A lull in the air at CalEPA

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 29, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The regulated community is holding its breath waiting for revised versions of three major documents proposed by  three different California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) entities which could make doing business in California significantly more costly.

Comment periods ended in October for: 

  1. The Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products regulation, green chemistry, (on Oct. 11th),
  2. The State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit (on Oct. 22nd), and
  3. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) Cumulative Impact Screening Tool, CalScreen (on Oct. 16th). 

CMTA weighed in on all three issues. Revisions are expected to be released on all three documents in December or early January. 

The latest draft of green chemistry regulations, the 8th iteration, is still considered by all industry associations as detrimental to the economy in its current form. Over 1,000 pages of comments were submitted during the last 45 day comment period including negative comments from the European Union. Not one company or industry trade association endorsed the regulations. This concept can work and the changes necessary to make it work are modest, but the department has virtually ignored the concerns of industry to date.  Debbie Raphael, DTSC director, has promised more than a 15 day comment period (we are expecting 30-45 days) when they come out with a revised draft.

The SWRCB made major changes to Industrial Storm Water from the first draft that was issued on January 29th, 2011, but there remain a number of modifications that could make implementation less costly for industry, more workable and still achieve their objectives. We are waiting to hear which suggestions have been accepted or rejected.

In a workshop on August 7th, OEHHA unveiled CalScreen, intended to be a tool to identify negatively impacted environmental justice communities that should be targeted by CalEPA to mitigate negative environmental factors. This tool identifies the communities by zip codes. OEHHA held a number of workshops in Sacramento and many more throughout the state to elicit ideas on how this tool could be modified to be more useful.  Industry is concerned that the tool could be fodder for third party lawsuits or used for permitting and actually stymie new businesses from moving to that area.

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