Regulation & Policy

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.

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.  

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., "The Impact of Toxic Substances Control Act Nomenclature on the Commercialization of Biobased Chemicals," AOCS Inform, July/August, 2015.

Imagine receiving a certified letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing that it plans to conduct an audit of your company’s facility in two weeks. The audit will focus on your company’s compliance obligations as a chemical manufacturer under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Would you be prepared or are you unsure of what TSCA is and whether it applies to you? This article explains how TSCA applies to biobased chemicals and how nomenclature and chemical identity can impact commercialization.

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.

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.

American Bar Association, "Special Green Chemistry Issue," ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know Committee Newsletter, November 2013.

Green chemistry is a hot topic in the 2013–2014 Pesticide, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know (PCRRTK) Committee Action Plan. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry), green chemistry is “the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.” The momentum that green chemistry has taken on is so notable that we are taking the unusual step of devoting a special issue of the PCRRTK Newsletter to this exciting and groundbreaking topic.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Kathleen M. Roberts, Heidi B. Lewis, "Why BRAG Before You Go to Market? The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) Helps," Industrial Biotechnology, August, 2013.

Renewable chemicals are emerging at a fast pace, paving the way for new, innovative, and sustainable biobased products. The renewable chemicals’ market is estimated to reach $83.4 billion by 2018 in applications ranging from transportation and agriculture to textiles and cosmetics. In addition to all the elements great companies need to succeed -- a great product, a great brand, inspiring leadership, and vision -- biobased product companies need to understand how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) occupies a virtual seat at their management table, whether or not they know it.

 

Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and R. David Peveler, "TSCA and the Regulation of Renewable Chemicals," Industrial Biotechnology, October 2012.

Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and R. David Peveler published an article appearing in the October 2012 issue of Industrial Biotechnology. The article discusses how the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) applies to biobased chemicals, and suggests strategies for industrial stakeholders to ensure the successful introduction and marketing of biobased chemical products.

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