Big Brother Wants To Watch You

Article From: Products Finishing, , from Products Finishing

Posted on: 7/1/1997

The National Association of Metal Finishers (NAMF) has launched a grassroots effort to oppose EPA's attempt to expand federal toxics reporting regulations.

The National Association of Metal Finishers (NAMF) has launched a grassroots effort to oppose EPA's attempt to expand federal toxics reporting regulations. Seems the EPA is moving aggressively to expand the federal toxics reporting regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, or SARA Title III. The Agency wants companies to publicly disclose not only their chemical releases under existing law, but also the actual chemicals used throughout their production process. That's like asking Grandma the secret recipe for her chicken soup.

Apparently the initiative has the support of several environmental concerns. According to NAMF's Legislative Line, the reporting system lays out a framework for EPA to measure material use at a facility and set stringent reduction goals over time for perceived toxics, including metals. The environmental groups are hoping to show that the billions of pounds of chemicals in production, even if never released, pose elevated risks to communities.

Companies already maintain chemical inventories and are required to report releases. Why should a facility be required to report the contents of each tank and the procedure for each operation? You can read Grandma's grocery list. You can taste the chicken soup. But she doesn't have to tell you how she makes it.

This data collection poses problems for companies with proprietary processes. Chemical makers and plating suppliers, according to the NAMF report, are saying that economic and national security issues are at stake because EPA apparently plans to put all the production data on the Internet for anyone to target. EPA claims it is doing all of this legally and in the best interest of the community.

NAMF has advised EPA and Capitol Hill that EPA was never given the statutory authority by Congress to collect chemical use data. EPA states that its actions are legal; however, it has a hard time proving it. The NAMF warns that platers and suppliers should be concerned not only about new use reporting burdens on current chemicals, but also about the potential for EPA to add new materials to the list; and lower reporting thresholds to gain new targets.

Does anyone still believe that the government that governs best, is the government that governs least?

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