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EPA Announces Major Reorganization of Chemical Safety Division

Sept. 8, 2020, 7:41 PM

The EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention is significantly reorganizing at the end of the month to respond to the department’s changing work, agency leaders said Tuesday.

The changes reshuffle the structure of OCSPP’s three main divisions: the Office of Pesticide Programs, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, and the Office of Science Coordination and Policy, according to Environmental Protection Agency officials, who spoke on a call that was shared by an employee who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

No jobs will be shed and no pay grades will be changed, according to a Tuesday internal email obtained by Bloomberg Law from Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of the office.

Some employees’ responsibilities will change, although the EPA will work with staffers to ensure a good fit, Yvette Collazo, director of the pollution prevention program, said on the call.

Pollution Team Reorganization

The pollution team will reorganize to better fulfill the mandates and authority laid out in the 2016 Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act amendments to the Toxic Substances and Control Act, according to Dunn’s email.

The team will include new, separate risk evaluation and risk management branch divisions for existing chemicals work, as well as a single new division for the risk assessment and risk management of new chemicals, Collazo said on the call.

Its workload has greatly expanded, including more comprehensive reviews of existing chemicals, but the team’s structure hasn’t, she said. Collazo’s team will have an all-hands meeting on Thursday to discuss the changes in more detail.

The antimicrobials division in the pesticides program also will reorganize to better respond to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic and future public health emergencies, said Ed Messina, acting director of the office.

The pesticides team will further absorb the science coordination team’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program to better support program functions and align with obligations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, according to Dunn’s email.

Also, OCSPP’s science coordination unit will combine with the Office of Program Management Operations into a new Office of Program Support, a 190-person group that will provide administrative and program support throughout the department, said Carol Ann Siciliano, associate assistant administrator for management.

‘A Little Pain’

The new program support team will also handle budgets, planning, human resources, information technology, and requests under the Freedom of Information Act, Siciliano said.

Dunn acknowledged that the shifts will bring on “a little pain in the short term,” but also said the agency will be more nimbly and effectively structured going forward. She has led the office since January 2019 after serving as EPA’s Region 1 administrator.

She also said the changes were a long time coming and badly needed.

One longtime OCSPP employee doubted that the changes would be able to be completed by the end of September, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, saying reorganizations typically take years even when staff are able to be in the office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Lee in Washington at stephenlee@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com; Chuck McCutcheon at cmccutcheon@bloombergindustry.com

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