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December 19, 2012

2 Min Read
EPA Supports Several SOCMA Positions in Area Sources Rule

With the stay of the Chemical Manufacturing Area Sources (CMAS) rule set to expire in one week, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) welcomed the release of the reconsidered rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"CMAS has been one of our top environmental priorities for more than five years and we appreciate the agency’s willingness to adjust its previous stance," said SOCMA’s vice president of government and public relations Bill Allmond.

By accepting SOCMA’s Petition for Reconsideration in 2010, EPA acknowledged the validity of several of SOCMA’s criticisms of the rule as finalized in 2009.

"We argued that the rule was deeply flawed and would be extremely costly and burdensome for SOCMA members, more than 70 percent of whom are small and medium-sized businesses," said Allmond. "The changes included in today’s reconsidered rule address several, but not all, of our top concerns"

SOCMA strongly supports EPA’s clarification of the "family of materials" concept. The originally proposed language made it extremely difficult to determine the scope of the rule. SOCMA is also pleased to see EPA has corrected certain technical provisions of the proposed reconsidered rule which the agency acknowledges would have dramatically expanded its applicability. The agency also made favorable changes related to "direct and proximal" inspections, inspections while in HAP service, and closing covers or lids on process vessels.

SOCMA also welcomed the additional 90-day compliance extension that EPA granted.

SOCMA expressed disappointment that EPA retained a Title V requirement for certain synthetic minors. The final reconsidered rule language is better than the original final rule’s requirement, which would have applied to all synthetic minors, and EPA has highlighted ways in which the Title V program can allow for operational flexibility.

"Our members are still extremely concerned that Title V permitting will prove burdensome and costly for affected facilities," Allmond explained.

EPA also failed to reconsider other concerns that SOCMA raised in its Petition for Reconsideration. The agency did not address the association’s arguments for establishing a clear de minimis threshold in the rule. Nor did EPA include a requested interpretation of the existing R&D exemption in the final rule.

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