Final EPA toxic chemical rule proposes $20 million in annual fees to manufacturers

Final EPA toxic chemical rule proposes $20 million in annual fees to manufacturers
© Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fourth and final rulemaking to revamp a chemical safety rule would collect more than $20 million annually from chemical and petroleum manufacturers and distributors.

The proposed fees rule under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), announced Thursday, would collect approximately $20.05 million a year from companies that manufacture or import, distribute in commerce, or process chemical substances, according to EPA's copy of the rule. The fees could also impact petroleum and coal products and chemical, petroleum and merchant wholesalers, according to the rule.

The text of the rule said the fee total does not include the fees collected for manufacturer-requested risk evaluations. Under the proposed rule, businesses would begin incurring fees at the start of October.

ADVERTISEMENT

The EPA said the fee is meant to defray some of the agency costs associated with implementing TSCA and will be added to the TSCA Service Fee Fund held at the U.S. Treasury. 

"These fees are intended to achieve the goals articulated by Congress to provide a sustainable source of funds for EPA to fulfill its legal obligations to conduct activities such as risk-based screenings, designation of applicable substances as High- and Low-Priority, conducting risk 5 evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, requiring testing of chemical substances and mixtures, and evaluating and reviewing manufacturing and processing notices, as required under TSCA," the rule said.

EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE said the fee would ensure that TSCA be implemented with the "highest standards."

"EPA has moved swiftly to implement the amended TSCA requirements. Our proposed TSCA fees rule ensures we have sufficient resources to review chemicals for safety with the highest scientific standards," Pruitt said in a statement.

A chemical safety law passed last year required the EPA to update several internal procedures related to the risk evaluation process for toxic chemicals.

However, some of the previously proposed rules have been met with heavy pushback. Several environmental groups sued the EPA in December over rules the agency published in July that determined which uses of chemicals the agency will assess before allowing the chemicals to be sold on the open market.

In their lawsuit the groups said the agency watered down the rules and weakened the chemical review process compared to the proposed regulations issued by the Obama administration.

“After Congress took bipartisan action to make desperately needed updates to our chemical safety laws, the Trump administration has turned back the clock, leaving families and workers at risk,” said Eve Gartner, an attorney at Earthjustice, which filed the lawsuit in federal court.

The groups argue the new rules provide “loopholes” for chemical manufacturers.

The EPA said in June the rules “clearly [define] important scientific terms to ensure transparency and confidence in the risk evaluation process” and ensure “that the agency’s resources are focused on those uses that may pose the greatest risk.”