June 29, 2023

As the president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council representing chemical manufacturers in Pennsylvania, we are asking members of Congress to support legislation to reauthorize the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) before the program expires on July 27th, 2023.

Our members are a critical sector of Pennsylvania’s economy and are essential to making the chemicals and products that make everyday life possible. They are leading the charge to advance new innovations with a focus on sustainability, circularity, and aggressive carbon reduction goals while continuing to prioritize the safety of the industry, its workers, and the communities where they operate. This is why we are urging Congress to pass a long-term authorization of this critical CFATS program. Securing the future of CFATS will help provide the regulatory stability and certainty needed for companies to continue to make sound financial decisions and capital investments in safeguarding their facilities.

CFATS provides a strong yet flexible approach by setting a consistent national standard. Under CFATS, companies must develop and submit security plans to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for approval. The program establishes practical security performance standards to address a wide range of potential threat scenarios, including a physical attack, theft and diversion, and cyberattacks. The standards allow facilities to tailor their approach to address unique security risks and they are adaptable to help address emerging threats.

CFATS has a solid 15-year regulatory history, and the program has delivered solid results. According to a recent analysis by the DHS, security measures at CFATS-regulated facilities have increased by 60%. As a result, communities across our state are safer. This program is vital to national security and should not be allowed to expire. CFATS has been reauthorized by Congress four times with strong bipartisan support and this time should be no different. Recently, U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced bipartisan legislation to extend this critical program. We urge Congress to support a long-term reauthorization for CFATS.  

State Business Groups Urge EPA to Speed Up Permitting for Carbon Capture Projects

Letter adds to growing, bipartisan efforts to streamline permitting backlog at EPA for carbon storage projects and address delays in processing state primacy applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry joined seven business groups representing a diverse cross-section of industry in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico in sending a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan calling for the expeditious approval of state primacy applications for Class VI injection wells. In addition to the PA Chamber, the groups include the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council; Chemical Industry Council of Illinois; Illinois Manufacturers’ Association; New Mexico Chamber of Commerce; Texas Economic Development Council; Greater Houston Partnership; and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.

While carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a technology that would help reduce emissions from hard-to-abate industries and spur economic growth, has been given full support from the Biden Administration, the permitting process for CO2 injection wells, also known as Class VI wells, has been stagnant since the Inflation Reduction Act was approved. Similarly, states requesting primacy over Class VI wells permitting have faced significant delays in their applications before the EPA, despite its ability to speed up the deployment of CCS.

“As organizations representing tens of thousands of businesses in our states, we’re continuously hearing that our members want to innovate and invest in carbon capture and sequestration – but that can’t happen unless the permitting backlog at the EPA is addressed,” said Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the PA Chamber. “We appreciate the Biden Administration’s public declarations and funding commitments to support the growing CCS industry. Now, it’s time to put those words into action, approve primacy applications for Class VI injection wells, and deliver the economic and emission reduction opportunities that will come with it.”

“PCIC members play a critical role in every aspect of modern life while bringing innovative sustainable solutions that benefit our environment,” added Steven Kratz, President of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council. “Advancing investments in hydrogen and carbon capture technology is an opportunity for industry and regulators to find common ground to achieve a mutually desired energy future.”

Key excerpts from the letter include:

  • “Our members are collectively pursuing billions of dollars in new investments in carbon capture and sequestration, which will provide secure, good-paying jobs and generate new revenue streams for communities across the country.”
  • “We join the growing, bipartisan chorus of stakeholders and policymakers who are calling attention to this lack of movement that is obstructing needed investments in CCS.”
  • “Certainty and predictability are key factors businesses and producers need to make definitive investments in CCS technology, and that starts with a reasonable timeline for primacy and permitting decisions.”
  • “Without immediate improvement, the current Class VI permitting timeline will continue to serve as a barrier to meeting emission reduction goals – including the ones the Biden Administration has set – while discouraging much-needed infrastructure investments across the country.”

You can read the full letter here.

Today’s letter adds to the growing bipartisan calls for the EPA to address this concern. Earlier this month business groups and trade organizations in Louisiana also sent a letter to EPA asking for answers on their state’s primacy application, which was submitted more than 500 days ago, while Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards sent a similar letter expressing frustration on the delay’s effect in stunting investment in the state.

We can do better to recycle more: Our members are proving it 

Environmental stewardship and sustainability aren’t routinely spoken in the same breath as the plastics and chemicals industries in general circles. But as members of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council (PCIC) are proving, they should be.  Our industry is leading the charge with innovations in circular manufacturing, production, and advanced recycling to create a more sustainable, energy-efficient future.

The concept of recycling is a noble cause. The challenge is that around 10% of the plastics we throw in our recycling bins at home actually end up being recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, burned in incinerators, or worse. And in some instances, Pennsylvanians don’t have a viable option to recycle at all. However, the issue isn’t with plastics, it's how we manage plastic waste. We need to take a hard look at modernizing Pennsylvania’s recycling laws. 

The hard truth for many is that calls to ban all plastics are misguided and, frankly, not grounded in reality. Chemicals and plastics are indispensable to modern life. Chemistry is essential for nearly every medical and healthcare product we use, ranging from life-saving equipment and infection-protection materials to PPE, disinfectants and sanitizers, and pharmaceutical ingredients. Harnessing renewable energy sources, building more fuel-efficient cars, and designing energy-smart buildings, all rely on chemicals and plastics. It’s also necessary for food packaging and preservation, electronics, clothing, and much more.

We all depend upon plastics in our daily lives, but the challenge of plastic waste is growing. Long-proven advanced recycling technologies, which only recently became economically viable, transform plastics into base materials that can be used to create new products, fuels, and materials. This includes new advances to tackle hard-to-recycle plastics.  

In 2020, Pennsylvania passed advanced recycling legislation, which positioned the commonwealth as a leader among states in this burgeoning nationwide industry. This legislation is a great start and we are already seeing it yield positive results. In fact, many of our members are ahead of the curve in establishing aggressive goals to use recycled chemicals as inputs for making new products and we are starting to see announced investments in advanced recycling manufacturing facilities statewide.

While the bipartisan advanced recycling legislation was a foundational step, there is still more work to do. For instance, a lot has changed since 1988, when Pennsylvania’s recycling law, Act 101, was passed. It’s time for Pennsylvania’s leaders to take a hard look at modernizing how the Commonwealth and its municipalities are tackling recycling. This will be a challenge, but the alternative of continuing the status quo is no longer a viable option.

Our PCIC members prove each and every day that balancing environmental stewardship and economic growth through investment, technology, and innovation is not only possible, it’s happening. 

We look forward to working with Pennsylvania leaders to advance positive changes to increase recycling opportunities and tackle our plastic waste challenges.

Steven Kratz, President
Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council


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