Regulatory Reform- EPA Article Exemption “Clarification” Withdrawn

June 22, 2011

 On June 17th, at the request of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management & Budget removed from its list of Submissions Under Review (http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eoDetails?rrid=119517 ) the EPA proposed final “Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Articles Exemption Clarification Rule.”

The proposed rule would have eliminated the articles exemption under TRI and required manufacturers to report releases from finished goods in storage.

Finished goods in storage!

 Here’s the rest of the story:

Last July PMPA attended a meeting in Washington D.C. with OMB and EPA over a proposed EPA “Clarification” regarding the article exemption in TRI.

We were joined at that meeting by a number of other involved parties with similar concerns. The meeting was hosted by Jeff Miller of the Treated Wood Council.

We opposed the change and challenged the EPA’s estimate of Paperwork Burden, demonstrated impact on smaller businesses, and made other technical points.

Paperwork burden and manhours to prepare were just the tip of the iceberg.

You can see our Business Intelligence on this issue here .

The EPA’s proposed  change in the “clarification” could have made finished precision machined products with rust preventives subject to TRI release reporting.

At EPA’s request, this submission was removed from review.

We are pleased that our attention to this regulatory issue  with other affected industries has resulted in its withdrawal at the current time. Our position was that the EPA cannot change the TRI rule without formal rulemaking.    Members of Congress have echoed that same concern.   

EPA may ultimately decide to initiate that rulemaking process.  

We do not know exactly why EPA withdrew the proposed rule, nor do we know EPA’s next steps.  

There is nothing transparent about regulation of  small business in Washington D.C.

But for now, as a result of our “effective associating”  and engagement with the federal agencies involved, this ill-considered change to TRI has been withdrawn.

 We will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed of any developments.

Paperwork Photo :

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Washington Action: Clarifying EPA’s Proposed “Clarification” of the Article Exemption

July 27, 2010

Three points you should know about the EPA’s proposed TRI ‘Clarification’

  1. It underestimates industry burden. It would cost our Precision Machining Industry on the order of $3,534,104 in preparation,  collection of data, analysis and reporting costs.
  2. This impact falls mainly on our small businesses – 54 % of US Precision Machining shops employ less than 20 employees.
  3. The “Clarification” does not provide a positive impact on public health and safety, and it wil llikely foster over reporting, double counting of “releases” and otherwise mislead the public.

We recently attended a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials regarding EPA’s proposed “Clarification” of the Article exemption under TRI 313 Reporting. We were joined with representatives of roughly 14 other industry spokespeople at this meeting. 

Read our submission to OMB and EPA.

Many precision machining shops make use of the article exemption in some form, so any changes to the definition would require all  precision manufacturing companies to reassess  their need to report under the new clarification. In the US, that means 3,364 perecision machining establishments would need to spend, according to the EPA’s own estimates, 51.3 manhours to properly evaluate and report.

While the EPA’s federal register comments indicate that only the treated lumber industry would be affected,  representatives from a wide range of  industries were in attendance to show how the proposal would eliminate the Article Exemption for their products.

PMPA was there to show how, if the Article Exemption were lost, the reporting burden  for our industry would be orders of magnitude higher than the EPA’s estimate of $13,877.

$13,877!

That’s right. EPA thought that the TOTAL INDUSTRY Reporting Burden for this “Clarification’ would be no more than $13,877.

Using the 2007 Survey of Manufactures data from the U.S.Census, We were able to show that the cost of evaluating our new reporting status as an industry would be at least $3,534,104. That is just for Precision Machining Shops.

For Fabricated Metals, which includes Precision Machining, the burden jumps to $66,235, 899. And for the entire 33 NAICS code, including Precision Machining, Fabricated Metals, and Machinery Manufacture, the impact is over $209 Million Dollars.

EPA’s estimate of Reporting burden for NAICS 33XXXX underestimates by a multiple factor of 15108.83 times.

PMPA’s mission and vision charges us to provide resources that  “advance and sustain”  member companies within the Precision Machining Industry.

That’s why we went to Washington. To save you and 3,363 of your peers from a “clarification” that would have burdened the industry to the the tune of about $3,534,104.  Or US manufacturers in NAICS 33 about $209 million.

 EPA would better serve its mission by clearly defining what is a release, and exempting legitimately recycled materials such as scrap metals from TRI reporting.

That’s is a change we could support.

Read our submission to OMB and EPA.

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