There has been a lot of federal regulatory activity, even as the Coronavirus is negatively impacting people’s health, families, and livelihoods, as well as the economy. We at ISRI hope that you and yours are healthy and staying well.
Recent federal regulatory activities include Chemical Data Reporting (CDR), Refrigerant Management, and Federal Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). As detailed below, recyclers’ requirements under the recently finalized CDR and Refrigerant Management revisions are unchanged, practically speaking; however, recyclers’ requirements under the proposed 2020 MSGP could change substantially in certain ways, especially respecting corrective action. Comments on the proposed 2020 MSGP are due May 1, 2020. ISRI is holding a webinar on the draft 2020 MSGP on March 27, 2020.
Chemical Data Reporting
As mentioned here last month, this year (2020) is a reporting year for quadrennial Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) at 40 CFR Part 711. Normally, the period for reporting of required CDR information would be from June 1 through September 30, 2020.
However, last year, EPA started a rulemaking process to review and to consider revisions to the CDR regulations, in part because of changes to TSCA under the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. In submitted comments, ISRI made strong cases for new CDR exemptions for importation of scrap metal and conversion of metal-melting byproducts (e.g., metal oxides) back to metal. ISRI also argued for substantially increasing the monetary and quantity thresholds for a “small manufacturer (or importer)” that is exempt from CDR requirements. EPA split the rulemaking into separate CDR and Small Manufacturer rulemakings and then missed its own deadline to finalize any revisions to CDR and to Small Manufacturer by the end of 2019. Earlier this year, ISRI met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to argue in-person for these new CDR exemptions and also to extend the reporting period by at least two months because EPA missed its 2019 deadline (ISRI expects to meet with OIRA on the Small Manufacturer rulemaking, which is still pending).
Last week, the EPA Administrator signed the final rule for CDR revisions, which was released as a prepublication copy prior to official publication in the Federal Register. Also signed was a separate rulemaking to extend the 2020 reporting period only by two months, to November 30, 2020 (prepublication copy). Preliminary review of the prepublication rule indicates that recyclers’ CDR requirements have not changed. However, the following relevant revisions to reporting were made: new confidential business information (CBI) substantiation for certain reported data elements (but not annual production quantities); new reportable data elements and codes; reporting of recycled chemical substances; reporting of parent company identity; and technical changes to regulatory text. EPA has announced a CDR webinar on March 31, 2020 (details forthcoming here).
In early October 2018, EPA published a proposed rule to revise the refrigerant management requirements (40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F) as they apply to non-ozone-depleting refrigerants. In the proposed rule, EPA proposed to limit the “leak repair requirements” for appliances with 50 lb or more of refrigerant to only ozone-depleting refrigerants. EPA did not propose a similar limitation on the refrigerant management requirements for small appliances and motor vehicle AC units (MVACs), but did ask for comment on it. Such a limitation would not change the existing venting prohibitions on both ozone-depleting and non-ozone-depleting refrigerants without a specific exemption; these prohibitions are specified in Title VI of the Clean Air Act (CAA). In comments submitted November 2018, ISRI expressed concern that the strict interpretation of CAA Title VI for limiting refrigerant management requirements to only ozone-depleting refrigerants, which was acceptable, would also preclude requiring proper recovery of refrigerant from appliances and vehicles prior to their delivery to recyclers for recycling. ISRI requested that EPA use its discretion to require prior proper refrigerant recovery, as plainly required by CAA Title VI, which ISRI identified as one of its four major regulatory issues in 2017 regulatory reform comments.
Last week, EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register (see here). As explained in the preamble, EPA finalized limitation of the leak repair requirements for appliances with 50 lb or more of refrigerant to only ozone-depleting refrigerants. EPA did not revise the refrigerant management requirements under Subpart F. Recyclers’ requirements for recycling of small appliances and MVACs remain the same.
Proposed 2020 MSGP
On background, after EPA issued the final 2015 MSGP in mid-2015, several environmental groups filed petitions to force EPA to withdraw and reconsider it. The ensuing consolidated Waterkeeper Alliance petition claimed that the final 2015 MSGP violates several aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Federal StormWater Association, of which ISRI is a member, intervened in this petition process to give industry an opportunity to represent its interests in the 2015 MSGP. In mid-August 2016, a settlement involving EPA, Waterkeeper Alliance, and FSWA was reached to avoid protracted litigation. The settlement allowed the final 2015 MSGP to proceed and focused its activities on shaping the proposed next (2020) MSGP based on the CWA issues raised in the petition.
The main settlement feature was a study by the National Academies (NA) on the petition issues and 2015 MSGP. Recommendations from the NA study report would heavily influence the proposed next (2020) MSGP. During the NA’s process for gathering information from stakeholders, ISRI presented twice on industrial stormwater issues and challenges in late 2017 and early 2018. In early 2019, the NA issued its final report (here). EPA considered the NA’s recommendations for inclusion in the proposed 2020 MSGP.
Earlier this month, EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register (here) announcing the availability of the draft proposed 2020 MSGP for public comment. The Federal Docket contains the draft MSGP, fact sheet, and other documents, including a redlined draft MSGP. Comments on the draft 2020 MSGP are due to EPA by May 1, 2020.
A preliminary review of the draft MSGP and associated documents indicates that the draft MSGP contains some but not all NA recommendations. While there has been some major renumbering of sections, the overall structure of the MSGP is largely the same, including the requirements for Sector N (Recycling) (benchmarks aside).
Major proposed revisions include (section number): anti-flood control measures (22.214.171.124); composite sampling (4.1.4); universal benchmark parameters of pH, COD, TSS for all sectors (126.96.36.199); inspection-only option for “low-risk” facilities (Comment Request 11, not in draft text at 188.8.131.52); elimination of iron benchmark (Comment Request 18 at 184.108.40.206; iron not listed in Sector N1 benchmarks at 8.N.6); alternative copper benchmark (Comment Request 19 at 220.127.116.11); TMDL monitoring (18.104.22.168); and Additional Implementation Measures (AIM) with tiered corrective action (5.2).
ISRI will be holding a webinar on the draft 2020 MSGP for ISRI members on Friday, March 27, at 2:00 pm EDT (click here for information).