EPA Seeking to Redefine Small Business Under Chemicals Law

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By Tiffany Stecker and Pat Rizzuto

Chemical company reporting requirements may change as the Environmental Protection Agency considers revising the size standards for small chemical manufacturers under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act.

The EPA is requesting comment on a possible decision to revise the standards that would exempt small producers from reporting certain data. This includes the location of a plant site, the quantity imported or manufactured, and the number of workers involved in the process.

The standards, established in the 1980s, describe which manufacturers are generally exempt from the reporting requirements.

Currently, producers of chemicals, pesticides, paints and adhesives, and petroleum products making less than $4 million in annual sales are not subject to the same reporting mandates as large companies, with some exceptions.

The EPA may adjust the sales values if the federal price index for chemical products changes more than 20 percent.

Between 1988 and 2015, the price of chemicals has grown by 129 percent. More than 75 percent of the Small Business Administration’s size standards for firms are set higher than $7.5 million in annual sales.

“EPA’s existing $4 million annual sales standard is an outlier at the low end of this range,” the agency’s pre-publication notice says.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Pub. L. No. 114-182), amended the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act and became law June 22.

Help for Small Firms

The EPA has made a preliminary determination that the changes to the size standards are necessary under Section 8(a)(3)(C) of the new law, which requires the agency to consult with the SBA and decide which manufacturers and processors are deemed “small” manufacturers, and whether such a determination is warranted.

Dan Newton, senior government relations manager for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, told Bloomberg BNA his organization supports the agency’s plan to update the criteria that define small businesses under TSCA.

About 70 percent of the society’s members are small, specialty chemical manufacturers.

Newton pointed to comments the society provided the EPA in September regarding fees it will charge industry to recoup some of its chemicals oversight costs.

Business revenue is a reasonable approach to defining small businesses, but another approach would be to base the definition on the number of employees, the society said.

The EPA notice is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Dec. 15.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tiffany Stecker at tstecker@bna.com in Washington and Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bna.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

The EPA notice is available at http://src.bna.com/kKI.

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