OIG Releases Report Reviewing EPA's Ability to Meet Lautenberg Act Deadlines
In August 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report focused on the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recent review to assess the extent to which the Agency met key deadlines established by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act). In this blog post, we discuss this report and look at several of its findings and recommendations.
The EPA’s OIG conducted its year-long review from May 2019 to June 2020. While the Office found that the EPA did meet a number of established deadlines, that was not the case for all of them.
Key reviewed deadlines and the status of their completion are outlined in the table below.
|Publish a list of mercury compounds that are prohibited from export in the Federal Register.||9/20/2016||Completed|
|Report to Congress on resources needed to conduct the minimum number of risk evaluations and on the EPA’s ability to conduct and publish risk evaluations.||12/22/2016||Completed Late|
|Identify and start the first ten chemical risk evaluations.||12/19/2016||Completed|
|Create a rule for updating the TSCA chemical inventory.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Finalize the Risk Prioritization Rule.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Finalize the Risk Evaluation Rule.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Publish scope information for the first ten chemical risk evaluations.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Create guidance information for external risk evaluation development and submission.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Create rule covering information requirements for manufacturers of mercury and products to which mercury has been added.||6/22/2018||Completed|
|Publish a plan to advance the use of non-animal testing methods.||6/22/2017||Completed|
|Create and finalize a User Fee Rule||NA||Completed|
|Publish proposed rule for CBI under TSCA.||2/19/2020||Completed|
|Publish proposed rule for PBT chemical regulation.||6/22/2019||Completed|
|Propose low-priority designations for 20 chemical substances.||8/13/2019||Completed|
|Publish annual existing chemical risk evaluation plan.|
|Identify 20 high-priority chemical substances.||12/22/2019||Completed|
|Finalize 20 low-priority chemical designations.||12/22/2019||Completed Late|
|Publish final rule for CBI under TSCA.||2/19/2020||Completed|
|Complete first ten existing chemical risk evaluations.||2/22/2019 - 6/19/2020||Incomplete|
|Publish scoping information for 20 high-priority chemicals.||6/30/2020||Incomplete|
|Publish final rule for PBT chemical regulation.||12/22/2020||In Progress|
|Complete 20 high-priority chemical risk evaluations.||12/30/2022||In Progress|
Source: U,S. Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA, in particular, did not meet its June 2020 deadline for fully completing its first ten existing chemical risk evaluations. The OIG’s report concluded that the Agency's risk evaluation plans did not determine the resources that would be required for the evaluations conducted each year. The report also concluded that the EPA has not shown that it has a plan in place to address some future requirements. While the EPA has hired additional staff, and has plans to hire more, this may not be enough to align with the findings from a 2019 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) staffing analysis. The OIG noted that these factors call into question whether the Agency will be able to meet other TSCA deadlines successfully.
The report lists several important recommendations the OIG has made for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, including:
- Publishing the forthcoming Annual Existing Chemical Risk Evaluation Plan by the start of next year, and including information on required resources and anticipated implementation efforts
- Performing a workforce analysis to evaluate the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics' TSCA implementation abilities
- Specifying the skill gaps that need to be filled during fiscal year 2021 in order to address requirements of TSCA
More detailed information on the OIG’s recent review may be found by accessing the Office’s report Lack of Planning Risks EPA’s Ability to Meet Toxic Substances Control Act Deadlines. Additionally, you can visit the ToxPlanet website and blog regularly for information on new developments. Also, be sure to contact us and register for a Free Trial to learn how our diverse suite of solutions can help address your chemical hazard information needs.