EPA Suspends Data-Submission Period For TSCA Inventory Update Reporting Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency is suspending the data-submission period for chemical manufacturers under the Inventory Update Reporting rule until a proposal to update the rule is made final, the agency said in a notice published in the May 11 Federal Register (76 Fed. Reg. 27,271).

Under an IUR rule issued in 2005, the data-submission period for calendar year 2010 was to run from June 1 through Sept. 30 (70 Fed. Reg. 75,059).

The last data-submission period was in 2006 for chemicals produced in calendar year 2005.

The agency has proposed to update the 2005 regulation with a final rule that has been under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget since Jan. 20. As of May 10, OMB had not completed its review (35 CRR 269, 3/14/11).

The suspension of the data submission period means EPA will not accept IUR data until it announces a new submission period in the final rule, the agency said.

Delay Seeks to Avoid Confusion.

The delay should avoid confusion and duplicative effort that would be likely if the submission period opened prior to EPA issuing its updated regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the notice said.

Under the Inventory Update Reporting rule, chemical manufacturers must periodically provide EPA with production volume and other information about the chemicals they manufacture or import.

Under proposed revisions to the rule announced Aug. 13, 2010, EPA would require chemical manufacturers to provide significantly more information (34 CRR 791, 8/16/10).

“We welcome EPA's decision to temporarily suspend the IUR submission period for 2011,” Robert Kiefer, regulatory and technical affairs director at the American Chemistry Council, said in a statement May 10.

EPA's action addresses manufacturers' concerns that they would have inadequate time to file IUR reports consistent with the forthcoming rule's requirements by Sept. 30, he said.

“The agency must ensure that the final rule gives industry an adequate amount of time to comply with the reporting obligations,” Kiefer said.

Industry Expected Suspension.

Dan Newton, manager for government relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, told BNA that chemical manufacturers were expecting EPA's suspension.

When EPA last updated the IUR rule in 2005, it gave chemical manufacturers two years to ensure their data-collection systems would provide the required information, Newton said.

This time around, manufacturers still do not know what information they will be required to report, he said.

Martha Marrapese, an attorney specializing in chemical issues at Keller and Heckman LLP, told BNA, “EPA is doing the right thing. They will receive better information as a result.”

Kathleen Roberts, who formerly worked on IUR issues for the American Chemistry Council and now works for Bergeson and Campbell P.C., shared that perspective.

If companies were confused as to whether they should file their IUR reports in accordance with the 2005 regulation or wait for the updated rule to be published, EPA has now settled that question, she added.

“Now we'll have to see what is in the final rule,” Roberts said.

By Pat Rizzuto