Ready or Not, TSCA is Coming

If you recall, I previously blogged about how the TSCA enforcement date, planned for December of this year, might start at any time? Well guess what—we might all be required to be TSCA compliant as early as March 12th.

Here I was ready to write a blog advertising the panel at the NWFA Convention on formaldehyde regulations—we lined up an amazing group to help you get ready to comply. But it will likely be too late to prepare you—you are already going to be neck deep because the EPA is being forced to start early enforcement next month.

Now there was some good news two weeks ago—the EPA seems to have fixed that pesky Correlation issue I talked about last year. So everyone can finally start moving TSCA material into the supply chain without the fear of getting hung up on an administrative difference between CARB and TSCA. But that happened just two weeks ago—nowhere near enough time to allow the industry to be ready in just a few more weeks.

So what happened? Well, on Friday the 16th, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled for Sierra Club in its lawsuit challenging the delayed implementation of the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products regulation, or TSCA Title VI as we know it. The result is that we’re back to the original timetable for each stage of the regulation—meaning all new production should be manufactured as TSCA compliant immediately. Never mind that it was only two weeks ago that most companies were actually able to start production with confidence.

The Judge told the EPA and the Sierra Club to sit down to see if they work out a plan and to report back to him on March 9th. The EPA will hopefully make the case that the nearly one million impacted companies (manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers) cannot turn on a dime and just comply overnight. But that argument was already made—as well as the fact that the Sierra Club didn’t object to the delay when it was originally proposed—and the judge went ahead and ordered immediate enforcement anyway.

Hopefully we’ll gain some time. Again, this is not about the industry being unwilling or unable to comply—after all, almost all our floors (and cabinets and furniture) is already CARB compliant and the emission levels established by the two programs are identical. For the vast majority of the industry, this will be a new administrative burden, not a change in production or procedures. But it still takes time. And the behind the scenes administrative/technical work for the government and the TPCs is extensive.

Stay tuned.

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