The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published the final rule on TSCA User Fees and officially began collecting the new fees for TSCA activities on October 1. NACD has been closely involved in the development of the rule. We submitted our initial comments in August of 2016 and then sent more extensive comments in February 2018 based on EPA’s proposed rule. NACD members can review the Regulatory Report on the final rule for a comprehensive analysis and to better understand its impacts upon chemical distributors.
First and foremost, EPA agreed to change the definition of “small business concern” from a revenue-based standard to an employee-based standard. NACD has been working to see this change in the fees rule and in other areas of TSCA for years. This change, although it may seem small, will have a huge impact for chemical distribution industry—likely saving of millions of dollars in fees paid.
The new definition will be based on the thresholds set by the Small Business Administration, where sizes vary by industry sector using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Most chemical distributors will fall under the NAICS code 42426 “Other Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers”. Chemical distributors under this NAICS code that have 150 employees or less will pay the small business fee for TSCA activities instead of the standard fee. The discount for small businesses is approximately 80 percent for TSCA fee-able activities.
For example, a chemical distributor with 45 employees may not have qualified under the previous revenue threshold of $40 million, but they will now qualify as they have less than 150 employees. While this company would have paid $2,500 for a Pre-Manufacture Notice (PMN) under the previous fee structure, they will now pay $2,800 instead of $16,000 under the new fee structure, saving them over $13,000 for every PMN.
EPA addressed all of the issues and questions raised by submitters in a helpful separate document. If you are interested in reading how EPA responded to NACD’s comments, they are listed as comment number “066”.
Although EPA did not agree with all our recommendations, we are pleased that EPA is listening to and working with industry to establish a fee structure that addresses the concerns of industry, especially small business concerns. The fees are not set in stone though; EPA will evaluate and adjust, if necessary, the fees in 2021.