InterviewFines trouble US chemical distributors

10 November 2011 22:13  [Source: ICIS news]

BONITA SPRINGS, Florida (ICIS)--Excessive and seemingly contradictory regulatory enforcement has become a critical issue for US chemical distribution, said the industry’s trade group on Thursday.

Under the Obama Administration, there has been the “trend toward finding problems, and then [immediately issuing] a fine, rather than giving a company time to comply,” said Andrew Skipp, chairman of US-based National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD).

Meanwhile, enforcement policies can differ from region to region, he said.

Skipp was speaking on the sidelines of 40th Annual Meeting of the NACD. He is also the president and CEO of US-based chemical distributor of Hubbard-Hall.

“We cannot be all things to all people,” Skipp said, adding that chemical distribution gets “no exceptions” from any of the regulatory agencies that the industry must deal with, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Department of Transportation (DoT).

Some of the fines handed out by the EPA have been particularly “significant, and we don’t see this problem getting any better” for the time being, said Skipp.

The situation becomes more vexing when “many times regulations [from different agencies] are in conflict with one another,” he said, with different agencies often having different standards.

Regulatory certainty is needed: “Safety, security and compliance are critical to our livelihood… but we need the rules to be clear.”

While the NACD routinely conducts talks and visits with Washington D.C., Skipp said bureaucratic culture tends to be entrenched, and “it is incumbent upon us to do more… to promote our brand, and put a face to who we are”.

The Annual Meeting of the NACD, taking place in Bonita Springs, Florida, ends on Thursday.

By: Ivan Lerner
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