Due to the ongoing pandemic, IPANA will not hold an in person conference in April. Instead, we will be hosting Anirban Basu on April 21 followed by a webinar on polyethylene resin in June. We are hoping the Fall Conference in Chicago will proceed as planned so be sure to mark your calendars for October 19-21.
Many IPANA members joined us on March 23 for a conversation with Mr. Patrick Hedron of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The result was a lively discussion of various legal issues affecting our membership in 2021 as the new administration ramps up! Patrick Hedron is the Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel at the NAM. Mr. Hedron provided an update on OSHA enforcement and a pending Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19. He also discussed the NAM’s efforts and position on vaccination against the virus and what manufacturers should consider regarding vaccination policies.
If you missed our first webinar with Mr. Hedron, be sure to “zoom” in when we host Mr. Anirban Basu on April 21. Mr. Basu is a prominent economist based in Washington, D.C. and a highly sought after speaker who is well known as an economist with an engaging personality. His presentations are known as much for their humor as for their accuracy. Mr. Basu earned his B.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1990. He earned his Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Master’s in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Chris Lind, former Director of Technology and Regulatory Affairs at Mauser USA LLC, will be conducting two training sessions for the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). The first webinar scheduled for April 8 is entitled Steel Drums 101 and was developed by the Industrial Steel Drum Institute (ISDI). The second training is scheduled for April 15 concerning Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) 101 and was developed by the Rigid Intermediate Bulk Container Association of North America (RIBCA). Mr. Lind will be conducting the training sessions “virtually” for their members. NACD member companies process, formulate, blend, re-package, warehouse, transport, and market chemical products to over 750,000 customers. IPANA would like to thank NACD for this invitation to educate their membership base on various packaging types.
Members of the Plastic Drum Institute and Rigid Intermediate Bulk Container Association plan to meet via ZOOM on May 12. Topics to be discussed include the upcoming UN meeting in July and other pending regulatory issues. Be sure to mark your calendar now for this important Board and membership meeting. A special session featuring an invited speaker discussing PFAS issues is scheduled for all members to attend.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Office of Hazardous Materials published a new organizational chart in March. The chart reflects several changes that are deemed essential to streamline the organization. Changes include elimination of the Approvals and Permits Division and the part of this division headed by Don Burger has been moved under Shane Kelly (Standards and Rulemaking). The remaining sections that handle the administrative aspects of approvals, led by Duane Cassidy (Pressure Vessels) and Harpreet Singh (Energetic Materials), are now located in the Sciences and Engineering Division.
It is widely expected that OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19. Although OSHA missed President Biden’s March 15 deadline, it is now expected the issue date will be sometime around April 1. Meanwhile, on Friday March 12, OSHA launched a COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (“COVID-19 NEP”). The purpose was to focus the agency’s enforcement efforts on “companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the virus,” as well as identifing employers that “retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.” You can click here to read the announcement. The COVID-19 NEP is scheduled to remain in effect for up to one year from March 12 and OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule to withdraw the rule on independent contractor status that was published at the end of the Trump Administration. The rule was frozen by the Biden Administration when he took office. The rule was published January 7, 2021 and was due to take effect May 1, 2021. According to an announcement by the DOL, the rule issued under the Trump Administration significantly undermined worker protections against unfair pay practices.
The Biden Administration has indicated they would like to see action taken on PFAS substances. Recently, EPA reproposed a rule to collect new data on PFAS in drinking water and the agency reissued determinations for PFOA and PFOS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Another goal is to address PFAS chemicals in fire fighting foam and food packaging. On March 5, 2021, EPA released data concerning PFAS contamination from the fluorinated HDPE containers used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product. The agency is continuing to work with a variety of stakeholders to collect additional information on this issue. You can click here to read EPA’s press statement. You can also click here for an FAQ section on this situation.
With Biden set to release his highly touted infrastructure plan and concerns about funding, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a report that compiles the costs of initiating and operating a national vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. This study was identified as a top research priority by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee in 2020. The study concluded that replacing the federal fuel tax with a VMT tax could result in excessively high costs due to difficulties collecting the fees. In fact they estimate that collection costs alone would total more than $20 billion annually – or 300 times higher than collecting the federal fuel tax. The results are based on assessing 272 million private vehicles that travel over the road. This increased cost is due to collecting fees from each operator. You can click here to read the full report.
People, Places & Things
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and other industry leaders have issued a joint statement on the soon to be released “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act”. The stakeholders assert that this bill would “stall the industry’s environmental efforts and potentially cause widespread disruption to supply chains, daily business operations and the global response to COVID-19”. Read more by clicking here.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reports that manufacturing activity is rebounding nicely but challenges remain. Supply chains remain disrupted and raw material costs are rising. According to the NAM, “supplier deliveries were the slowest since April 1974, and the backlog of orders was the highest since January 1993.”