Friday, 08 April 2011 22:15

SCRS and Affiliates Issue Letter to EPA Regional Offices

In a letter released on Monday, April 4th, 2011, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and 26 of its Affiliate Associations requested more stringent interpretation from the ten EPA regional offices across America in regard to exemptions listed in the EPA rule Subpart HHHHHH- National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources (Rule 6H.)

To view a copy of the letter please CLICK HERE.

The letter has been issued just weeks after EPA Region 2 representatives discussed the 6H Rule with the industry at a Collision Industry Conference (CIC) meeting held in Secaucus, New Jersey in March; and provides talking points detailing issues seen in markets across the country stemming specifically from the growing use of 3 oz. paint cups to potentially exempt affected businesses. “Unfortunately, the application of the rule has created a practice where some businesses are claiming to be exempt, by filling 3 oz. cups multiple times while doing traditional collision repair operations, in an attempt to continue to perform the work in an uncontained or mobile environment,” the letter states. “It is our position that an exemption which invalidates pollution controls based solely on the size of tool being used rather than the amount of pollution being generated is ineffective and harmful policy; because the rule is silent on refilling of the 3 oz cups, there exists a continued potential to circumvent the rule.”

“This is an extremely sensitive issue in markets like ours in New Jersey that have a growing population of mobile refinishers,” stated Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) Executive Director Charles Bryant. “Our member repair facilities are working diligently to meet and often exceed the standards of environmental responsibility, and that advancement often requires an investment on their part. It is important to ensure that everyone operating within the market is meeting these requirements, and that we don’t have entities undermining the intent of the regulations so that they can compete unsafely without needing to recover the investment in the standard. AASP/NJ is so appreciative to have an organization with such size and credibility like SCRS, and its affiliates, to work with on these issues.”

SCRS and the endorsing associations provided the recommendation that the EPA Regional offices refer to language found in the comments documented in the federal register that the initial purpose of the exemption was specifically to address stone chip, scratch and small graphic airbrush work, and to distinguish that work from that done in a conventional collision repair environment. The letter suggests an interpretation from the region “that this exemption of 3.0 fluid ounces (89 cubic centimeters (cc)) or less should be changed to read that a hand-held device with a paint cup capacity that is equal to or less than 3.0 fluid ounces (89 cc) cannot be refilled or be able to spray more than a 3.0 fluid ounces of spray-applied coating per vehicle repair.” It also reiterates additional comments in the federal register that specifically denote that mobile refinishers are still subject to the rule requirements for “training, spray equipment, and use of a spray booth or other ventilated and filtered enclosure” if they are performing more traditional collision repair functions.

Aside from recommendations and persuasive argument, the letter requests a response from the EPA regional offices on three items:

1.    A documented response regarding the exemption for coatings applied with a paint cup equal to or less than 3 fluid oz., and clarification that the rule applies to the type of work being performed. 

2.    A documented response that a 3 fluid oz. cup cannot be used and repeatedly filled to circumvent the rule.

3.    Clarification that while a business applying coatings may be exempt from Rule 6H by meeting certain stated requirements, the exemption does not negate other additional regulatory requirements (such as OSHA, local zoning codes or fire ordinances) that may prohibit spraying flammable solvent or coatings with Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) outside of a contained environment.

“Efforts such as this, where SCRS is working side-by-side with our affiliates to address real issues in the marketplace, speaks directly to the foundation which SCRS was built upon,” adds SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. “We have been fortunate to grow this network of strong and active associations, and harnessing our collective voice is perhaps one of the most effective resources we have to work with. This approach has proven to be succesful in other situations, and I am confident that as we continue to apply this approach of working together with our affiliates, and other interested associations, we will realize the tangible betterment for our collective membership that we seek.”

Once received and compiled, the responses will be distributed through the SCRS Affiliate Associations, and posted to the SCRS website at www.scrs.com.

About SCRS: Through its direct members and 39 affiliate associations, SCRS is comprised of 6,000 collision repair businesses and 58,500 specialized professionals who work with consumers and insurance companies to repair collision-damaged vehicles. Additional information about SCRS including other news releases is available at the SCRS Web site: www.scrs.com. You can e-mail SCRS at the following address: info@scrs.com.

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