0 votes
asked ago by (57.7k points)
edited ago by
1) Apr 6 [press release] -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to significantly reduce hazardous air pollutants from chemical plants, including the highly toxic chemicals ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene. The reductions would dramatically reduce the number of people with elevated air toxics-related cancer risks in communities surrounding the plants that use those two chemicals, especially communities historically overburdened by air toxics pollution, and cut more than 6,000 tons of toxic air pollution a year.

The proposal advances President Biden’s commitment to ending cancer as we know it as part of the Cancer Moonshot and to securing environmental justice and protecting public health, including for communities that are most exposed to toxic chemicals. Administrator Michael Regan made the announcement at an event in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana – one of the communities the Administrator visited during his November 2021 Journey to Justice tour. . . .

EPA’s proposal would update several regulations that apply to chemical plants, including plants that make synthetic organic chemicals, and regulations that apply to plants that make polymers such as neoprene. The proposed updates would reduce 6,053 tons of air toxics emissions each year, which are known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health effects. Those reductions include a 58 ton per year reduction in ethylene oxide (EtO) and a reduction of 14 tons per year in chloroprene.

Other air toxics the rule would reduce include benzene, 1,3-butadiene, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride. The proposal would also reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by more than 23,000 tons a year.

Facilities that make, store, use or emit EtO, chloroprene, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, ethylene dichloride or vinyl chloride would be required to monitor levels of these air pollutants entering the air at the fenceline of the facility, a requirement that would deliver on one of the commitments the Administrator made following his 2021 Journey to Justice tour. This powerful tool would help make sure EPA’s rules deliver: if annual average air concentrations of the chemicals are higher than an action level at the fenceline, owners and operators would have to find the source and make repairs. The proposed action levels vary depending on the chemical. For EtO, EPA is proposing an action level of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. For chloroprene, the proposed action level is 0.3 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

In order to ensure this data is transparent and available to communities, EPA would make the monitoring data public through its WebFiRE database tool.  These fenceline monitoring provisions are based on similar Clean Air Act requirements for petroleum refineries nationwide, which have been highly successful in identifying and reducing emissions of benzene for more than four years.

The proposal would reduce cancer risks from breathing in toxic air pollutants that are emitted from the specific processes and equipment covered under the rules. These pollutants are linked to a number of cancers, including lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer and liver cancer, among others. EPA also expects the proposal to benefit children, who are more susceptible to the effects of EtO and chloroprene.

To provide the public with the best possible information about the impact of the proposed updates, EPA has conducted a first-of-its kind community risk assessment. That assessment evaluated the impacts of the proposed emissions reductions from synthetic organic chemical manufacturing on the total air toxics-related cancer risks from all large industrial facilities in an area combined – not just from the equipment and processes covered by today’s proposal. The community risk assessment shows that the numbers of people with elevated cancer risk could drop by 96 percent in communities surrounding chemical plants, if the proposal is finalized.

The community assessment also shows there is more work to do, finding that EtO is the largest driver of the remaining risks. In the coming weeks, EPA expects to announce proposed updates to its regulations for commercial sterilization facilities that emit EtO. In addition, the Agency  is working to develop proposed rules for other sources of EtO, including polyether polyols production, hospital sterilizers, and smaller chemical manufacturers known as “area sources.”

EPA will accept written comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register and will hold a virtual public hearing. The Agency also will hold a training for communities on April 13, 2023, to review the proposal and answer questions.

Proposal to Strengthen Standards for Synthetic Organic Chemical Plants and Polymers and Resins Plants: https://www.epa.gov/hazardous-air-pollutants-ethylene-oxide/proposal-strengthen-standards-synthetic-organic-chemical
Press release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/biden-harris-administration-proposes-strengthen-standards-chemical-and-polymers-plants

2) Apr 25 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that apply to the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry (SOCMI) and to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) that apply to the SOCMI (more commonly referred to as the Hazardous Organic NESHAP or HON) and Group I and II Polymers and Resins Industries (P&R I and P&R II). The EPA is proposing decisions resulting from the Agency's technology review of the HON, P&R I, and P&R II, and its eight-year review of the NSPS that apply to the SOCMI. The EPA is also proposing amendments to the NSPS for equipment leaks of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in SOCMI based on its reconsideration of certain issues raised in an administrative petition for reconsideration. Furthermore, the EPA is proposing to strengthen the emission standards for ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions and chloroprene emissions after considering the results of a risk assessment for the HON and Neoprene Production processes subject to P&R I. Lastly, the EPA is proposing to remove exemptions from standards for periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM), to add work practice standards for such periods where appropriate, and to add provisions for electronic reporting.

We estimate that the proposed amendments to the NESHAP would reduce hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions (excluding EtO and chloroprene) from the SOCMI, P&R I, and P&R II sources by approximately 1,123 tons per year (tpy), reduce EtO emissions from HON processes by approximately 58 tpy, and reduce chloroprene emissions from Neoprene Production processes in P&R I by approximately 14 tpy. We also estimate that these proposed amendments to the NESHAP will reduce excess emissions of HAP from flares in the SOCMI and P&R I source categories by an additional 4,858 tpy. Lastly, we estimate that the proposed amendments to the NSPS would reduce VOC emissions from the SOCMI source category by approximately 1,609 tpy.

Comments must be received on or before June 26, 2023. The EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on May 16, 2023.
 
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-07188 [126 pages]

3) Apr 26 -- EPA Announces Public Hearing on Proposal to Strengthen Standards for Chemical and Polymers Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a virtual public hearing on its proposal to significantly reduce hazardous air pollutants from chemical plants, including the highly toxic chemicals ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene. The reductions would dramatically reduce the number of people with elevated air toxics-related cancer risks in communities surrounding the plants that use those two chemicals, especially communities historically overburdened by air toxics pollution, and cut more than 6,000 tons of toxic air pollution a year.

Date: Tuesday May 16, 2023
Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET
Location: Virtual platform

Press release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-public-hearing-proposal-strengthen-standards-chemical-and-polymers

Please log in or register to answer this question.

...