NACD optimistic on US regulatory reform - president

10 April 2017 17:02 Source:ICIS News

NEW YORK (ICIS)--The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) is hopeful for changes that would benefit members, its president said on Monday.

“We definitely want to see regulatory reform as government agencies have been using guidance documents as rule of law - an end-around to the regulatory process,” said Byer.

“Rulemaking is there for a reason, and all stakeholders should have a chance to comment on it, so it can be reconciled and put forward in its final form,” he added.

In 2015, the NACD joined the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in a lawsuit against the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for issuing new and immediate Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements through a memo that would significantly expand the number of facilities covered by the PSM standard. The suit was settled in July 2016.

Byer sees the change in US political leadership as being more business friendly and seeks to ensure agencies are following proper rulemaking procedures.

“It sounds crazy to have a law codifying that you need to follow the law. But we want to see something in law that stipulates that if you want to change something, you have to go through the rulemaking process,” said Byer.

To this effect, the NACD supports the House-introduced Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017.

He is also encouraged by US President Trump’s executive order stating that for every new regulation created by a government agency, two must be removed.

“Our number one priority is safety and security, but we have to make sure regulations are justifiable in cost and effectiveness,” said Byer.

Byer applauds the growth of the bipartisan Congressional Chemistry Caucus to advance the industry’s cause. The House of Representatives launched its caucus in April 2016, and on 28 March 2017, the Senate created its caucus.

Among the Senate caucus’ goals are “to underscore the importance of employing sound science to create effective public policy and to promote initiatives that encourage the development of chemical manufacturing and a new generation of chemists in the US through world-class education and research programs”.

As of 28 March, the Congressional Chemistry Caucus had 36 members in the House (11 Democrats, 25 Republicans) and 9 in the Senate (5 Democrats, 4 Republicans).

“We are getting like-minded members of Congress to join us in advancing regulatory reform,” said Byer.

While Byer is largely encouraged by the new administration’s initial efforts, the proposed elimination of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is another matter.

“This is disconcerting. The new leadership is doing a great job. You might not agree with the CSB, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have an agency to evaluate accidents and make recommendations,” said Byer.

“It provides a substantial benefit, and it’s not good optics to eliminate it. The CSB is very much our NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board),” he added.

By Joseph Chang