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New York -- Following the EPA's release of a "framework for a potential rule" to govern VOC emissions from architectural and industrial maintenance coatings, negotiators for the coatings industry were conferring with other participants in the regulatory-negotiation process in a bid to hammer out an agreement on a national VOC rule.
Representatives of the industry, the EPA, state regulatory agencies, environmental groups, and coatings users were scheduled to return to the bargaining table June 10. At the center of discussion is a revised EPA proposal, still being called a framework, that suggests the agency recognizes the existence of technical barriers to some very low VOC limits called for in earlier versions of the plan.
Under the new proposal, first-round VOC limits slated for 1996 are essentially unchanged from an earlier plan issued in January. But significant changes are proposed for limits that would go into effect in the years 2000 and 2004.
Revised VOC limits were issued for several major product categories such as non-flats; primers and undercoaters; stains; traffic-marking paints; and wood preservatives. Also, higher VOC limits are proposed for a significant number of low-volume, specialty products.
The EPA is hoping to complete discussions on the national-rule proposal in time to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking later this summer. Delays that have plagued the reg-neg process could push enactment of the regulation into late 1995 -- just a few months prior to the first round of VOC reductions in January 1996.
Provisions in the new plan would allow exceedence fees to be paid …