EPA Deputy Administrator W. Michael McCabe last week announced the agency''s first consolidated air pollution regulation.
Speaking in Houston at a national meeting of the American Chemistry Council, McCabe said this rule originated from President Clinton''s initiative to streamline environmental regulations without sacrificing environmental protection.
This final rule combines 16 existing federal air rules applying to synthetic organic chemical manufacturers, significantly reducing monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting burdens for industry.
This regulation is voluntary. Manufacturers can continue to do what they do now (complying with up to 16 rules separately) or choose to comply with the new rule.
Synthetic organic chemical manufacturing entails the production of hundreds of high-volume organic chemicals derived from certain petrochemical raw materials.
Some of the chemicals produced by this industry are final products, others are used in the production of other chemicals or in synthetic products such as plastics, fibers, pharmaceuticals, synthetic rubber, dyes and pesticides.
Like the original rules, the consolidated rule continues to require stringent reductions in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and air toxics.
VOCs contribute to the formation of ground level ozone or smog.
Air toxics are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health problems such as birth defects or reproductive effects.
The rule is available on the Internet at www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/ramain.html.
by Virginia Sutcliffe