NASF efforts have significantly delayed EPA action on a regulation under the federal CERCLA, or Superfund, law that could potentially be damaging to the finishing industry. Affected companies would have to show evidence of financial responsibility for potential releases of hazardous substances (e.g., insurance policy, surety bond, trust fund, etc.).
Financial assurance mechanisms for potential Superfund liability—which essentially means being able to finance a cleanup—can be very expensive and difficult to obtain for metal finishing operations and could force many finishing facilities to close, creating the very problem that EPA intends to avoid under the law.
EPA originally targeted metal finishing as a specific industry sector for the new Superfund mandate. In response, NASF submitted data on behalf of the industry and held discussions with EPA on several occasions. As a result, the agency removed metal finishing from the list of targeted sectors last year.
However, EPA formally listed the entire metal fabrication industry sector as a candidate for the new financial responsibility requirements. Discussions with EPA have proceeded, and the agency recently informed NASF it will delay action for the metal fabrication sector for another two years, at which time the agency will revisit the issue.
In the meantime, NASF has reached out to the tooling and machining, precision metal forming, and fastener sectors to address the mandate’s future. The coordinating group will be fully prepared to discuss industry concerns with EPA as the agency moves closer to taking action in 2013.