News | July 20, 2005

EPA Proposes Plywood / Composite Wood Air Toxics Rule Amendments

Washington, D.C. — EPA will reopen for public comment certain aspects of its final air toxics regulation for the plywood and composite wood products industry. The agency is taking this action in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Integrity Project. In a separate but related action, EPA is proposing amendments to the air toxics standards for the plywood and composite wood products industry that will streamline requirements for demonstrating that an individual facility poses a low risk to public health.

The environmental groups' petition asks for reconsideration of nine aspects of the final rule and requests a stay of the risk-based compliance alternatives which allow facilities to meet requirements by demonstrating that their emissions have a minimal impact on human health. Although EPA is not granting the petitioners' request for a stay, the agency will provide a 45-day comment period on the nine aspects of the petition with the reconsideration notice's publication in the Federal Register. For more information on the reconsideration, visit:

Separately, EPA is proposing changes to the rule that would allow facilities to use approved emissions estimates rather than conducting emissions tests for some hard-to-test units, and would extend the deadline for submitting demonstrations that facilities are low risk. The amendments will not affect the impact of the standards.

EPA issued the final air toxics rule for the plywood and composite wood products industry in July 2004. Air toxics are pollutants known, or suspected, to cause cancer or other serious health effects. Since 1990, EPA has issued 96 standards covering emissions from 174 industry source categories. By 2007, these rules will eliminate 1.7 million tons of air toxics every year.

EPA estimates that the July 2004 final rule will reduce air toxics emissions from the manufacturing of plywood and composite wood products by 11,000 tons per year, a 58 percent decrease from 1997 levels. The final rule also will reduce volatile organic compound emissions by 27,000 tons per year, a 52 percent decrease from 1997 levels.

The plywood and composite wood products industry manufactures plywood and veneer, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, hardboard, fiberboard, oriented strandboard and engineered wood products. For more information on the proposed amendments, visit:

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency