EPA’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on TSCA reporting of hydraulic fracturing chemicals

On March 11, 2014, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the reporting of hydraulic fracturing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Responding to a petition filed under TSCA section 21 by environmental groups, the EPA plans to initiate rulemaking proceedings under TSCA sections 8(a) and 8(d) to obtain data on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing.  While granting the request to initiate rulemaking proceedings, the EPA stated that it “is not committing to a specific rulemaking outcome.” 

The EPA plans to develop the ANPR and “initiate a stakeholder process  to provide input on the design and scope of the TSCA reporting requirements that would be included in a proposed rule.”  Anticipating discussions with the states, industry, public interest groups and members of the public, the EPA wants to avoid duplication of efforts, “to ensure any reporting burdens and costs are minimized,” and to determine “how information that is claimed Confidential Business Information could be aggregated and disclosed to maximize transparency and public understanding.”

Previously the EPA rejected a request by the same environmental groups to require manufacturers and processors to test hydraulic fracturing fluid chemicals for toxicity under TSCA section 4.

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (barclay.nicholson@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.