Feeling the heat from coating manufacturers, the New York City Council has withdrawn proposed code changes that would have banned the sale or use of protective and industrial maintenance coatings and adhesives in the city.
The proposed amendments to the city’s administrative and building codes were intended to limit the Volatile Organic Compound content of paints and carpets used in interior architectural applications.
‘Vital to Infrastructure’
Intentionally or not, however, the proposal also would have affected anti-corrosion, industrial maintenance, fire resistive, dry fog, traffic marking and similar coatings and adhesives—“integral products vital to NYC’s infrastructure,” according to the American Coatings Association, which mobilized significant 11th-hour opposition to the plan.
|The bill would have banned the sale of protective coatings like those used on New York’s 2,207 bridges—including the Brooklyn Bridge, which is now undergoing a $508 million makeover.|
The bill, Int 0585-2011, was introduced May 26 and was the subject of a public hearing June 21, along with seven other measures proposed by the city’s Green Code Task Force. Easy approval was expected at a vote set for Dec. 8, with the measure taking effect Jan. 1.
ACA jumped into the issue late in November, however, saying that the final measure was far different from an earlier version.
In comments submitted in opposition to the plan, ACA argued that if the law was passed as written, “coatings that are vital to building construction and maintenance will no longer be able to be sold or used in NYC.”
ACA urged the Council to await other amendments now being developed by New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Those amendments would result in VOC limits “at least as stringent as, or lower than,” those proposed by Council, while remaining “consistent with other state AIM VOC rules,” ACA said.
ACA contended that the Council proposal went “well beyond establishing green building standards/codes” and would have established an entirely new Architectural VOC Regulation that “directly conflicts with NYSDEC’s Part 205 Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) regulation.”
Many of the Rule 205 coatings VOC limits are already as low as limits in the Council bill, ACA said. “As such,” it said, “there is no need for NYC to implement this duplicative, burdensome, confusing, and inconsistent law.”
As for adhesives, ACA noted, NYSDEC has already finalized its industrial adhesives rule and it is already in effect.
‘Receptive to Concerns’
Once coating makers entered the fray, the Council and its legislative counsel “were extremely receptive” to the industry’s concerns, ACA reported in a statement.
In addition to removing the coatings and adhesives provisions from the legislation, council representatives “have assured ACA that they will involve ACA and its members in any future proposals, though there is currently no timeline for moving forward with architectural coatings and adhesives.”