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The Week Ahead

EPA is closing the comment period this week on its plan to limit the use of informal guidance documents in response a recent executive order. Meanwhile, top agency toxics officials will speak at an event marking the fourth anniversary of the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

EPA Guidance

Comments are due June 22 on EPA’s proposed rule that would set several new restrictions on how the agency uses guidance, such as requiring notice and comment before issuing “significant” guidance documents and setting up a process for stakeholders to formally petition for withdrawal of particular guides. The planned rule follows President Donald Trump’s October executive order requiring additional scrutiny of federal guidance policies, which in turn builds on long-time GOP and industry criticism of what they say is EPA and other agencies’ practice of enacting binding mandates through guidance.


EPA toxics chief Alexandra Dunn and other top agency officials are slated to address a June 24 online seminar (https://www.eli.org/events/tsca-reform-four-years-later) marking the fourth anniversary of the reformed TSCA statute, hosted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). Other speakers include deputy toxics director Mark Hartman, Risk Assessment Division Director Tala Henry and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who helped craft the law in 2016.

The full EPA Science Advisory Board and its Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee will meet June 23-24 to continue their consultations on EPA’s revisions to its human toxicity assessment guidelines, and its methods for reducing animal testing by shifting resources to computational toxicology.

Inside EPA will have full coverage of these and other developments under the revised toxics law in our new service, Inside TSCA.


The American Bar Association (ABA) will host a pair of webcast panel discussions June 25 focused on the future of renewable energy markets and policy, as part of its online replacement for its cancelled spring environmental law conference. The first panel focuses on uncertainties in the transition from fossil fuel to “clean” power sources. The second session covers the “jurisdictional tangles” of energy regulation and, separately, mobile source impacts on air quality and climate change.

Water Infrastructure

EPA will host a June 23 webinar on its work with states and philanthropic foundations to help fund water infrastructure improvements, “especially for resource-constrained and smaller communities.”

Climate Change

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a June 24 hearing on S. 3894, the “Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020,” a bipartisan proposal that would create a new program at the Department of Agriculture designed to smooth farmers’ participation in carbon-trading markets.

The ABA will host a June 22 webinar on climate policies below the national level, including those enacted by U.S. states as well as territories of other countries like Germany.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has scheduled a June 23 webinar on the potential jobs impacts of scaled-up direct air capture technology to pull carbon dioxide from ambient air.

The ABA will host a June 24 panel discussion on the intersection of human rights law and climate change, focused on “the evolving recognition that governments and the private sector have legal obligations under human rights law to ensure a healthy environment in the face of climate change.”

ELI will host a June 25 webinar on state and local governments’ responses to more-frequent extreme weather linked to climate change.

EPA Science

EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors Subcommittee on Chemical Safety for Sustainability/Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA), which advises the agency on its scientific and research agendas, will meet June 24 to finalize its report on the agency’s draft HERA strategic research action plan.

Janet McCabe

Janet McCabe, who headed EPA’s air and radiation office during the Obama administration, will speak on environmental justice and the agenda of the broader environmental movement during a June 23 webcast hosted by the group Women 4 Change.


The National Academy of Sciences will host a June 25 workshop on current and future research into the neurotoxic impacts of environmental exposure to toxic chemicals, including the role of new technologies to identify neurotoxic substances and potential use of algorithmic prediction to estimate the effects of cumulative exposures.

Environmental Law

ELI will host a June 26 “conversation” with Ben Wilson, chairman of the industry-focused law firm Beveridge & Diamond, on environmental law as well as other issues.

Vehicle Emissions

June 26 is the deadline for comments on EPA’s proposal to revise current emissions-testing regulations for heavy-duty engines and vehicles, “to improve accuracy and reduce testing burden.”