e-Edition: January 2018

PROPOSED NEW MERCURY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

EPA published a proposed rule under TSCA section 8(b)(10) to require reporting to assist in the preparation of “an inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States.” The rule would require reporting from any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury (including mercury compounds) or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process.

 

EPA published its initial inventory report in the Federal Register on March 29, 2017, which noted data gaps and limitations encountered by the Agency in its historic reliance on publicly available data on the mercury market in the U.S. As stated in the initial inventory report, “[f]uture triennial inventories of mercury supply, use, and trade are expected to include data collected directly from persons who manufacture or import mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process.” The proposed reporting requirements would help the Agency narrow such data gaps, as well as to prepare subsequent, triennial publications of the inventory, and to execute the mandate to "identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury; and . . . recommend actions, including proposed revisions of Federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use" (15 U.S.C. 2607(b)(10)(C)).

 

This information could also be used by EPA to assist in its national reporting regarding its implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Minamata Convention), to which the U.S. is a Party. The Minamata Convention is an international environmental agreement that has as its objective the protection of human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of elemental mercury and mercury compounds. Article 21 of the Convention requires Parties to include in their national reports, among other information, information demonstrating that the Party has met the requirements of Article 3 on Mercury Supply Sources and Trade and of Article 5 on Manufacturing Processes in Which Mercury or Mercury Compounds Are Used. As proposed, the reporting requirements of the rule will further enhance the understanding of the use of mercury in the U.S., in particular with respect to mercury supply sources and trade, mercury-added products, and manufacturing processes, thus providing a body of information that will assist the U.S. in its implementation of the reporting requirements of the Minamata Convention. EPA intends to use the collected information to implement TSCA and shape the Agency's efforts to reduce the use of mercury in commerce. In so doing, the Agency would conduct a timely evaluation and refinement of these reporting requirements so that they are efficient and non-duplicative for reporters.

 

EPA proposed that supply, use, and trade of mercury include reporting requirements for activities comparable to established TSCA terms: Manufacture, import, distribution in commerce, storage, and export. The reporting requirements also would apply to otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process. Persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, would report amounts of mercury in pounds (lb) used in such activities during a designated reporting year. Reporters also would identify specific mercury compounds, mercury-added products, manufacturing processes, and how mercury is used in manufacturing processes, as applicable, from pre-selected lists. For certain activities, reporters would provide additional, contextual data (e.g., country(ies) of origin/destination for imports/exports and NAICS codes for mercury or mercury-added products distributed in commerce).

 

The proposed reporting requirements would not apply to persons engaged in the generation, handling, or management of mercury-containing waste, unless that person manufactures or recovers mercury in the management of that waste with the intent to use the recovered mercury or store it for use. In addition, persons engaged in trade (e.g., brokering, selling wholesale, shipping, warehousing, repackaging, or retail sale), but who do not first manufacture mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, are not required to report. Finally, in an effort to avoid reporting that is unnecessary or duplicative, the Agency is proposing certain exemptions for persons who already report for mercury and mercury-added products to the TSCA section 8(a) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule and the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC).

 

(Environmental Resource Center –

10-30-17)

  

EPA LOOKS AT WAYS TO TAILOR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS  TO PROMOTE GROWTH

The EPA recently released its final report on how EPA is implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 to cut regulations in order to promote energy production and economic growth—while protecting human health and the environment.

 

The report discusses nine EPA actions on energy-related regulations covered by EO 13783. It further includes the following four initiatives EPA plans in undertaking to implement this order:

 

  1. New Source Review reform (NSR) – EPA is establishing an NSR Reform Task Force to review and simplify the NSR application and permit process.

 

  2. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) reform – EPA plans to use the newly formed Ozone Cooperative Compliance Task Force to review administrative options to meaningfully improve air quality as it relates to ozone. EPA will also work to streamline the approval of state air pollution plans, and eliminate EPA’s backlog of state pollution plans.

 

  3. Robust Evaluations of the Employment Effects of EPA regulations – Five environmental statutes state that EPA must conduct continuing evaluations of potential shifts in employment that may result from implementation of statutes. EPA intends to conduct these evaluations consistent with the statutes.

 

  4. Reestablishing the Smart Sectors Program – EPA recently relaunched the Smart Sectors program to re-examine how it engages with American businesses to cut regulations, while protecting human health and the environment.

 

(Environmental Resource Center –10-30-17)

 

We at RT believe that these four additional initiatives are favorable and will benefit the American public, the business community, and the real estate and development industry.  NSR requires stationary sources of air pollution to get permits before construction starts, so any measures implemented to streamline this permitting process will be welcomed.  Additionally, streamlining the approval of air pollution plans and eliminating the federal backlog of permits will likely further jump start the manufacturing industry.  Employment is currently a major issue in the United States and recent job reports indicate that unemployment is decreasing, however any evaluation on how environmental regulations are impacting the employment industry should be seen as a good thing which should lead to improvement and more jobs.  Cutting regulations for business can also be seen as a good thing, but we may need to hold off on judgement of this issue until the details are known.  Regulations can not be cut at the expense of the environment and our future.  

 

-Justin Lauterbach, QEP Vice President

jlauterbach@rtenv.com


 



 

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