Maintaining Critical Compliance Mechanisms in California Consumer Products Regulation
SCAQMD Proposed Air Quality Management Plan
In June 2012, the California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) initiated development of a 2012 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) for the District which eventually became part of the overall California State Implementation Plan (SIP) developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The proposed AQMP sought to eliminate the current exemption for Low Vapor Pressure (LVP) compounds in the CARB Consumer Products Regulation. The AQMP also proposed to impose further reductions on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in architectural coatings and adhesives, solvents and lubricants. Finally, SCAQMD proposed to establish new VOC limits on mold release products. Since the SIP imposes legally binding commitments on the state, the proposed 2012 AQMP could have resulted in significant reformulation costs and less efficacious consumer products if adopted.
CSPA’s primary concern was that the proposed AQMP contained measures that commit to further reductions of VOC emissions for consumer products that are neither necessary nor feasible. If the draft AQMP was passed by the SCAQMD Governing Board and adopted by the CARB as part of the California SIP, the consumer products industry would eventually lose critically important compliance options and be subjected to potentially unfeasible further VOC reductions.
CSPA filed initial comments on the AQMP opposing the four VOC reduction measures for consumer products, and provided information showing that neither consumer product VOC reductions nor LVP reductions would contribute to ozone attainment. CSPA also filed comments on the revised AQMP arguing that SCAQMD and CARB do not need to update the ozone SIP or approve new VOC control measures this year, and should proceed with only the particulate matter update that is required.
On December 7, 2012, following industry testimony opposing the proposals impacting the consumer products industry, the SCAQMD Governing Board voted to withdraw the LVP provision from the 2012 AQMP in favor of the SCAQMD sending a letter to CARB requesting a study examining whether and how LVPs contribute to ozone formation. CARB staff stated support for the motion indicating there is preliminary science on LVPs’ contribution to ozone formation and it is appropriate to do more research.
CARB’s Proposed 2013 Amendments
CSPA has actively engaged in advocacy efforts at the state and regional air quality management district levels since the inception of the Consumer Products Regulation in the late 1980s. CARB staff held a public workshop in September 2012 to discuss potential 2013 amendments to the Consumer Products Regulation which could result in the elimination of the LVP exemption for the paint thinner and multi-purpose solvents categories and changes to Method 310 which is used to determine the total volatile material in a product and the presence of any compounds prohibited by CARB regulations. New VOC limits are also proposed for a number of aerosol coatings and adhesives.
CSPA and industry allies submitted written comments in October 2012, and again in February 2013 and April 2013 after the three public workshops as CARB staff developed revised proposals based on stakeholder feedback. The most recent CARB staff proposal would not eliminate the LVP exemption, and is being largely supported by CSPA and allied trade associations. CARB staff has decided to take additional time to continue work on definitions and the LVP issue. It is anticipated the CARB will issue the formal proposed regulation (i.e., the 45-day notice) in early August and will vote on the 2013 amendments final regulation at the public meeting on September 26, 2013.
In addition to engaging with SCAQMD and CARB on the proposals, CSPA is leading the strategic advocacy activities with allied trade associations and is developing research, legal and media strategies to defend member companies’ products.
In response to the request from SCAQMD to further study the potential for LVP compounds to contribute to ozone formation, CARB will undertake two LVP studies as part of their 2013-2014 research plan. CSPA and allied industries are supporting the need for research and are requesting that the research precede any rulemaking impacting the LVP exemption, Industry scientists will participate as members of a technical advisory group to provide real world expertise to CARB staff and the researchers.
In addition, CSPA and allied trade associations have developed an industry research plan to complement the CARB research. The goal of the research plan is to utilize appropriate tools to determine what percentage of the California VOC emissions inventory used in formulating consumer products and architectural coatings have alternative environmental fates in ambient air and to better understand their availability for photochemical reactions potentially leading to ambient ozone formation. The research will support collective industry efforts to retain use of the LVP compounds and industry members are urged to contribute resources to fund the research plan.
For any questions regarding this issue please contact CSPA's Director of State Affairs - West Region, Kristin Power.