Metal finishers among toxin target opponents

[Source: Los Angeles Business Journal] MANUFACTURING: Call for increased facility supervision may yield speedier closures.

Manufacturers and metal finishers are concerned about a planned crackdown on toxic emissions by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The crackdown, announced at the April 7 meeting of the district’s governing board, was prompted by recent discoveries of high levels of hexavalent chromium and other toxic substances in the air surrounding two metal finishing plants in Paramount, Anaplex Corp., and Aerocraft Heat Treating Co.

AQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri said that over the next seven years the district will identify and prioritize high-risk facilities among the estimated 1,100 metal-processing operations in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and the Inland Empire. The district also will amend its toxic emissions rules to encompass more metal manufacturing processes that have recently been found to contribute to toxic emissions.

In addition, the agency is backing legislation in Sacramento – AB 1132, by Assemblywoman Chistina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, who represents the Paramount area – that would give AQMD the authority to shut down metal-finishing plants emitting high levels of hexavalent chromium without first holding a hearing under certain circumstances.

The bill allows air pollution control officers to do this if they determine that emissions rules have been violated “and the violation presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare, or the environment.”

It is this move that’s causing the most immediate worry among manufacturers and metal-finishing industry representatives.

“My clients are concerned about giving the executive officer authority to shut down facilities without an administrative hearing for the facility operators to tell their side of the story and work out a solution that can keep the facility operating,” said Joseph Hower, principal in the L. A. office of Ramboll Environ who represents local metal-finishing companies and other manufacturers. “It’s a dangerous precedent.”

Bill LaMarr, executive director of the California Small Business Alliance in Anaheim, whose members include metal-finishing companies, said those businesses are concerned that new rules will be developed before the district finishes its inventory of facilities with hexavalent chromium emissions.

“What is upsetting to them is that AQMD is painting all metal-processing businesses with the same regulatory brush and intends to impose unbelievably harsh new rules on all businesses, even those that are operating within the conditions of their AQMD permits,” he said.

Source: Los Angeles Business Journal
April 17, 2017