Issue Date: November 16, 2009
Air Rule Planned For PVC Plants
By 2011, EPA will limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants from polyvinyl chloride and copolymer production plants. This move will replace a rule the agency issued during the Bush Administration in 2002 that restricted emissions of a single hazardous pollutant—vinyl chloride—from PVC plants. When it issued the rule, EPA said equipment controlling vinyl chloride would also remove other hazardous air pollutants. But environmental groups sued the agency for not specifically limiting the other toxic air pollutants emitted by these facilities. In 2004, a federal appeals court agreed with them and overturned much of the regulation (C&EN, June 28, 2004, page 30). When EPA did not reissue the regulation, environmental groups in 2008 took the agency to court again, alleging that EPA is in violation of the Clean Air Act because it isn't regulating these plants' hazardous air emissions. The agency and the organizations settled the suit in late October, with EPA agreeing to propose a regulation for PVC facilities in late 2010 and finalizing it by July 2011.
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