Green chem fee railroaded through budget committees

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 1, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Monday, May 21, Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) notified members of the Green Chemistry Alliance, of which CMTA was a founding member, that he and Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) would be asking their respective house budget subcommittees to approve a trailer bill for inclusion in the budget that would, in part, fund the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Green Chemistry program. The language states that “the fee shall total no more than is necessary to cover the reasonable costs to the department in reviewing the submitted alternatives analysis and formulating and imposing a regulatory response.”  The fee would be imposed on any company whose products contained a chemical of concern and had been selected by DTSC as being a priority product requiring an alternatives assessment.  The fee language passed both the Senate and Assembly budget committees on May 23rd over CMTA and other industry objections on a party line vote.

It is interesting to note that the Green Chemistry regulations are yet to be deemed in final draft form. Since DTSC must still finalize and adopt the regulations, determine chemicals of concern, prioritize products of concern and companies must submit alternatives analysis, we believe approving a fee at this time is premature. While the fee language apparently gives DTSC a blank check to set fees, their representatives stated that they expect the fee to be in the neighborhood of $13,000 to $25,000.   DTSC is given the leeway that it “may reduce the amount of the fee based upon the size and market share of the feepayer.”  If the option is utilized, however, it could be in violation of Proposition 26, as a tax instead of a fee, if larger companies are required to make up the shortfall.

Imposing a regulatory response could, and probably will, take years for each chemical/product combination.   This would create the possibility of an annual fee for all products sold in California that fall under the regulatory scheme, even once they are approved.

The proposed trailer bill language subverts the traditional rulemaking process by allowing DTSC to adopt the initial fee schedule and future fee revisions as “emergency regulations.”  The language removes the Office of Administrative Law’s ability to reject the proposed fee regulations if they do not comply with the underlying law.

CMTA continues to oppose this proposal.

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