Responsibility for issuing proposed pollution standards for styrene emissions has carried over to the Bush administration. Since the Clinton administration did not complete its work on the regulations, observers expect the changes to be delayed until later this year.
"My best guess, based on other transitions, is that it may be several months," said Keith Barnett, an environmental engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency's emission standards division in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
"We are all waiting," said John Schweitzer, senior director of government affairs with the Composites Fabricators Association and a close observer of the process.
Over seven years, the EPA division has developed a proposed standard for maximum-achievable-control technology for styrene and other hazardous air pollutants emitted while manufacturing reinforced plastic composites. Establishing the standard was mandated in 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.
A draft has been expected since October and was moving through the Office of Management and Budget in early January. The document, however, did not clear all hurdles before the change of command Jan. 20 and the start of the ensuing transition of political appointees.
Once official, the draft will appear in the Federal Register, triggering a 60-day public comment period.
The proposal is expected to be based on pollution-prevention measures for smaller facilities and would establish a capture-and-control requirement for larger open molding, compounding and mixing operations.
Compression and injection molding sites will face minimal work practice requirements.
Arlington, Va.-based CFA continues to gather data from processors on the concentration of styrene in exhaust air from their operations. Schweitzer said CFA is preparing to challenge expected EPA assumptions about the exhaust-air concentrations in reviews after the comment period.
CFA has posted key MACT information on its Web site at www.cfa-hq.org/mact.