Litigation continues on a major EPA rule affecting chromium emissions from finishing operations. If you haven’t closely followed the latest action, here are some highlights to catch you up on the issue:
NASF Legal Challenge The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its revised chromium electroplating national emissions standard on September 19, 2012. In response, NASF filed a legal challenge to the final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the most powerful court in the nation besides the U.S. Supreme Court.
Key Arguments The association argued that EPA has misapplied the requirements of the Clean Air Act. It also argued that the agency failed to provide any credible technical support for the new emission limits and surface tension levels. NASF has requested EPA to reconsider and revise the final rule.
Environmental Groups’ Response The environmental group Earthjustice also filed a legal challenge to EPA on behalf of Sierra Club, claiming that the final chromium rule was not stringent enough. In order to protect the interests of the surface finishing industry, NASF intervened as a party to the Sierra Club legal challenge so that it could have further input on the Sierra Club’s unsupported claims that the emissions limits should be even more stringent.
Current Activity At the request of NASF, the court suspended the legal proceedings for 60 days to allow EPA to review the NASF request to reconsider and revise the final rule. The court can extend the suspension of the legal proceedings to allow EPA more time to make a decision on the reconsideration. NASF representatives are currently in discussions with EPA staff regarding the reconsideration of the rule. One of the major issues cited as justification for reconsideration is EPA’s lack of any data to demonstrate that the new emission limits can be met with non-PFOS fume suppressants. Recently, new data has emerged on non-PFOS fume suppressants that supports NASF’s position.
Did You Make the March 19 Deadline? In the meantime, the housekeeping practices provisions in the final regulation should have been implemented by facilities by March 19, 2013. NASF has provided guidance on these housekeeping practices. If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Jeff Hannapel at email@example.com.