Podcast: How the EPA’s new regulations will impact industry 

Podcast: How the EPA’s new regulations will impact industry 

April 27, 2024
In this episode of Great Question: A Manufacturing Podcast, our panel of experts discusses the far-reaching consequences of these rulings for manufacturing, food packaging, and water infrastructure.

Jonathan Katz is executive editor for Chemical Processing and has reported on a range of industrial topics, including safety, lean manufacturing, and automation. Lynn Bergeson is managing partner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., and she focuses on how regulatory programs like the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) affect various industries. Andy Hanacek is senior editor at Food Processing and has covered meat, poultry, bakery, and snack foods during his decades-long tenure in the industry. Bob Crossen is the editorial director for the Endeavor Business Media Water Group and has been in the drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and point-of-use/point-of-entry markets since 2016. These industry professionals recently spoke with IndustryWeek editor in chief Robert Schoenberger about the implications of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s three recent major rulings.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast:

IW: I want to start with you, John, and what's going on with the big chemical plant ruling. On April 9th, the EPA had a fairly significant ruling on toxic emissions from several different products. I was hoping you could walk us through what the ruling was and what the impact is on various chemical producers.

JK: Sure. So, the ruling, it's an emissions monitoring ruling that will impact, I think, about 200 chemical plants. Many of them are along the Gulf Coast, Louisiana, and Texas. These plants produce synthetic organic chemicals and various polymers and resins. The ruling pertains to six specific chemicals: ethylene oxide, chloroprene, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, ethylene dichloride, and vinyl chloride. And it specifically targets fence-line monitoring. That's monitoring around the perimeter of a facility. I believe that the monitoring must begin within two years of the effective date for all the chemicals except for chloroprene, which is 90 days.

And to meet these requirements, plants are going to need to take various corrective actions, including improvements to equipment like heat exchangers and improve the efficiency of various processes such as flaring and venting. I believe the EPA estimated the total cost at about $1.8 billion for chemical plants to implement some of these measures, so it's definitely going to have a big impact on the industry. I don't know, Lynn, if you had any further insight into the potential impact or chemical producers that you wanted to add.

About the Author

Robert Schoenberger

Robert Schoenberger has been writing about manufacturing technology in one form or another since the late 1990s. He began his career in newspapers in South Texas and has worked for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland where he spent more than six years as the automotive reporter. In 2013, he launched Today's Motor Vehicles, a magazine focusing on design and manufacturing topics within the automotive and commercial truck worlds. He joined IndustryWeek in late 2021.

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