Title 40

SECTION 790.22

790.22 Procedures for developing consent agreements.

§ 790.22 Procedures for developing consent agreements.

(a) Preliminary EPA evaluation of proposed consent agreement. Where EPA believes that testing of a chemical substance or mixture may be needed, and wishes to explore whether a consent agreement may satisfy the identified testing needs, EPA will invite manufacturers and/or processors of the affected chemical substance or mixture to submit a proposed consent agreement to EPA. EPA will evaluate the proposal(s) and may request additional clarifications of or revisions to the proposal(s).

(b) Negotiation procedures for consent agreements. If, after evaluating the proposed consent agreement(s), EPA believes it is likely that proceeding with negotiation of a consent agreement would be an efficient means of developing the data, EPA will use the following procedures to conduct such negotiations:

(1) In the Federal Register, EPA will give notice of the availability of the proposal(s) that is the basis for negotiation, invite persons interested in participating in or monitoring negotiations to contact the Agency in writing, set a deadline for interested parties to contact the Agency in writing, and set a date for the negotiation meeting(s).

(2) The Agency will meet with interested parties at the negotiation meeting(s) for the purpose of attempting to negotiate a consent agreement. Only the submitter(s) of the proposal(s) that is the basis for negotiation and those persons who submit written requests to participate in or monitor negotiations by the deadline established under paragraph (b)(1) of this section will be deemed “interested parties” for purposes of this section.

(3) All negotiation meetings will be open to members of the public, but only interested parties will be permitted to participate in negotiations. The minutes of each meeting will be prepared by EPA. Meeting minutes, the proposed consent agreement(s), background documents, and other materials distributed at negotiation meetings will be placed in an Internet-accessible public docket established by EPA.

(4) If EPA concludes at any time that negotiations are unlikely to produce a final agreement, EPA will terminate negotiations and may proceed with rulemaking. If EPA terminates negotiations, no further opportunity for negotiations will be provided. EPA will notify all interested parties of the termination.

(5) The period between the first negotiation meeting and final agreement, if any (“the negotiation period”), will be no longer than 6 months, unless extended prior to its expiration in accordance with paragraph (b)(7) of this section. This period will include all negotiation meetings, and the processes discussed in paragraphs (b)(6) and (b)(9) of this section. If the negotiation period passes without the production of a final agreement, negotiations and development of the subject ECA will terminate automatically.

(6) EPA will circulate a draft of the consent agreement to all interested parties if EPA concludes that such draft is likely to achieve final agreement. A period of 30 days will be provided for submitting comments or written objections under paragraph (b)(8)(i)(B) of this section.

(7) If, prior to the expiration of the negotiation period, final agreement has not been reached, EPA may at its discretion provide one or more extensions, each of which may be up to 60 days, if it seems likely to EPA that a final agreement will be reached during that time. EPA will notify all interested parties of any extension(s).

(8) (i) EPA will enter into consent agreements only where there is a consensus among the Agency, one or more manufacturers and/or processors who agree to conduct or sponsor the testing, and all other interested parties who identify themselves in accordance with paragraph (b)(2) of this section. EPA will not enter into a consent agreement in either of the following circumstances:

(A) EPA and affected manufacturers and/or processors cannot reach a consensus in the timeframe described in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(B) A draft consent agreement is considered inadequate by other interested parties who have submitted timely written objections to the draft consent agreement, which provide a specific explanation of the grounds on which the draft agreement is objectionable.

(ii) EPA may reject objections described in paragraph (b)(8)(i)(B) of this section only where the Agency concludes the objections:

(A) Are not made in good faith;

(B) Are untimely;

(C) Do not involve the adequacy of the proposed testing program or other features of the agreement that may affect EPA's ability to fulfill the goals and purposes of TSCA; or

(D) Are not accompanied by a specific explanation of the grounds on which the draft agreement is considered objectionable.

(iii) The unwillingness of some manufacturers and/or processors to sign the draft consent agreement does not, in itself, establish a lack of consensus if EPA concludes that those manufacturers and/or processors who are prepared to sign the agreement are capable of accomplishing the testing to be required and that the draft agreement will achieve the purposes of TSCA in all other respects.

(9) Where a consensus exists, as described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section, concerning the contents of a draft consent agreement, the draft consent agreement will be circulated to EPA management and the parties that are to conduct or sponsor testing under the agreement, for final approval and signature.

(10) Upon final approval and signature of a consent agreement, EPA will publish a Federal Register document announcing the availability of the consent agreement and codifying (in subpart C of 40 CFR part 799) the name of the chemical substance(s) and/or mixture(s) to be tested and the citation to the Federal Register document.

[75 FR 56475, Sept. 16, 2010]