BREAKING NEWS: Federal lawsuit targets EPA enforcement of PVC makers.

Tryve Brackin

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was the target of a federal lawsuit filed yesterday concerning the enforcement of air regulations on chemical plants producing polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

The suit was filed by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. The law firm represents the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Mossville Environmental Action Now, and the Sierra Club.

The lawsuit claims the EPA has yet to meet requirements to regulate PVC plant emissions that were set out in the Clean Air Act of 1990. The act requires new control technology to be used in reducing air pollution that might come from chemical industrial plants.

There are seven PVC plants in Louisiana. Two are in Iberville Parish and a third is near the West Baton Rouge Parish-Iberville Parish border. Shintech and Georiga Gulf PVC plants are located in Iberville, while Shintech has another PVC plant in the Addis area. Georgia Gulf has a PVC plant in Westlake. Westlake Vinyls is located across the Mississippi River in Geismer, La.

Earthjustice, in the lawsuit, said the EPA had done nothing to change standards set in 2002. In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out the standards set in 2002 and requested the EPA to rework their standards.

A spokesperson for the Vinyl Institute, a trade association, commented publically the 2004 court decision was more concerned with the fact the EPA used the vinyl chloride standard as an example for other related emissions and not particularly for vinyl chloride itself; and the regulations set forth in 2002 were clearly made to protect public health and followed the directive of the Clean Air Act of 1990.