This article is brought to you by The National Law Review.
On May 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Direct Final Rule identifying 15 chemical substances that will require notice prior to manufacturing, importing, or processing for an activity designated as a significant new use. These chemicals were flagged pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) significant new use rules (SNURs). The notices, referred to as Significant New Use Notices (SNUNs), must be submitted to EPA 90 days before a listed chemical is manufactured, imported, or processed for an activity designated as a significant new use. EPA states that this will provide the agency with an opportunity to evaluate the intended use and determine whether it is necessary under TSCA to prohibit or limit the activity before it occurs.
While chemicals in the rule include those that can be employed in a broad range of uses, of particular interest is the listing of one compound used in natural gas and oil well drilling and hydraulic fracturing to eliminate bacteria in the water that produce corrosive by-products. EPA included this compound due to its potential toxicity to aquatic life at concentrations above 11 parts per billion (ppb).
The rule is effective on July 8, 2013, unless written “adverse or critical” comments on any of the SNURs, including potential alternatives and likely financial burdens, are received on or before June 10, 2013. Those chemical substance(s) and new use that receive comments or notice of intent to comment will be withdrawn before the effective date and a proposed SNUR for the specific chemical substance will be issued with a 30-day comment period. For purposes of judicial review, the rule is promulgated on May 23, 2013.
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