A toxic-air-emission rule published in April applies immediately to new plants planning to make reinforced polymer composites and begins a three-year countdown to existing plants' compliance.
``[The rule] satisfies requirements of the Clean Air Act, will achieve significant emission reductions and is feasible for industry,'' said John Schweitzer, senior director of government affairs with the Arlington, Va.-based Composites Fabricators Association. CFA has invested more than $1 million in dealing with the issue.
The Environmental Protection Agency ``worked very hard to craft a workable rule for our very complex industry,'' Schweitzer said. He said industry deserves credit for coming up with a rule that balances the need for emission reductions with costs and other factors.
Processors starting large plants must adopt controls and achieve certain emission limits through use of low-monomer resins and nonatomizing applicators. Pultruders need to use covers over wet process areas. Changes also affect compression molders.
``Due to our efforts, expensive capture-and-control technology is required only where it should be achievable and affordable,'' Schweitzer said.
EPA began work on the rule a decade ago, filed its initial proposal in August 2001 and published the final version in the April 21 Federal Register. Emissions of styrene, methyl methacrylate and methylene chloride particularly are affected.