Chem industry laments new US fine particle rule

21 September 2006 22:04  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--Chemical and other process industry officials expressed dismay on Thursday over the federal government’s decision to tighten fine particle emissions standards, warning it will hurt production and raise energy costs.


The US Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a final rule tightening the 1997 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or less. The revised regulation, known as the PM 2.5 rule, tightens the permissible daily fine particle standard from 65 micrograms to 35 micrograms of particles per cubic meter of air.


The higher PM 2.5 standard must be met by states and municipalities by 2015.


Chemicals producers and other manufacturers lobbied against the new standard when it was proposed earlier this year, arguing that it would force the shutdown of some production facilities and make expansion of others uneconomical.


The new rule also is seen as likely to drive energy costs higher for industry because more electric utilities are expected to switch to natural gas in order to reduce their fine particulate emissions. Natural gas is the principle feedstock of the US chemicals industry.


“This rule represents a significant and costly burden placed on all industrial and commercial operations, including refining and petrochemical facilities,” said Bob Slaughter, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.


Slaughter noted that the new PM 2.5 standard is being implemented by the federal government before states have fully complied with the earlier standard.  “We are concerned that the standard issued today burdens states by moving attainment targets before implementation of the 1997 NAAQS standard for particulate matter.”

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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