The location chosen by Regan and the EPA for the announcement was not by accident.
For more than a decade now, DPE and the federal organization have been embroiled in litigation to force DPE to reduce its chloroprene emissions in both its production processes and its storage and elimination capacities.
"Denka Performance Elastomer will review and make appropriate comments to the proposed draft announced on April 6," the firm told Rubber News April 10. "DPE's position remains to ensure the best available science is used in future regulations governing its St. John the Baptist Parish neoprene facility."
The EPA will take written comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, estimated to be by March 29, 2024.
EPA then will conduct a virtual public hearing 21 days after publication.
Facilities that make, store, use or emit ethylene oxide, chloroprene, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, ethylene dichloride or vinyl chloride would be required to monitor levels of these air pollutants entering the air at the fencelines of their facilities.
Many other chemicals are contained within the proposed rule for emissions capture, however these six chemicals are flagged for fenceline measurements.
"This powerful tool helps make sure EPA's rules deliver: if annual average air concentrations of the chemicals are higher than an action level at the fenceline, owners and operators would have to find the source and make repairs," the 444-page proposed rule states.
And the proposed inhalation unit thresholds vary depending on which of the six "focus" chemicals are being measured.
For EtO, EPA is proposing a level of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. For chloroprene (used by DPE to produce polychloroprene, or neoprene), the threshold would be 0.3 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
An emissions measurement model was developed jointly by DPE and EPA in 2021, though the EPA has not used the model, choosing instead to revert to a model developed in 2010.
"The agency has so far refused to review and incorporate the new study in its assessment of health risks related to chloroprene, despite acknowledging it provides a more accurate understanding of risk," Jorge Lavastida, DPE executive officer and plant manager in LaPlace, told Rubber News.
"We believe it is critical (that) the best available science is used to protect human health and the environment. The people of St. John the Baptist Parish deserve current and accurate scientific information regarding health risks in their community."