September 2012

Regulatory Issues

This month there is only one significant issue that affects our Industry.

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has proposed to remove the Low Vapor Pressure Volatile Organic Compounds (LVP-VOC) exemption from Consumer Products. This is a very complicated issue.

The LVP-VOC exemption is for compounds that meet certain criteria set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). If the compound meets the LVP-VOC definition, then the compound is not counted as a VOC, thus not counted toward the VOC limit. The LVP-VOC exemption has been in the
Consumer Product regulation since the beginning of regulations. LVP-VOCs are used in the majority of Consumer Products. In addition, the LVP-VOC compounds are the reason a majority of the CARB VOC limits for categories were set at the values in the regulation. CARB has stated that LVP-VOC
could get industry to a majority of the VOC limits and has been used to justify the low VOC limits set by them.

Next, you may ask how SCAQMD can do this. Remember, CARB has sole authority to regulate Consumer
Products. This means that SCAQMD must put pressure on CARB to get this task accomplished.
Here is how SCAQMD could accomplish this task: SCAQMD puts the proposed removal of LVPVOC’s
in Consumer Products into their Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). This proposal is
referred to as CTS-04, which means the fourth control measure for Coatings & Solvents. SCAQMD
can go to their governing board and get CTS-04 into the AQMP. This is very likely to happen for several
reasons.

First, SCAQMD wants to be able to regulate Consumer Products. Second, timing is short. This AQMP needs to be approved soon, likely in October. Lastly, SCAQMD is downplaying this action as an “option” for consideration. We (industry) have heard this before. SCAQMD will tout that this is an option until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially approves the AQMP. Then, any emission reductions associated with this provision will become mandatory.

I attended a public meeting at SCAQMD in July. During this meeting, the CTS-04 was not even mentioned; only NOx reductions were discussed. Also, in July was a SCAQMD AQMP Advisory Board meeting. During this meeting, SCAQMD was asked whether it was proposing the removal of LVPVOC in Consumer Products just in the SCAQMD or statewide. SCAQMD responded quickly with “statewide.” In addition, SCAQMD stated that there had been discussion with CARB and they believe CARB will act on this proposal.

Back to the process of this proposal
Once the AQMP with included CTS-04 is passed by the SCAQMD governing board, then the plan is passed to CARB for approval. CARB governing board needs to put the AQMP into the State Implementation Plan (SIP). Here is the spot in the process for industry to attempt to remove the CTS-04 provision. Currently, SCAQMD is only concerned with NOx reductions; CTS-04 is an ozone reduction. Industry needs to convince CARB to remove the CTS-04 provision before the AQMP is adopted into the SIP. Once the SIP is approved by CARB governing board, it is sent to the EPA for approval. Removing CTS-04 at the EPA level would be difficult. Once approved by EPA, the provisions of CTS-04 are federally enforceable and mandatory, meaning CARB would be forced to implement.

Summary
This is a very detailed and technical issue. SCAQMD is attempting to regulate Consumer Products. Removal of LVP-VOC exemption will devastate Consumer Products as we know them. If SCAQMD and CARB decide to go after a few or even only one category, and it is not one you care about, I can’t express myself strongly enough: Do not ignore it! Your category could be next. Once a prec edent is set, CARB will never let it go. Remember chlorinated compounds? If you don’t, that’s because it happened to them. If you do remember them, you know what I am talking about. This is a bad provision and an even worse precedent if passed. Industry needs to fight this and keep the LVP-VOC exemption intact for all
Consumer Product categories. The time for industry to stick together and work together is now! More to come…

Green Chemistry
Okay, there is one more significant issue this month. The Green Chemistry draft regulation was released on July 27 for a 45 day comment period. The Dept. of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) released the draft “Safer Consumer Products Regulation” for public comment. Comments are due on Sept. 11, 2012. The regulation can be found at http://dtsc.ca.gov/SCPRegulations.cfm. I encourage you to read this document and comment.