OMB Reviewing EPA Notice Weighing Additional PFAS For CERCLA Listings

EPA has sent for White House-led interagency review a draft Federal Register notice that will seek public input on whether the agency should consider designating additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), beyond just the two most studied chemicals, as Superfund “hazardous substances,” or even propose designating PFAS as a class.

The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Feb. 10 received EPA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for PFAS-related designations as Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) hazardous substances, according to OMB’s website.

Federal agencies use ANPRMs to gather additional information before arriving at a tentative decision on a particular regulatory change or to test public reaction to a proposal.

If the agency moves ahead with a proposed rule to designate additional PFAS, it would expand its currently proposed designation of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances.

That proposal, which is among the most controversial of the Biden administration’s PFAS agenda, drew broad support from environmentalists but significant backlash from industry. EPA has said it plans to finalize the proposal in August.

EPA also announced in the proposal that it would take comment on whether to list additional PFAS in a forthcoming ANPRM issued after the close of the comment period on the PFOA/PFOS designation proposal. Environmentalists in their comments on the pending designation urged EPA to designate additional PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances and to consider regulating the chemicals as a class.

EPA in the fall 2022 Unified Agenda says the ANPRM will request “public input on whether the agency should consider designating as hazardous substances precursors to PFOA and PFOS, whether the agency should consider designating other PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances and whether there is information that would allow the agency to designate PFAS as a class or subclass.”