The Senate Committee on Homeland Security approved legislation to reauthorize and extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program (CFATS) for four years. The bill reestablishes CFATS, which first became law in 2007 and gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to require all chemical and other facilities with certain threshold quantities of a chemical to evaluate risks and submit security plans for approval. The DHS assigns facilities to one of four risk levels, with Tier 1 being the most vulnerable. Companies are required to develop site security plans based on their assigned risk level. The implementation of the original CFATS in recent years has been viewed as a success by some, but controversial to others as it has been burdensome and time-consuming for many facilities.
In light of concerns about ineffectiveness and mismanagement, Senator Tom Coburn and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Tom Carper worked through key issues so that the passed measure represents a compromise that helps to improve facility safety and security as well as increase the effectiveness of the program in the future. It also is viewed as providing regulatory certainty to facilities operating under the program, and does not contain some of the more unfavorable provisions that anti-chemical industry activists have supported.
The NASF is monitoring the legislative calendar, as Congress may not have enough time before the end of 2014 to send final legislation to the White House. The full Senate must take up the bill and then work out differences with the House in a conference agreement.
EPA and OSHA Step Up Chemical Accident Prevention
In a departure from past OSHA budgets, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has added language clarifying that the prohibition on OSHA inspection of employers with 10 or fewer workers in industries with lower-than-average injury and illness rates does not apply to worksites with potential for a catastrophic chemical accident, such as the April 2013 explosion at the fertilizer facility in West, Texas, where 15 people were killed.
The EPA will be reviewing input from industry and the public in order to update the federal Risk Management Program (RMP), aimed at preventing industrial chemical accidents. The agency released a document in the Federal Register on July 31 requesting information on the RMP’s regulated substance list and 18 other topics under consideration. NASF members can access the document at nasf.org. Comments are due October 29.
NAM Study Says EPA Ozone Standards Could Hurt U.S. Manufacturing
The EPA has until December 1 to decide whether to keep or revise current national air quality standards for ozone from 75 ppb to 60 ppb. In a study released in July, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) argues that a lower standard could become the most expensive regulation in U.S. history, with an added tab for the nation’s economy as high as $270 billion per year.
According to the study, the impact of meeting a 60-ppb standard could include forced closure of one third of the nation’s coal-fired power plants and disastrous consequences for U.S. manufacturing. The NAM Environmental Quality Committee, of which the NASF is a member, discussed the implications at a recent meeting. To assess the impact on surface finishing, NASF will be discussing the issue and soliciting feedback in upcoming fall chapter meetings. For more information, visit nasf.org.
2014 Bright Design Competition to Foster Innovation
The NASF believes the future of surface finishing depends on the innovative ideas of young people. The Bright Design Challenge is intended to foster and nourish those ideas. This creative program is produced as part of the association’s Surface Technology Initiative to proactively promote the surface finishing industry.
The Fall West Coast Competition, coordinated by the Metal Finishing Associations of Southern and Northern California, will begin in October in conjunction with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Students will be invited to think beyond traditional design theory and develop next-generation creative and engineering solutions. Scholarships will be awarded to winning students. Judging will take place in December, conducted by the NASF West Coast Chapters and faculty from the Art Center College of Design.
First Annual Mid-West Seminar a Success
The Michigan Chapter of NASF successfully held its first annual Mid-West Seminar June 26-28 at the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Michigan, with more than 90 seminar attendees. The three-day event included educational sessions and networking with respected industry experts and association members. In addition, officials from OSHA, EPA and the DEQ lead informative technical sessions covering economic, political, healthcare and association-related topics.
California Fall Outing Registration Open
The NASF’s California chapters have been hard at work preparing for their annual Fall Outing event October 10-12 at Terranea Resort & Spa in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Visit mfaca.org for registration information.
SUR/FIN 2015 Exhibit Registration
SUR/FIN 2015 planning is in full swing, with 61 percent of exhibitor space filled. The event prospectus, floor plan and exhibit contract are now available. Exhibitors and attendees can visit nasf.org for event details and registration.
NASF Rockford Chapter Changes
Dave Caughey, of J&M Plating, will be taking over as president of the NASF Rockford Chapter, succeeding Paul Berger, of Rocknell Fasteners. The association congratulates Caughey on his new role and thanks Berger for his service and dedication.
NASF Masters’ Association Cocktail Party
The NASF Masters’ Association of Metal Finishers will host its annual cocktail party Oct. 25 at the Chart House in Weehawken, New Jersey. Control Electropolishing will be honored for 55 years of service to the metal finishing industry.
Register for California Showcase Week 2014
During California Showcase Week 2014, the MFASC Supplier Showcase will be held on Sept. 9 at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California and the MFANC Vendor Showcase will take place on Sept. 11 at Napredak Hall in San Jose, California. For details, visit mfaca.org.