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OMB Clears Chemical Reporting Rule

07/08/11

Source: InsideEPA
Related Topics: Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) US Environmental Protection Agency

The White House budget office has completed its review of a long-awaited EPA rule for collecting data from industry on the production and use of chemicals in the United States, which clears the way for the agency to move forward with its collection of the information.

The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) completed its regulatory review of the Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule on July 7, noting that the rule was approved “consistent with change,” according to the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) website.

The rule, developed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), has been under review at OIRA since Jan. 20. TSCA section 8(b) requires the agency to compile and update its inventory of chemical substances manufactured or processed domestically.

The Obama EPA sought to expand the reporting requirements for upcoming IUR reports, prompting concern from industry groups that they will not have enough time to provide the required information. In April, House Republicans, including energy committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), wrote to OMB Director Jacob Lew asking the office to withdraw EPA’s proposed rule because it “fails to meet the requirements” of President Obama’s Executive Order 13563 on regulatory review, as well as the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The controversy prompted EPA in May to suspend the reporting for the next IUR reporting period, which was set to begin June 1, because the rule was still in limbo. EPA officials told industry earlier this year that there would be an “adequate period of time” to comply with the new rules.

But proponents of stronger chemical reporting requirements say the rule is needed to give EPA critical information about chemical use, and say the industry pressure could undermine future regulatory efforts and interfere with EPA's statutory mandates under the TSCA. Sources say that the IUR is one of the few regulatory tools allowing EPA to make crucial information on certain chemicals available to the public.

Last month, activist groups said they planned to ask EPA and OMB to set a timeline for finalizing the rule and lifting EPA's suspension. “[T]he IUR provides exposure-related data needed to understand chemical risks -- information that is vital to identifying chemical risks to the public and environmental health and crafting regulations to protect them,” according to an article in a recent newsletter published by watchdog group OMB Watch.







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