Under a Nov. 16 proposal, manufacturers would have to pay more for the US Environmental Protection Agency to review new chemicals and data about substances on the market that may present risks, under a Nov. 16 proposal.
The proposal is intended to ensure that these fees add up to 25% of the agency’s cost of scrutinizing commercial chemicals, as authorized by the 2016 rewrite of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“For the last six years, we’ve lacked the needed resources to build a sustainable chemical safety program that’s grounded in science, protects communities from dangerous chemicals, and supports innovation,” Michal Freedhoff, head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, says in a statement.
US chemical manufacturers are worried.
“We are extremely concerned with EPA’s proposal to considerably increase TSCA fees and at the Agency’s continued failure to adequately substantiate these costs,” an industry group, the American Chemistry Council, says in a statement. “We want EPA to show us the math and substantiate TSCA fees and revenue.”
The EPA began collecting TSCA fees in fiscal 2019. They now cover roughly 12% of authorized TSCA costs, according to the EPA. The current fee structure is based on the agency’s costs before Congress altered TSCA to expand the EPA’s duties.
The agency’s proposal is “a critical—and overdue—step to address years of lowballing industry’s share of the cost to implement TSCA,” Lindsay McCormick of the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund says in a statement.
In addition, McCormick says, Congress needs to increase its funding for the EPA.