Burn-off Ovens: Fixing a Wrong the Right Way


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For those in the finishing industry, you may be seeing something very soon that comes around about as often as a comet. This month’s issue of Products Finishing magazine details how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be backing off its threat to heavily regulate burn-off ovens used by powder coaters and other finishers.

Apparently, the EPA says it might have used bad data to come up with new rules for the revised Clean Air Act regulations it is required to update thanks to a court mandate. Lawyers for the agency have gone back to court to ask the judge to push back the enforcement of the rules until next summer until it can get things straight.

Our magazine has been following this issue for several months, sifting through thousands of documents about how the EPA came to its conclusions to include burn-off ovens alongside those that burn hazardous waste. What we found was how some at the EPA pushed through the rules without concrete scientific evidence, maintained sloppy record keeping, and failed to follow up when hard questions were being asked internally.

While we will continue to watch how our government regulators impose new rules on different business sectors and hold their feet to the fire, we will also stand and applaud when we see the EPA work to get it right. And by asking the court to forego the enforcement of the proposed rules, they are on the correct path to right a terrible wrong.