EPA Proposes Rule to Amend Enforceable Consent Agreements (ECAs)
Related Topics: Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
EPA is proposing to revise the procedures for developing Enforceable Consent Agreements (ECAs) to generate test data under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The idea behind an ECA is to set up a means of gathering test data more expeditiously than going through the relatively prolonged rule making process. The main features of the ECA process that EPA is proposing to change include when and how to initiate negotiations and inserting a firm deadline at which negotiations will terminate. EPA is also proposing to amend several sections in 40 CFR part 790 to place the ECA provisions in one section and the Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) provisions in a separate section, to make it clearer that there is one ECA negotiation procedure applicable to all circumstances when an ECA would be appropriate and to make conforming changes in other sections that reference the ECA procedures.
It is noted that the average time to complete the negotiations of an ECA is about 2 years, and in some instances longer. Additionally, some negotiations have never been formally concluded, or have been terminated. EPA’s efforts would help eliminate some of the problems associated with delays and provide a provision to formally terminate fruitless negotiations, regardless of the chemical selection process. Furthermore, the proposed amendments would provide that if negotiations have not concluded within six months (again, regardless of the circumstances by which the chemical substance or mixture was selected for testing consideration), ECA negotiations automatically terminate and EPA may pursue a test rule instead. Finally, the agency hopes to change the procedures involved in setting meetings, relying more on Federal Register documents, the EPA website, and other forms of public communication.
Comments are due on or before March 22, 2010. EPA believes this will help streamline current ECA procedures and will not have a negative impact on small entities. To view the proposed rule click here.
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