Issue Date: February 26, 2018
Court rules against delay of formaldehyde restrictions in U.S.
The U.S. EPA violated the law when it delayed the compliance date of an Obama-era rule on formaldehyde emissions for composite wood products, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on Feb. 16. The rule was scheduled to go into effect in December 2017, one year after EPA finalized it. But when the Trump administration took over, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a three-month delay. Then, in September, EPA finalized a rule, giving industry a one-year extension to meet the standard. Environmental groups and Gulf Coast citizens filed a lawsuit in October, asking the court to vacate EPA’s rule that allows for the one-year extension. The Gulf Coast residents were exposed to formaldehyde vapors from wood products that were installed in government-issued trailers after Hurricane Katrina. The court ruled that the extension is “beyond the scope of the EPA’s authority.” EPA and the plaintiffs now have until March 9 to reach an agreement on how to proceed with timely implementation of the formaldehyde emissions standard in composite wood products, such as plywood and particleboard.
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