ACC Association News

US chemical production growth steady in February

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 28, 2017

According to the American Chemistry Council, the US Chemical Production Regional Index edged higher by 0.2% in February, following a 0.5% gain in January, and a 0.3% gain in December, as measured on a three-month moving average basis. All regions posted growth in February. Read more.

World Water Day 2017

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 28, 2017

In 1993, the UN designated March 22 as World Water Day. As part of the celebration of World Water Day, the American Chemistry Council welcomed 35 elementary-school students from the Capitol Hill Montessori School in Washington, D.C. Jeffrey Sejour of International Action, which is working to chlorinate drinking water in Haiti, spoke with the students about water and wastewater problems that continue to plague Haitians. The students also video-conferenced with Andrew Coco of Pure Water for the World from their water quality laboratory in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The event concluded with a hands-on water chemistry experiment to measure the presence of residual chlorine in water to see which samples were disinfected and thus safe to drink. In recognition of their ongoing efforts to provide safe drinking water, ACC's Chlorine Chemistry Division donated $5,000 to International Action on behalf of the students of Capitol Hill Montessori School. See more.

US specialty chemicals markets accelerated in February

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 23, 2017

The American Chemistry Council reported that US specialty chemicals market volumes rose a strong 0.6% in February. This follows an upwardly revised 0.4% gain in January. Volumes have generally been moving up since May. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average basis. Of the 28 specialty chemical segments we monitor, 18 expanded in February, 10 experienced decline and none were flat. During February, large gains (1% and over) occurred in antioxidants, food additives, mining chemicals, oilfield chemicals, paint additives, and rubber processing chemicals. The overall specialty chemicals volume index was up 1.3% on a year-over-year 3MMA basis. The index stood at 107.2% of its average 2012 levels. Read more.

ACC welcomes hearing on legislation to improve implementation process for EPA ozone standards

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 22, 2017

The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement in advance of today's legislative hearing in the House Subcommittee on Environment, "H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017."

"We commend Chairman Shimkus for holding today's hearing on H.R. 806, bipartisan legislation that updates and improves the implementation process for EPA ozone standards. It will help ensure that manufacturers who want to invest and hire in the U.S. can obtain regulatory permits in a timely and efficient manner.

"Before manufacturing facilities can proceed with a new construction or expansion project, they must obtain regulatory approval. This is complicated when localities are forced to comply with two different ozone standards concurrently. EPA has failed to provide needed implementation rules and guidance in a timely manner, leaving facilities and state permitting agencies in limbo. The confusion and delays that result from EPA's approach to setting and implementing ozone standards can put new investment and jobs at risk.

"The 'Ozone Standards Implementation Act' will help. It sets a 10-year cycle for national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) reviews, provides regulatory certainty by streamlining preconstruction permitting and extends the compliance date for meeting the 2015 standards to 2025. Such reforms will enable continued air quality improvement without compromising U.S. manufacturing growth."

H.R. 806 was introduced by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, together with Reps. Bill Flores, R-Texas, Bob Latta, R-Ohio, Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Steve Scalise, R-La., Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other original co-sponsors. The Senate companion, S. 263, was introduced by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Both bills were introduced Feb. 1.

Consumer, business confidence reach levels not seen in decades; optimism reflected in increased chemical industry activity

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 21, 2017

The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, posted its strongest year-over-year gain in nearly seven years. The 5.5% increase over this time last year reflects elevated consumer and business confidence and an overall rising optimism in the US economy. Speaking last week, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen also referenced a "confidence in the robustness of the economy" as a reason to move forward with an interest rate hike. The barometer posted a 0.5% gain in March, following a 0.5% gain in February and 0.4% gain in January. All data is measured on a three-month moving average. Coupled with consecutive monthly gains in the fourth quarter of 2016, the pattern shows consistent, accelerating activity. On an unadjusted basis the CAB climbed 0.4% in March, following a 0.4% gain in February and a 0.6% increase in January. Read more.

ACC files comments on EPA proposed rules for prioritization and risk evaluation under Lautenberg Act

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 21, 2017

The American Chemistry Council recently filed comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules for Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals and Risk Evaluation as required by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act:

"The Lautenberg Act requires EPA to develop, by rule, a risk-based screening process to designate chemicals as low priority or high priority for subsequent risk evaluation. ACC urges EPA to clarify its proposed prioritization process in the rule, and in particular, to use tiered, risk-based screening tools and approaches to designate chemicals as high priority for risk evaluation in a measured and efficient manner. EPA's rule should result in a small and focused queue of high priority chemicals with the remainder classified as low priority, in keeping with the need for the Agency to direct its resources to the highest priorities. EPA's priority decisions must meet the science standard requirements of Section 26 of the Act and ACC urges EPA to reference these standards in the prioritization rule. We encourage EPA to establish a prioritization process that ensures that the chemicals and uses moving into risk evaluation are of the greatest importance to achieve EPA's public health mission." Read more.

ACC comments on EPA proposed rule for inventory reset under Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 16, 2017

The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement with regard to its comments on the Environmental Protection Agency draft rule for EPA to designate chemical substances on the Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Substance Inventory as either "active" or "inactive" in US commerce, as required by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act:

"We are pleased to comment on EPA's Proposed 'Inventory Reset' Rule, one of three major framework rules required by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act amendment to TSCA. The long-term success of the amended law depends on a systematic, timely process of risk evaluation of chemicals, and the Inventory Reset is the first step of that process, sorting chemicals on the Inventory based on their status as active or inactive in commerce.

"We commend the Agency for offering an approach to the Reset that delivers on the simple notification process expressed in the statute. This is important, because the Reset will still be a major undertaking requiring substantial time and effort from companies, as well as EPA staff. EPA's proposal not to require re-notification about chemicals already known to be active in commerce from the 2012 and 2016 Chemical Data Reporting cycles is particularly helpful to reducing the overall burden of this exercise.

"It is particularly important that EPA remove mandates for supplemental information that go beyond what the simple notification described in the statute require. EPA should build quality assurance steps into the process, and will need to be vigilant to ensure that its online reporting system, CDX, can support the Reset. As the Agency reviews public comments, ACC encourages EPA to make these and additional improvements to the process for even greater efficiencies."

ACC welcomes reintroduction of McKinley-Welch energy-efficiency bill

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 10, 2017

"We applaud Reps. McKinley and Welch for reintroducing the 'Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.' This bipartisan bill includes smart ways to grow our economy while helping families and businesses save energy and money. We urge swift passage by the House.

"We are glad the legislation retains language supporting strong, updated model building energy codes, which were developed through a bipartisan, transparent and consensus-based stakeholder process. Energy costs are among the biggest expenses of homeownership and commercial businesses, and these provisions will help Americans reduce their utility bills, year after year.

"The chemistry industry is a leader in energy efficiency. We invent and manufacture a variety of materials and technologies that save energy in homes, factories, vehicles and businesses. Building insulation, lightweight plastic automobile parts, composites, engine lubricants, energy storage systems and thermal coatings are just a few of the solutions that rely on chemistry."

ACC supports legislative efforts to improve EPA science

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 09, 2017

The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement in support of the H.R. 1430, the "Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017" (or The HONEST Act) introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and H.R. 1431 "EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017," introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

"Consistency and transparency are key to the regulatory certainty our industry needs to grow and create jobs. In some instances, EPA has fallen short of employing the highest-quality, best-available science in their regulatory decision making. It is critical that the regulated community and the public have confidence that decisions reached by EPA are grounded in transparent and reproducible science. By ensuring that the EPA utilizes high-quality science and shares underlying data used to reach decisions, the HONEST Act can help foster a regulatory environment that will allow the US business of chemistry to continue to develop safe, innovative products that Americans depend on in their everyday lives." Read more.

ACC forming a 1,4 dioxane group as part of LCSA risk evaluation

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 07, 2017

ACC is currently forming a 1,4 dioxane group through ACC's new Center for Chemical Safety Act Implementation. EPA has issued a draft use dossier on 1,4 dioxane, an initial step in EPA's multi-year risk evaluation process under the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. EPA plans to issue the critically important scoping document on 1,4 dioxane by June of 2017. We are convening a call of interested stakeholders in April. For information on how your company or association can participate on the 1,4 dioxane group, please contact David Fischer.

Monthly resin market data for 2017 now available from ACC

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 07, 2017

ACC's resin reports are recognized as a leading data source on the plastics resins industry. Using detailed monthly surveys of major North American producers, ACC publishes authoritative industry reports on production and sales by end use markets for major plastic resins. Get complete details including sample reports, 2017 subscription pricing and how to order.

New report: Fixing transportation infrastructure essential to US manufacturing growth

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 02, 2017

A renaissance in American chemical manufacturing has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and billions in investments, but the nation's transportation network needs an overhaul in order to fulfill that promise, according to a report released yesterday. The report, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, found that addressing ongoing challenges across the nation's transportation infrastructure is critical to fully capitalizing on the economic benefits of growing chemical and plastics production in the US.

"The US business of chemistry is growing like never before, but limitations across all modes of transportation are getting in the way of fully realizing this American manufacturing success story," said ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley. "With our industry already committed to investing billions of dollars and creating new jobs in the US, we must work together to improve our nation's transportation and infrastructure system in order to help usher in a new era of American manufacturing." Read the full report or the news release.

Global chemicals production starts first quarter on strong note

ACC SmartBrief | Mar 02, 2017

The American Chemistry Council's Global Chemical Production Regional Index shows that headline global production started the year on a strong note, rising 0.6% in January after a similar gain in December, as measured on a three-month moving average basis. During January, chemical production increased in North America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia-Pacific but fell in Latin America. Activity in Africa and the Middle East was flat. The Global CPRI was up 3.3% year-over-year on a 3MMA basis and stood at 109.9% of its average 2012 levels in December. During January, capacity utilization in the global business of chemistry rose 0.4 percentage points, to 79.2%. This is off from 80.6% last January and is below the long-term (1987-2016) average of 88.8%. Read more.

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