EPA Issues Chromium Air Rule, Despite NASF Meeting With White House Officials

Article From: Products Finishing

Posted on: 9/1/2012

The U.S. EPA signed the final chromium electroplating air rule Aug. 15 after it was finally cleared by the White House; the NASF says it might take the matter to court to overturn the rule.

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Despite the lack of any credible data to support the rule, the new stringent emissions limits and revised surface tension levels will become effective. A final copy is not yet available, but NASF will be reviewing the rule and supporting documents to determine whether to proceed with a legal

challenge. In the weeks leading up to the signature of the final rule, NASF has been meeting with EPA officials and the White House regarding the rule and EPA’s technical justification for it.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget completed its review of the new chromium coatings emission limits on August 15, but not before meeting with NASF officials in early August to hear again about major concerns from the plating industry with the proposed EPA rules.

The NASF’s Christian Richter and Jeff Hannapel met at the White House with OMB officials Cortney Higgins, Dominic Mancini and Kevin Neyland to review the proposed EPA changes, and to make several presentations on the impact the rule would have on the hard and decorative chromium electroplating and anodizing industry.

Also in attendance with Richter and Hannepel were Stiven Foster and Anna Yu from the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Bruce Rodan from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology; and Sarah Bresolin from the Small Business Administration. Three EPA officials—Chuck French, Kelly Rimer and Ann Johnson—joined the meeting via conference call.

“The EPA has maintained its stance that many existing finishing facilities will have no trouble meeting significantly more stringent limits at little or no cost,” Hannapel says. “However, the NASF has pointed to several analytical shortfalls in the rule, including the fact that agency officials have no data in the rulemaking record to back the argument that the use of non-PFOS mist suppressants can achieve significant emission reductions.”

The White House OMB needs to complete a “residual risk” review of the proposed NESHAP rules as the last major step in the regulatory process before EPA can sign and publish it in the Federal Register as policy.

The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental activist groups have been lobbying the EPA for even stricter rules for hexavalent chromium use. But several state EPA officials have criticized the rules as flawed, and the U.S. Department of Defense came out against the proposed EPA regulations on stopping the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate as a method for cutting hex chrome emissions.

“The NASF may proceed with litigation in federal court this fall,” Richter says.

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