The Composites Fabricators Association has retained a lobbying group to deal with a proposed federal rule calling for 95 percent capture and control of process emissions from manufacturing reinforced plastic composites.
CFA filed more than 1,000 pages of comments, data and analysis during the proposal's comment period, which ended Oct. 1.
In the next few weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency will visit perhaps a half-dozen companies ``to either confirm or refute our claim that the EPA approach is not workable,'' John Schweitzer, CFA senior director of government affairs, said by telephone.
Numerous CFA members believe the proposed maximum-achievable-control technology standard would harm them financially. They have shared their concerns directly with the EPA and Congress. During September and October at CFA's urging, 15 members of Congress contacted EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman about the issue, Schweitzer said.
Effective Jan. 2, CFA hired Washington law firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn PLLC. The firm is to create educational materials, brief legislators, generate executive branch interest in MACT and secure congressional support to have the capture and control requirements removed from the overall rule.
Since October 1999, CFA has invested about $750,000 on the issue for lawyers' fees, advice from a former EPA manager and economic and engineering studies. CFA has worked with about 50 of the larger composites processors with the most at stake.
CFA maintains the rule would cause many fabrication plants to close, especially in small towns. The group favors elimination of process emissions through reformulated raw materials and improved pollution prevention.
``If the EPA implements this standard, there will be no incentive for industry to develop pollution prevention technology, which is more effective from a health and cost standpoint,'' said Larry Craigie, CFA technical services manager.
``I expect final rule by mid-2002,'' Schweitzer said.
The rule would be implemented in 2005. Arlington, Va.-based CFA has more than 900 member companies and has worked on the issue since 1993.