Washington — The American Chemistry Council is asking President Joe Biden to appoint a governmentwide task force to examine the impact of "regulatory overload" on the chemical industry, saying that it threatens the administration's efforts to grow U.S. manufacturing in key areas like clean energy.
ACC sent a letter Feb. 8 asking Biden to direct the head of his National Economic Council to create an interagency policy committee to have federal agencies analyze the economic impact of regulations on the chemical industry, and the risk that it could offshore jobs.
"What we cannot do is fumble this opportunity to make things in this country," said ACC President and CEO Chris Jahn, in comments at a Feb. 7 media briefing. "We're going to need to take advantage of our energy dominance, our ability to innovate. We want the administration to be successful in achieving its goals to grow manufacturing going forward."
The letter comes six months after ACC launched its "Chemistry Creates, America Competes" campaign to push back against what Jahn at the time termed a "massive surge" in new regulations aimed at the chemical and plastics industry.
At the time, ACC officials pointed to efforts like EPA's plastic pollution strategy or a lack of clarity around chemical recycling policies.
The Feb. 8 letter does not include specifics on plastics policy but mentions that potential restrictions on fluoropolymers and other chemicals could impede growth in the clean energy and semiconductor industries that Biden has signed legislation to support.
Jahn said ACC has met with the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense, and he noted that Congress has held two oversight hearings on the concerns.
"What we're looking for is a group to actually take action, to look at these impacts and actually do something about it," Jahn said.
ACC's letter said regulations on the chemical industry have doubled in the last 20 years. It said the regulatory burden "is putting the sector at risk."
"The industry is concerned that this impact is harming our ability to support manufacturing in America and compete with international rivals, such as China," the letter said.
Erin Kane, the chair of ACC's board of directors and president and CEO of nylon resin maker AdvanSix Inc., told the press briefing that regulatory compliance accounts for nearly 100 jobs within her 1,450-person company.
"This incredible spiderweb of complexity can certainly be streamlined," Kane said. "It can certainly be rationalized."