EPA’s 2009 outlook for chemicals and pesticides

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Climate change legislation and regulatory measures will be the dominant issue, and if attained, the signature environmental achievement of the Obama Administration. The issue will dominate all EPA operations, including those primarily focused on chemicals and pesticides, consume the time and attention of senior EPA leadership, and eclipse virtually all other issues for at least the first year. Mr. Obama’s appointment of Carol Browner as Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, Heather Zichal as Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator demonstrates unequivocally that climate change will be the overarching priority for the Administration. Energy policy will be a key second priority. This may be in play soon in the Administration, as energy legislation is expected to be addressed early in the new term.

The broad implications for climate change and energy policy invited by Representative Waxman’s (D-CA) selection as the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee remain uncertain. Certainly Mr. Waxman is expected to press for a much more aggressive position on emission caps and timing of emission reductions.

Other significant priorities likely to consume the new EPA Administration’s time are expected to include chemical control legislation, including amending, possibly significantly, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), reinstatement of the Superfund tax, and reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, which are set to expire in 2009. While pesticide regulation per se may not be among the top priorities of the Obama Administration, virtually every one of the priorities that the Administration has will affect EPA’s regulation of these products.

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