Congress is debating a bill to impose a four-year moratorium on changes to the Clean Air Act that could have far-reaching implications for many suppliers to the pharmaceutical and medical industry — including label manufacturers represented by the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute Inc.
On July 19, the Environmental Protection Agency published new Clean Air Act regulations on particulate matter and ozone that would throw nearly 100 metropolitan areas out of compliance and would cost manufacturers more than $60 billion a year. That is according to President Clinton's own Council of Economic Advisers.
Manufacturers in these nonattainment areas would face stricter emissions controls, transportation disruptions and increased costs of new equipment. The rules, including one that would regulate particulates as tiny as 2.5 microns — or about one-fortieth the width of a human hair — would be especially oppressive for small and midsize manufacturers.
Within days of President Clinton's June 25 announcement giving EPA a green light to process the tighter standards, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Trucking Association, the National Coalition of Petroleum Retailers and others filed suit against EPA. They argued that the agency failed to comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, which requires federal agencies to consider the impact the proposed rules will have on small businesses.
If the court finds against EPA's interpretation of the law, implementation of the new law would be put off indefinitely.
The TLMI Environmental Committee notes that the tighter standards could mean that manufacturers may:
Be prohibited from expanding hours of operations, production capacity and plant space.
Have to buy oxidizers, bag houses and air scrubbers to control emissions from extrusion coating and extrusion laminating operations.
Need to buy bag houses and air scrubbers to control emissions from natural gas fired dryers, boilers and other combustion sources.
Have to install permanent, total enclosure areas and restrict the hours of operation if they fall under a new nonattainment area. They may be subject to the same nonattainment rules even if their location simply adjoins a nonattainment area.
In addition, the number of nonattainment areas for ozone and particulate emissions could quadruple.
We at TLMI believe this decision cannot be justified by science or the facts, since current air-quality standards are doing the job and air quality has improved over the past years.
We urge manufacturers to contact their U.S. representatives in Washington at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to support the bill imposing a four-year moratorium on these new regulations.
Graphic Solutions Inc.
Burr Ridge, Ill.