Mossville group applauds EPA decision to reconsider ruling

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

MOSSVILLE — Environmental activists are

cautiously optimistic about their chances of persuading the U.S.

Environmental Protection

Agency to apply more stringent emissions rules to chemical plants

that produce polyvinyl chloride.

On Sept. 28, the EPA announced that it

would reconsider its April ruling for the National Emission Standards

for Hazardous

Air Pollutants for Polyvinyl Chloride and Copolymers Production on

the basis of “petitioners’ claims that the public was not

afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment on emission limits in

the final rule for process vents, process wastewater and

stripped resin for major and area sources,” as stated in a letter

forwarded to Saint-Gobain (the company that owns CertainTeed

Polymer on Pete Manena Road in Westlake), PolyOne Corp., based in

Ohio, and the Vinyl Institute.

The government’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of several environmental advocacy groups in Washington,

D.C., in June and a separate petition requesting another review of the standards.

Dorthy Felix, president of Mossville Environmental Action Now, applauded the government’s decision.

“This is a step forward for a better

national decision that will protect communities like Mossville. We hope

that EPA administrator

Lisa Jackson will be strong in her decision-making to consider

that PVC has, will and is destroying many lives in communities,”

she said.

MEAN joined with Earthjustice, Air

Alliance Houston, the Sierra Club and the Louisiana Environmental Action

Network in the

lawsuits and petition. The organizations have argued that the

standards set by the EPA to govern 17 vinyl-producing facilities

do not go far enough to limit emissions.

Activists from Mossville and Deer Park,

Texas, are the central players in the lawsuit and petition. Those

groups believe the

EPA rules allow CertainTeed in Westlake and OxyVinyl in Deer Park

to emit more toxic chemicals into the air than allowed at

other PVC plants.

“Just to have them reconsider is good for us. This is something that seems to be headed in our favor. When they collect data,

we hope they just don’t use information from CertainTeed,” Felix said.

Emma Cheuse, an attorney with Earthjustice, said members of the public need to communicate with the EPA and encourage it to

consider the health of Mossville residents.

“We are very hopeful, because of concerns raised, that EPA will do a much better job to protect communities,” she said.

She characterized the government’s decision to reconsider its ruling as “a win.”

What process the EPA will use during its time to reconsider its rules has not been announced.

“But we do expect the EPA to take time to re-evaluate. They will then issue a new ruling and take public comment on that,”

Cheuse said.