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EPA in January to Name Those Hit With Chemical Fee (Corrected)

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:42 PMUpdated: Dec. 20, 2019, 9:57 PM

A preliminary list of companies that could have to pay a joint $1.35 million-per-chemical fee for 20 chemicals will be released by the EPA in January, agency staff said Dec. 19.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 20 will identify the 20 chemicals it’s decided are high priorities for risk evaluation, said Ryan Schmit from the EPA’s chemicals office.

The BASF Corp., the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Koch Industries Inc., and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are among the companies that make or import the solvents, phthalates, or other chemicals the agency has identified as expected to be on the high priority list.

The agency will draw on the names it has of companies that make or import the chemicals to create the preliminary list of businesses that it will publish in early- to mid-January, Schmit said in a conference call the agency hosted to remind industry of its obligation to pay the risk evaluation fees next year.

Companies that will be subject to the joint $1.35 million-per-chemical fee include businesses that make or import any of the 20 high priority chemicals intentionally, companies that make or import the chemicals in small amounts as an impurity of other chemicals, and companies that import manufactured goods that contain any of the 20 chemicals, Schmit said.

The $1.35 million per chemical will be used by EPA to offset the costs of evaluating the chemical’s risks. The Toxic Substances Control Act fee regulation the EPA issued in 2018 offered no exemptions for any specific groups of manufacturers or importers, he said.

The public will have 60 days to review and correct that list before the agency finalizes it, Schmit said.

Any company that has made or imported one of the 20 chemicals must identify itself to the EPA during that 60-day period regardless of whether its name is on the preliminary list, he said.

Corporate To-Do List

Chemical manufacturers and importers will want to review the EPA’s preliminary list immediately to see if they’re on it, Gregory A. Clark, an associate with Keller and Heckman LLP, told Bloomberg Environment.

Many companies will have known since March that they could have to pay the fee, and will expect to see their names included, he said.

But a few companies may be surprised to find their names on the EPA’s list, said Lawrence E. Culleen, a partner with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.
For example, the EPA might inadvertently list a company that processed a chemical by repackaging it for distribution, for example, Culleen said. Chemical processors don’t have to pay the risk evaluation fee.

Final List in June

The agency will publish by June 2020 a final list of companies subject to the new fee, Schmit said during the conference call. That’s also the deadline by which the EPA must publish its plans to evaluate each of the 20 chemicals.

The actual amount each company will pay depends on many factors, he said. These include the number of companies that make each of the 20 chemicals, and the number of large versus small companies, which pay reduced fees, Schmit said.

Companies also can join in groups and decide among themselves how to allocate fees, he said. But he said the group must identify itself to EPA within 60 days after the publication of the final list of companies that must pay the fee.

Fees are due in October, 120 days after the agency has published the final list of companies that must pay up, Schmit said.

(Corrects 5th paragraph to clarify that companies that import goods that contain, rather than release, the chemicals could have to pay a fee. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergenvironment.com

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