Charles Franklin Quoted by BNA on TSCA Reform

For its article “Most Agree More Money Needed for TSCA; How Much, for What Remain Unclear,” BNA Daily Environment Report cited an article written by Akin Gump environment, natural resources and land practice senior counsel Charles Franklin and then interviewed him on the topic of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Franklin’s article, “The Price of Chemical Control: Learning From Struggle and Success,” was published in Environmental Law Reporter and compared the statute to the federal regulatory systems for drug safety and pesticide safety (a summary and the full article are available here).

In the interview, Franklin noted that a critical part of modernization of the TSCA is ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has both the funding and the mandate to determine which of the many chemicals used in commerce are priorities for further analysis.

He also said that, after prioritization is funded, Congress needs to consider the analyses, including risk assessments, it would mandate under a TSCA reform bill.  Franklin noted that agency regulators face the three constraints of speed, cost and quality, regarding which he invoked the phrase “Fast, good or cheap: Pick two.”  Thus, EPA could analyze chemicals quickly and cheaply, but the analyses would suffer from low quality, or a high-quality program could be designed that might be cheap but take a long time to assess the safety of thousands of chemicals. The third option is that EPA could prepare high-quality assessments quickly, but Congress and other parties needed to know that these wouldn’t be cheap.

In this regard, the article notes that the American Chemistry Council proposed the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), which supplements EPA’s appropriations for its pesticide program as a possible model. Franklin said that the PRIA fee system is not a perfect fit for TSCA, but that it, along with the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, does have useful concepts that could be applied in building a comparable mechanism for the chemicals sector.