EPA proposes new rule for chemical dispersants [US]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed amendments to the requirements under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which governs the use of oil-dispersing chemicals.  EPA is accepting 90 days of public comment on this proposed rule.

Responding to oil spills and hazardous chemical releases

The NCP serves as the nation’s blueprint for responding to oil spills and hazardous chemical releases and includes a list of dispersants that are either authorized or eligible to be pre-authorized for use.  Subpart J of the NCP directs EPA to prepare a schedule of dispersants, other chemicals, and oil spill mitigating devices and substances that may be used to remove or control oil discharges.

The EPA’s proposed new plan would allow dispersant manufactures to use a “new, well-tested and peer reviewed laboratory method” for gauging the effectiveness of their products in different environments.  This measure would increase manufacturer options for toxicity testing methods, which is how toxicity is monitored when the chemicals are used on spills to provide required information to the EPA and the public.

Qualifying products to offer greater performance at less environmental impact

EPA has also proposed an aquatic toxicity threshold to ensure qualifying products offer “greater performance at less environmental impact.”

Furthermore, the proposal describes chemical ingredient disclosure options, new evaluation criteria, and a process to remove products from the product schedule.

Red-on-line EHS Legal Counsel
Sources :

EPA Proposed Rule on National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, Federal Register, 80 FR 3379, p. 3379 -3446, January 22, 2015