Mullin Reminds EPA Administrator of Looming Deadline, Reiterates Importance of New Chemical Reviews

U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan today to remind the agency of their 90-day statutory deadline to provide a briefing to Congress on the EPA’s plan to address their backlog of new chemical reviews under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  

Section 5 of TSCA requires the agency to make a determination within 90 days of submittal in order for a new chemical to be manufactured in or imported to the United States. As of May 16th, 2024, of the 407 new chemicals under TSCA review, only 76 have been under review for less than 90 days. That means 81 percent of new chemicals have been under review for more than 90 days. The recently passed Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bill mandates that the EPA brief the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act on improvements to effectively address the New Chemicals Program submission backlog.

“New chemical reviews are necessary for economic and technological innovation in America,” said Sen. Mullin, Ranking Member of the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “When approved on time, these reviews allowed U.S. companies to enter new products into the market which is key to economic growth and ensuring research and development and manufacturing activities remain domestic. The Biden EPA’s delays are creating uncertainty for business investments, stifling our international economic competitiveness, and ultimately contributing to offshoring. I look forward to hearing back from the Administrator on his plan.”

The full letter can be found here and below:

Dear Administrator Regan:

As Ranking Member of the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee, I write regarding the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. Specifically, on ensuring the Environmental Protection Agency brief the Committee, within 90 days of the enactment date of this legislation, on your plan to develop and implement improvements to the New Chemicals Program.

In order for the United States to maintain domestic production of chemicals that support critical supply chains, it is imperative that the agency meets the 90-day statutory deadline for review of new chemicals as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (P.L. 114–182), and eliminates the backlog of submissions. I look forward to reviewing your plan and status of the program as prescribed by this Act in combination with the following corrective actions:

  • A report on updated policies, procedures, and guidance related to new chemical reviews, including ensuring transparent chemical category determinations and communication with submitters of any additional information required that is not part of the category document, as well as processes for utilizing the submission’s intended use
  • A plan to improve outreach and guidance so that submitters understand information needs, processes, and requirements prior to and during submission of pre-manufacturing notices
  • Details on how you are enhancing existing applicant engagement procedures to ensure timely communication and resolution of any issues, technical and procedural, that may arise during the 90-day review period
  • Your plan to robustly implement the tiered testing approach to address data needs

Additionally, when establishing occupational exposure limits, the Committee encouraged the agency to enhance coordination with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and would appreciate learning about efforts to increase this coordination.

Thank you in advance for your report on these important actions to ensure new chemicals can be introduced in the United States.