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  • Press Release

ACC Submits Comments on EPA’s HON Proposal

Charlotte Anthony

WASHINGTON (July 10, 2023) — Today, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its Ethylene Oxide panel submitted comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) on its proposed New Source Performance Standards for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry and Group I & II Polymers and Resins.

ACC issued the following statement:

“ACC and our members are committed to being good neighbors and helping safeguard communities and the environment. The cities and towns where we operate include our families, friends, and employees.

“Since the 1980s, air emissions of criteria pollutants and other substances in the U.S. have fallen sharply, even as population and GDP have grown.  From 2010 to 2020, Responsible Care facilities within the ACC membership have reduced HAPs emissions by approximately 24 percent. According to EPA Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), chemical emissions to the air have declined notably over the last 10 years, driving the decrease in total releases.

“While we support updating emissions standards in a technically feasible and economically efficient manner, we have substantial concerns with several aspects of EPA’s proposal.

“As noted in our comments, EPA lacks the authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to conduct an additional and voluntary risk review for the source category after already satisfying its obligation under CAA Section 112 to review risk one time. Unfortunately, EPA’s arbitrary decision has created a number of significant concerns throughout the proposal, many of which do not consider the substantial and immediate costs associated with them. These decisions will result in significant negative impacts to a broad cross-section of facilities impacted by the rule.

“We are particularly concerned with the EPA’s proposed requirements regarding ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is a versatile compound that’s used to help make countless everyday products. Ethylene oxide plays an important role in the development of batteries for electric vehicles and is used to support agriculture, oil and gas, as well as to develop semiconductors. Another important use of ethylene oxide is the sterilization of medical equipment. It is estimated that ethylene oxide sterilizes 20 billion medical devices each year, helping to prevent disease and infection.

“We oppose any rulemaking that uses the EPA’s flawed IRIS value for Ethylene Oxide. ACC and others have detailed the severe science-based flaws with the IRIS value that resulted in an overly conservative value that is below background levels of ethylene oxide. In fact, the IRIS program’s proposed toxicity value is 19,000 times lower than naturally occurring levels of ethylene oxide found in the human body. EPA should await the outcome of litigation in the D.C. Circuit prior to proceeding to use the IRIS value in its risk assessment for EO.

“We support strong, science-based regulations to protect our health and the environment. However, as detailed in our comments, the proposal as written could have substantial unintended consequences, even potentially resulting in facility shutdowns to meet EPA’s proposed flaring and maintenance vent restrictions. We have substantial concerns with several other aspects of EPA’s rulemaking for which revisions, further clarification, or potential withdrawal would improve this proposal.”

Click here for the comments submitted by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and the Vinyl Institute.

Click here for comments submitted by ACC’s Ethylene Oxide Panel.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.