WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States has issued a notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding proposed amendments to environmental standards for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry (SOCMI) and the Group I & II Polymers and Resins Industry. The notification, submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aims to strengthen the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) applicable to these industries.
The proposed rule, consisting of a 126-page document in English, outlines the EPA's decisions resulting from a technology review of the Hazardous Organic NESHAP (HON), Polymers and Resins Industries (P&R I and P&R II), and the eight-year review of the NSPS for SOCMI. The amendments also address issues raised in an administrative petition for reconsideration, particularly concerning equipment leaks of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in SOCMI.
One of the key proposals involves strengthening the emission standards for ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene emissions, based on a risk assessment for the HON and Neoprene Production processes in P&R I. Additionally, the EPA seeks to remove exemptions from standards for periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM), introducing work practice standards where appropriate, and provisions for electronic reporting.
According to the EPA's estimates, the proposed amendments to the NESHAP would lead to a reduction of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions (excluding EtO and chloroprene) from SOCMI, P&R I, and P&R II sources by approximately 1,123 tons per year (tpy). EtO emissions from HON processes would be reduced by around 58 tpy, while chloroprene emissions from Neoprene Production processes in P&R I would decrease by approximately 14 tpy. Furthermore, excess emissions of HAP from flares in the SOCMI and P&R I source categories would be reduced by an additional 4,858 tpy. The proposed amendments to the NSPS are also expected to result in a reduction of approximately 1,609 tpy of VOC emissions from the SOCMI source category.
The objective of these amendments is to enhance environmental protection. The EPA believes that implementing these measures will contribute significantly to reducing air pollution and promoting sustainable practices within the chemical manufacturing industry.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register, Volume 88, Number 25080, on April 25, 2023. Interested parties can access the document and supporting materials at the following links: