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  Legislative Feature

ASA Partners with EPA Collision Repair Campaign

Posted 10/1/2008
By Robert L. Redding, Jr.

The campaign, which ASA supports, is aimed at drastically reducing auto body emissions and significantly reducing human and environmental exposure to air toxics from auto body shops.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Collision Repair Campaign is in full swing. The U.S. EPA published its final auto refinishing regulation Jan. 9, 2008. Although the Collision Repair Campaign includes more issues than the auto refinishing regulation, the new regulation is certainly an essential piece to the campaign.

The EPA defines the Collision Repair Campaign as an effort to address health threats through a two-year campaign to drastically reduce auto body emissions at the national level. Each EPA regional office will strive to significantly reduce human and environmental exposure to air toxics from auto body shops.

Why would the EPA select the collision repair industry?

• A number of communities have identified these shops as an environmental and health concern, hence the number of efforts across the United States to address this issue.

• These shops are widespread in nature and tend to be clustered in minority, immigrant and low-income neighborhoods.

• Many of these shops are not in compliance with existing occupational and environmental regulations.

• Many of these shops are small businesses and don't often use standard methods for auto body repair and painting, and they do not comply with accepted industry practices or current control technologies.

What are the goals of the campaign?

• To reduce the negative environmental and health impacts on employees and surrounding communities by reducing hazardous air pollutants (HAPs, also known as air toxics), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter (PM) emissions.

• To provide training, technical assistance and outreach to local communities and shop owners about established best management and pollution prevention practices.

• To provide information about the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources Rule and encourage early compliance.

To promote the campaign, the EPA has developed a brief DVD starring NASCAR's Jeff Gordon. The DVD will be available for the collision industry prior to the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) 2008.

The EPA has held several educational courses around the country. Topics for the courses have included:

• Hazardous Air Pollutants

• Best Management Practices and Technologies

• Potential Exposures and Emissions

• Auto Refinishing Regulation

• Health and Safety Management

The Automotive Service Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association have been meeting with the EPA to discuss how independent and franchised new car dealer repair shops can work with the EPA to ensure repairers have the information necessary to comply with the new auto refinishing regulation and other important government regulations.

The EPA will attend NACE and provide information relative to the campaign to attendees and the media.

Of particular importance to collision repairers is the auto refinishing regulation. Equipment and training requirements are key components of the regulation. ASA has provided a summary of the regulation on its Web site. Log in to the members only section of www.ASAshop.org and click on "Collision Division Tools" to download ASA's Paint Regulation Compliance Summary.

For existing shops, the compliance date is Jan. 8, 2011. For new shops that have opened after Jan. 8, 2008, they must be in compliance immediately. The auto refinishing regulation has received a great deal of attention from the industry as well as community organizations. As the compliance date nears for existing shops, expectations for adequate training and required equipment such as a spray booth will be a necessity to operate a collision repair facility.

The EPA has been very clear that the regulation will be enforced and expectations are that collision repairers will comply with both the equipment and training requirements. ASA is most interested in collision repairers having the necessary information and access to training to comply with the regulation. In addition, there are several environmental areas that the EPA is encouraging repairers to be aware of that are part of the campaign's educational efforts; i.e., respirator protection.

To learn more about the campaign, please visit the EPA's Collision Repair Campaign Web site at http://www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/community/collision.html.

Bob Redding Bob Redding is the Automotive Service Association's Washington, D.C., representative. He is a member of several federal and state advisory committees involved in the automotive industry.

For more information about the legislative activities of ASA, visit www.TakingTheHill.com.


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