America’s coatings manufacturers have a few requests for President Obama: Cut the red tape on pipeline permits. Expand the allowable compounds in aerosol coatings. Ditch the emissions crackdowns. And ease up on OSHA’s “adversarial” approach to business.
Those and a few other issues make up the American Coatings Association’s regulatory wish list, written in response to Obama’s call for a government-wide review of federal regulations.
In a letter Feb. 10 to Office of Management and Budget director Jacob Lew, ACA president J. Andrew Doyle requests review of “several programs or policies that significantly jeopardize our industry’s efforts to contribute to the emerging but still fragile economic recovery.”
ACA said it was focusing on regulations “believed to be particularly onerous for the industry, or stumbling blocks for economic and job growth.”
The programs touch a wide range of issues from three federal agencies.
U.S. Department of Transportation
In 2009, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)'s Special Permits Program was revised to add a requirement for a “fitness” determination by the agency before granting permits. ACA says the change “articulates criteria that appears to be beyond PHMSA's authority and does not articulate what constitutes ‘fitness’ or a finding of ‘unfit.’” Those issues, it says, have created a backlog in new permits and renewals.
ACA requests that PHMSA initiate a rulemaking “to significantly change the fitness criteria for Special Permits and Approvals.”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ACA has five requests of the EPA.
Aerosol Coatings Regulation
Aerosol coatings are regulated by a rule that establishes air-quality standards that are based upon reactivity principles. Each Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) used in a formula is assigned a "reactivity factor" from the Table of Reactivity Factors in the regulation. However, the table lists only 169 compounds, when potential aerosol compounds number more than 800.
“It is virtually impossible to use a compound that is not on the EPA list, as doing so inevitably deems the product non-compliant with the current standards,” ACA contends. This squelches innovation and may even prevent the use of environmentally friendly compounds just because they are not on the list.
ACA says it petitioned EPA more than a year ago to expand the list and has received no reply. The group seeks “a mechanism to add compounds to this list more efficiently.”
On Wednesday (Feb. 23), EPA issued final Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators “that achieve significant public health protections through reductions in toxic air emissions, including mercury and soot.” The agency cut the cost of implementation from an earlier proposal it issued last year.
ACA’s letter, sent before the rule was issued, said the original proposal would have a significant, direct impact on “paint manufacturers with new boiler operating and compliance costs with resultant impacts on economic recovery and jobs in the industry.”
Any proposal “should ensure that the standards are economically feasible and achievable in practice for all manufacturers that operate boilers,” ACA said.
ACA could not be reached Thursday for comment on the new rule.
NAAQS for Ozone
EPA’s 13-month-old proposal to reduce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone standard below 75 parts per billion (ppb) is a “far-reaching” proposal that “may prove impossible to meet,” ACA contends.
Often, ACA says, “EPA has not fully considered the life-cycle impacts of their proposals, including the potential impact on the efficacy of the reformulated products and their ability to forestall deterioration of our nation's infrastructure.”
Tightening the ozone standard should factor in “the health and environmental benefits as well as the economic and infrastructure impacts,” says ACA.
Cleaning Product Claims Policy
Another new rule requires that products claiming to clean mold and mildew stains be registered as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The rule could affect manufacturers and distributors of cleaning products used in surface preparation, ACA says. The association calls the change a costly and damaging change in longstanding practice.
TSCA Inventory Update Rule
EPA has proposed to amend the Inventory Update Rule (IUR), which collects information on chemical manufacturing, import and processing. The “dramatic departure from current practice” would expand the rule’s scope to require more information from raw material suppliers—information that it could no longer protect as confidential business information. ACA opposes the rule.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
“OSHA has recently moved to a more adversarial approach toward business, issuing enforcement notices as a result of employers, in particularly small businesses, seeking to consult with the agency to better understand and comply with existing workplace safety standards,” ACA contends.
It believes the approach will discourage businesses from seeking OSHA’s help and from cooperating with OSHA. “Instead of deterring engagement with the agency in an effort to protect worker health and safety, OSHA should be focusing on developing incentives,” according to ACA.
OSHA has temporarily withdrawn a proposal that would have mandated greater use of engineering controls to reduce workplace noise. Many industries, including ACA, want the proposal killed, saying it reverses longstanding practice and had no input from the regulated community.
Injury and Illness Protection Program (I2P2)
OSHA’s highest priority, due out in the spring, is a regulation that would mandate a standard for employers' Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (I2P2). ACA says the regulation “will have sweeping ramifications on all aspects of both workplace safety enforcement and the promulgation of new regulations. ACA believes the efforts made by employers operating effective safety and health programs should not be disrupted by this new mandate.”