US chem industry in strongest position in decades - trade group

07 June 2011 19:48  [Source: ICIS news]

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (ICIS)--Economic recovery and the competitive advantage from access to cheap shale-based natural gas have rescued the US chemical industry from the hole it was in just two years ago, American Chemistry Council (ACC) president Cal Dooley said on Tuesday.

"Few of us would have anticipated that we would see the industry turn around and be in one of the strongest positions that it has been in decades," Dooley said on the sidelines of the ACC's annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Dooley spelled out priorities for the ACC going forward, starting with its political advocacy role to get the best possible regulatory and legislative framework for the industry.

That includes reforming and modernising rules governing chemical safety, he said.

The ACC will also be pushing for a comprehensive national energy plan that does not use government subsidies to attempt to pick winners and losers among competing energy sources.

Dooley cited as an example a plan being promoted by oil industry maverick T Boone Pickens that would use public funding to get compressed natural gas into the US transportation fuel market.

On the political front, the main focus is environmental regulation amid a deadlock between the Democrats who control the Senate and the Republicans who control the House of Representatives, with President Barack Obama - also a Democrat - occupying the White House.

"There is little happening in Congress, and that has created a vacuum which the Obama administration is filling with a very aggressive regulatory approach," Dooley said.

While the chemical industry has had some success in stalling tighter rules, the ACC is increasingly concerned about the implementation of greenhouse gas rules, he said.

Another key issue for the ACC is chemical security, a topic on which there has been a bi-partisan political approach, Dooley said.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Stephen Burns
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