Chemical Processing Notebook: Bracing for the Regulatory Onslaught

May 13, 2024
Latest Production Pulse segment explores EPA regulations targeting hazardous air pollutants and PFAS chemicals.

The chemical industry is grappling with a steady influx of new regulations, leaving operators with numerous questions about their implications and how to prepare for compliance. While these regulations are subject to controversy, the industry must contend with the new laws and be ready to address them through various means, including adopting new technologies, enhancing safety practices, and adhering to reporting requirements.

In the latest IndustryWeek Production Pulse livestream event on LinkedIn, several editors from Endeavor Business Media, the parent company of Chemical Processing and IndustryWeek, discussed key regulatory issues and their impact on various economic sectors.

Joining the discussion was Chemical Processing regulatory columnist, Lynn Bergeson, managing partner at Bergeson & Campbell.

IndustryWeek Production Pulse featuring Chemical Processing regulatory columnist Lynn Bergeson:

The following is an edited version of some comments on two of the latest regulations. The first involves the recent updates to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for six chemicals, including ethylene oxide, chloroprene and vinyl chloride.

Also known as the Hazardous Organic NESHAP (HON), this ruling could have significant implications for more than 200 chemical plants nationwide.

Bergeson also addressed the EPA's designation of two PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) on April 19.

This final rule classifies these two PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under CERCLA, potentially impacting various industries and communities.

Here are some of the paraphrased responses to the panel topics:

Bergeson On the ‘Tsunami of Regulations’

The recent surge in federal regulatory action is driven by two key factors. Firstly, it coincides with the recent Earth Day celebrations, providing an opportune moment to unveil new environmental initiatives.

But the more pressing motivation is to finalize these regulations before the current Congressional session ends. This is to prevent the next Congress from potentially overturning them using the Congressional Review Act. This legislative tool has been employed extensively in previous years to undo regulatory actions that fell within its jurisdictional timeframe.

The EPA is therefore making a concerted push to complete the rulemaking process for regulations it began developing years ago. The urgency stems from wanting to ensure these rules take effect before the Congressional Review Act window closes after the upcoming November elections, which could potentially lead to a change in administration. Releasing this "tsunami of regulations" over the next month allows the EPA to bypass potential Congressional reversal.

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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