Chemical Industry News

Overview

Last week in our commentary we said: “give the President and the uninformed environmentalists time to watch the fires from the West Virginia train wreck continue to burn and re-think the common sense of building an environmentally safe pipeline”. Although our comment was probably not the impetus for two articles in highly respected publications as well as action taken by the House Oversight Committee, our observations were not taken lightly. Obviously, an overwhelming number of people in decision-making positions concur with our thinking. The president’s veto does not make sense. Read what they have to say.

In other news, government regulators are again displaying their lack of coordination and inefficiency with their enforcement guidelines and EPA proposals. The GOP is challenging their sensibilities or lack thereof. And the importance of the Internet to the Chemical Industry is brought to the forefront. Read on and weigh in on this week’s news of importance.

 

House GOP Investigates the President’s Keystone XL Decision
A Hill article by Timothy Cama talks about the House Oversight Committee investigating the Obama administration’s continuing review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the subsequent veto.

Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday to send him everything the State Department received from other federal agencies for its ongoing determination of whether Keystone is in the United States’ “national interest.”

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Oil Carrying Rail Cars Explode—Interest in Keystone Pipeline Heightens
According to a Forbes Magazine article by Ken Silverstein, Bakken shipments of tight oil by rail have increased because producers cannot build pipelines fast enough; the vast majority of such finds are transported by rail. Moreover, the rails currently exist whereas the regulatory process to build pipelines is meticulous.

The issue is that the rail system is not equipped to handle such huge shipments of oil. The cars carrying it are often outdated. West Virginia officials reported that 14 of the 17 tankers that were headed to Yorktown, Virginia had burned.

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The Internet of Things—The Importance to the Chemical Industry
A Manufacturing Business Technology article by Stefan Guertzgen addresses the importance of gathering and transferring data on the Internet and what it means to the Chemical Industry. In light of the latest decisions concerning net neutrality, the health and accessibility to the latest technology and fastest service is vital to the future of the industry.

According to Guertzgen, Chemical companies are investing billions of dollars in technology solutions designed to capture, process and use data generated from a myriad of devices, partners and industry systems. As companies explore what is being called the Internet of Things, they are seeing substantial return on investment in the form of equipment effectiveness, reduced quality costs, improved supply chain visibility and much more. Chemical executives that know how to successful navigate this era of big data are transforming the way business gets done, while those that lag behind are jeopardizing the future.

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The Latest Example of Government Inefficiency—GHS Enforcement
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) writer Eric R, Byer, penned a recent article that addresses the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finally releasing its new enforcement guidance for the Global Harmonization System (GHS)/Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) that takes effect on June 1, 2015. This guidance allegedly helps clarify OSHA’s enforcement discretion policy in cases where downstream members of the chemical supply chain are unable to meet the June 1, 2015 deadline to have updated safety data sheets (SDSs) and labels because they have not received information from their suppliers despite making good faith efforts to obtain the data.

OSHA finally did issue the enforcement guidance at the urging of NACD and other industry organizations after the agency denied a request for a deadline extension last fall. But with a June 1 deadline, why did it take so long for OSHA to issue its guidance document? Government efficiency at its best.

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GOP Confronts EPA Concerning Rules

Timothy Cama reported in The Hill that House Republicans used a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget to attack various regulations being pursued by the agency.

Most of the fights focused around the EPA’s proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but other regulations also got attention.

“EPA seems intent on locking in a long list of new regulations that will bind future administrations,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing of two subcommittees of the panel.

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