August 9, 2020

Washington Wire: EPA Reconsiders New Source Review Process


EPA Reconsiders New Source Review Process  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published an overhaul on how it determines whether a facility that produces air pollution can make changes without having to undergo a complex permitting process. Under its new interpretation, the EPA will deem different actions to be a single project for New Source Review permitting purposes so long as the different actions are substantially related. Furthermore, the new EPA approach allows for the measurement of emissions from new or improved equipment to be performed in hourly tests. Previously, New Source Review emissions measurements took place over an entire year, effectively concealing the efficiency of new equipment. This change in interpretation will be beneficial to One Voice members, allowing them to make new manufacturing investments without having to undergo an excessive and burdensome permitting process.



EPA Announces Cleaner Trucks Initiative
On November 13th, the EPA announced the launch of their “Cleaner Truck Initiative” to update standards which address nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from highway heavy-duty trucks and engines. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler suggested the initiative may lead to a reduction in permissible NOx emission levels from truck engines. However, Administrator Wheeler also suggested the Cleaner Trucks Initiative could lead to other deregulatory actions easing compliance by truck makers and trucking companies. The deregulatory actions may involve changing annual testing requirements, including how the agency tests for emissions controls. Although the Agency did not commit to any specific new regulation when announcing this initiative, sources indicate the EPA will likely propose a new rule soon as the last time it set NOx emissions standards was in 2000. In its statement, the EPA did disclose it wants to have a final rule by the end of 2020.



Exclusion Request Forms for China List 2 Goods Due on December 18, 2018
On August 23, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) imposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods. The goods consist of 284 tariff lines and were levied in response to the Trump administration’s Section 301 investigation. In September, the USTR issued the procedures for parties adversely affected by these tariffs to seek an exclusion for the specific product they import from China. The deadline for filing an exclusion is December 18, 2018. Any One Voice members that are adversely affected by these tariffs can access the exclusion request form and additional information on the USTR’s webpage by clicking here.



Treasury Department Proposes New Regulations on Deducting Business Interest
On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department proposed a new regulation allowing businesses to carry forward interest that otherwise could not be deducted under rules in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to future years. Under last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for companies with average annual gross receipts over $25 million, Congress set a limit of 30 percent on the deduction accessible to borrowers on the interest they pay. The proposed regulation also adopts definitions for interest and a trade or business, and addresses the treatment of expenses and income from related exempt and nonexempt businesses just as rentals, which affects thousands of family-owned manufacturing businesses.



California’s OEHHA Adds Soluble Nickle Compounds to its Proposition 65 Toxicity List
On October 26th, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added soluble nickel compounds to its list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, but did not include nickel itself or insoluble nickel compounds. This is an important development for One Voice, which joined with coalition partners to oppose the effort in California, which would affect manufacturers across the country. Had California included insoluble compounds and nickel as it did with soluble nickel compounds, in one year, businesses would provide warning to employees exposed to material, unless they can demonstrate the exposure is below an established “safe harbor” level. Although OEHHA has not published a safe harbor level for these chemicals, One Voice members within the state of California should determine if nickel soluble compounds are present in their factories because they may need to provide warnings to their employees.