership: The Toxic Substances Control Act and the Bioeconomy: Part 2, Reportable Substances across the Manufacturing Process," Biofuels Digest, May 1, 2015.

In the first installment of this series, I wrote about how the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates products. In this article, we will look across a manufacturing process.

TSCA applies to chemical substances that are used for purposes other than food, food additives, animal feed, cosmetics, drugs, tobacco and tobacco products, pesticides, munitions, and nuclear source materials. Biobased chemicals, that is, chemicals made from lignocellulose or other biomass, are finding markets in food and cosmetic markets, but much of the recent innovation focuses on biobased fuels and commodity chemicals. For these final products, TSCA applies. Chemical products must be listed on the TSCA Inventory of Chemical Substances (the Inventory) or be eligible for an exemption. If the product is not listed on the Inventory, the manufacturer must file a premanufacture notification 90 days before manufacturing (or importing) that substance or qualify for an appropriate exemption.

Richard E. Enlger, Ph.D., "The Toxic Substances Control Act and the Bioeconomy: Part 1, The Impact of Nomenclature on the Commercialization of Biobased Chemicals," Biofuels Digest, April 26, 2015.

Bioeconomy companies recognize that their products are subject to a variety of federal chemical regulations, especially if they sell food, food additives, cosmetics, or other products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, companies may not recognize all the ways that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates bioproducts, perhaps because of the understandable focus on the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the various programs under that authority: Renewable Fuel Standard, fuel additive registration, or other CAA submissions. TSCA also applies to bioproducts used in industrial, commercial, and most consumer products, including fuels. TSCA reporting requirements are in addition to, and separate from, CAA reporting.

Kevin Adler, "TSCA Nomenclature May Be Barrier for Advanced Biofuels," OPIS Ethanol & Biodiesel Information Service Newsletter, April 7, 2015.

The Oil Price Information Network (OPIS) spoke with BRAG's  Richard E. Engler, Ph.D. , Senior Policy Advisor with Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., regarding the application of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to oils made from algae feedstocks and other non-traditional bio-materials.  The resulting article in the OPIS Ethanol & Biodiesel Newsletter is reprinted here with permission from OPIS. 

Pat Rizzuto, "Biobased Diesel Companies Petition EPA For Rules Comparable to Traditional Diesel," Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report, October 22, 2014.

On October 21, 2014, BRAG® submitted two petitions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting that biodiesel fuel manufacturers be granted the same Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) exemptions that petroleum-based diesel manufacturers already receive.  Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report covered the petitions in this feature story.

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