U.S. Court of Appeals Blocks Implementation of WOTUS Rule

A federal appeals court in October blocked EPA from enforcing one of the agency’s most controversial rules in years – the “Waters of U.S.” or WOTUS regulation. The decision effectively halts the enforcement of the rule until it gets additional review by the federal courts.

EPA and the Corps of Engineers earlier issued a final rule on June 29, 2015, an action that U.S. industry and agriculture leaders argued would dramatically expand federal jurisdiction over waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Thirty states, over 20 industry and agricultural groups, and environmental groups filed legal challenges to the final rule. In addition, several legislative proposals are pending in Congress to restrict or halt EPA’s action in the final rule.

On the legal front, lawsuits have been filed to challenge the Rule in both federal district courts and the federal circuit courts of appeal. The rule had already been blocked in 13 states by a federal district court, but there has been uncertainty under the CWA about whether the challenges should be heard in the federal district courts or federal circuit courts. Therefore, while the 6th Circuit federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay of enforcement of the rule, the stay is granted “pending determination of [the court’s] jurisdiction.” The court anticipates issuing a decision on the jurisdictional matter soon.

In sum, the October decision concluded that the challengers, a group of 18 states, were unlikely to face immediate irreparable harm from the rule, but there was also no evidence that the nation’s waters would suffer “imminent injury” if the regulation was put on hold. “A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of executive power … is proper under the dictates of federal law,” the court said in its majority opinion.

In the interim, the rule is stayed nationwide pending further consideration from the federal courts. Even is the rule is permanently stayed or overturned, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would have an opportunity to address the concerns raised by the courts and reissue a revised rule.

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation | Tagged ,

EPA Issues Electronic Reporting Rule for Wastewater Discharges

EPA has just finalized a new electronic reporting system for industrial wastewater dischargers. On October 22, 2015, the agency formally issued its national Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) electronic reporting rule.

The rule requires electronic reporting in lieu of paper filing will be effective on December 21, 2015. Click here for a copy of the final rule. A fact sheet is also available.

The electronic reporting requirements apply to:

  • NPDES-permitted facilities,
  • facilities covered under NPDES general permits,
  • industrial users discharging to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) without approved
  • local pretreatment programs,
  • state, territorial and tribal NPDES programs, and
  • federal facilities with NPDES permits.

Within one year of the effective date (i.e., by December 21, 2016) NPDES regulated entities that are required to submit Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) must do so electronically. In addition, authorized NPDES programs must start electronically transmitting to EPA their state performance data by December 21, 2016. Within five years of the effective date, authorized NPDES programs must begin electronically collecting, managing and sharing all reports, data and other information from regulated entities.

Does Your Company Discharge to a Local Wastewater Treatment Plant?

The new electronic reporting requirements do not specifically apply to industrial users that discharge to POTWs with approved local pretreatment programs (which generally includes most surface finishing operations). Electronic reporting will eventually be required for these industrial users because POTWs must collect, manage and submit their information to EPA and will most likely require all industrial users to submit information to POTWs electronically.

EPA is providing flexibility for facilities and authorized NPDES programs to implement the electronic reporting requirements, including the use of: (1) an EPA electronic reporting tool, (2) a tool developed by an authorized state NPDES program, and (3) tools developed by third-party vendors that meet the requirements of the rule. EPA estimates that the electronic reporting rule will help streamline the permitting process, make reporting easier, provide better data and save authorized state NPDES programs over 22 million dollars annually.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the EPA’s new electronic reporting rule for NPDES regulated entities, please contact jeff Hannapel with NASF at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.

Posted in Law & Regulation | Tagged ,

Exhibition Space at NASF SUR/FIN is on Track for an Early Sell-out

Exhibition space at the NASF SUR/FIN Manufacturing & Technology Trade Show & Conference is now almost sold out, with only the last few remaining booths available.

The event, which returns to Las Vegas June 6-8, 2016, provides exhibitors with a unique opportunity to meet customers from throughout North American and the world. Industry suppliers know important it is to reach the right decision makers, and this annual three day conference has earned high marks for delivering that and more.

“There was a great deal of enthusiasm generated from last year’s show with over 88% of attendees stating they would recommend SUR/FIN to their colleagues”, states SUR/FIN 2016 Chairman, Mark Norton. “The inaugural ‘Boot Camp’ was quite successful and we believe this, as well as the exceptional conference sessions are the best indication of the success we aim to build on.” If your company is interested in exhibiting at this year’s SUR/FIN, we encourage you to act quickly. Space will sell out this year. Contact Cheryl Clark, Director of Events at Cclark@nasf.org or visit NASFsurfin.com.

Posted in Events | Tagged

NASF Joins 65 Industry Associations in Coalition Opposing New OSHA Rule

In a major industry response to OSHA’s effort to expand its authority, the NASF joined several dozen major U.S. trade associations this month in opposing the agency’s proposed Volks rulemaking.

The proposed rule would reverse a major U.S. Court of Appeals decision, which held that OSHA – under its own statute – can only issue a citation for a recordkeeping violation within a six month window from the occurrence of a workplace injury, not the 5-year period during which an employer must maintain records as OSHA has claimed.

The comments criticize OSHA’s policy stance and legal reasoning behind the rulemaking, endorse the federal court’s decision, argue that OSHA is not permitted to reverse a court decision on statutory language through a rulemaking, and call for OSHA to withdraw this rulemaking.

See the Coalition for Workplace Safety comments on here.

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation

Bright Design Challenge: Fall Midterm Presentations

On October 27, eighteen talented students from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, presented midterm presentations for the Bright Design Challenge. This year boasts the most students by far participating in the Fall Challenge. Each project presented showed the ingenuity and talent of this year’s participants. Judging, though never easy, will be exceptionally difficult as all projects are extremely marketable and creative.

We are looking forward to the Final Presentations on December 8. Winners will be announced mid December. Visit Brightdesign.NASF.org for more information and check back soon for updates.

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Posted in Education, Events

MINASF Lansing Summit

The Michigan Chapter of NASF (MINASF) is hosting their annual Lansing Summit on Monday, November 2, 2015 at the State Bar of Michigan in Lansing, Michigan. This important event will focus on current topics affecting the industry on both a local and national level. Registration is still available.

Speakers include:
Dan Wyant – Director of DEQ
Senator Mike Kowall – Senate Majority Floor Leader
Skiles Boyd – Vice President of Environmental Management & Resources for DTE Energy
Bryce Feighner – Chief of Waste Management for DEQ

Visit the MINASF Events page for further details. Contact Erin Burns erin@minasf.org with any questions and to register.

Posted in Events, Government Relations, NASF Chapters

California Concludes Successful Fall Outing

The 2015 Metal Finishers of both Southern and Northern California Fall Outing was held last weekend at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa in Monterey, California. The weekend proved to be a great success with a great crowd, numerous networking sessions with key industry leaders, and evenings full of entertainment. For more information on the West Coast Chapters’ Fall Outing click here.

Posted in Events | Tagged , ,

New Member Welcome – September 2015

In September NASF welcomed 47 new and renewing members into the organization. To find out how your company can join the following industry leaders in supporting a sustainable future, click here.

Supplier Members
Anchor Chemicals Industries
B&P Plating Equipment, LLC
Bruker
Caplugs
EPSI
Fein PowerTools
Fraunhofer-Institut/IPA
Galvanotech
Gannon & Scott
GPR Wet Process
Hanna Instrumental USA
Hawkins Surface Finishing Group
Intelligent Heater LLC
Join Expert Machinery (Shenzhen) Co
M & Y Environmental Engineering, Inc.
MBA Manufacturing
Micro-Surface Finishing Products Inc.
Nathan Trotter and Co. Inc.
Newact, Inc.
Precious Metal Sales
Process and Water
Progalvano
Rust911 Inc
Shima American Corp
Siebec
Simtech Industrial Products
Smart Water Group, LLC
Specialty Plastics, Inc.
Trion Coatings, LLC
Vanaire
Votorantim US
Warco Inc.
Witt Lining Systems

Job Shops
Aerospace Aluminum Processing
B & W Plating
Bolta US
CMP Anodizing
Electro-Max
Elite Metal Finishing
E/M Coating Services
Microfinish
Milport
Modern Plating Corporation
NASMYTH
Precision Coating Logistics
Sterling Electro Plating
Williams Plating Company

Posted in New Members