WASHINGTON— Chief Counsel for Advocacy Jere W. Glover applauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for withdrawing a rule and saving the industrial laundries industry about $103 million annually. The EPA withdrawal is based on information that toxic discharges from the industrial laundries industry did not warrant national regulations—an argument that the Office of Advocacy and industry representatives had presented to the EPA.
"The Office of Advocacy congratulates the EPA for giving small business representatives of the laundries industry a true voice in this rulemaking process," said Chief Counsel Glover.
In 1997, the EPA had proposed to require pretreatment of some wastewaters from industrial laundries prior to discharge to municipal wastewater treatment facilities. On July 1, 1999, the EPA announced that it would not impose national clean water standards on the industrial laundries industry. This industry is composed of 1,700 facilities—almost entirely owned by small businesses. It was originally identified as a significant source of hazardous waste solvents that warranted regulation under the Clean Water Act.
The EPA’s withdrawal of the rule comes after the agency reviewed new information regarding the volume and toxicity of the discharges, which led the agency to the conclusion that industrial laundry discharges are not a national problem warranting national regulation. The EPA stated in its announcement that wastewater treatment facilities are able to handle these wastes and that any local problems can be resolved by local pretreatment authorities.
This rulemaking was the subject of a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA). Prior to the publication of the EPA proposal in 1997, small business laundry owners and small business trade association representatives provided advice to a federal panel of officials from the EPA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Advocacy.
"The process has worked," said Glover. "Without the input from the small business representatives and the SBREFA panel process, the EPA may not have learned the entire story about the industrial discharges and the lack of adverse environmental effects. The agency’s withdrawal of this rulemaking demonstrates the value of the SBREFA panel process. This result validates the good work of Congress in crafting the SBREFA panels in the 1996 law."
The EPA has also accepted a proposal from the industrial laundries industry to work together to launch a strong, voluntary pollution prevention program that includes working with the industry’s customers to encourage further pollution prevention efforts.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy was created by an act of Congress in 1976 to protect, strengthen and effectively represent the nation’s small businesses within the federal government’s legislative and rulemaking processes. For additional information, contact Kevin Bromberg, advocate for environmental policy, at (202) 205-6533, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For access to small business statistics and research, visit the Office of Advocacy’s home page at http://archive.sba.gov/ADVO/