The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a direct final rule to extend the compliance dates in the final Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, published in the Federal Register December 12, 2016. Compliance dates would be extended for: (1) formaldehyde emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions until March 22, 2018; (2) import certification provisions until March 22, 2019; and (3) laminated product producer provisions until March 22, 2024. Note that laminated product producers would still be required to comply with applicable fabricator provisions beginning March 22, 2018. Additionally, the direct final rule would extend the California Air Resources Board Third-Party Certifiers transitional period until March 22, 2019.
To save time in the event that the EPA receives an adverse comment on the direct final rule and must publish a proposal, the EPA is also publishing a companion Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the action to extend the compliance dates. If the EPA receives no adverse comment on the direct final rule or proposed rule, then the agency will take no further action on the proposed rule and the direct final rule will become effective. If the EPA receives relevant, adverse comment, then the agency will withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with the proposed rule through the normal rulemaking process. Both direct final and proposed rules are scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on May 24, 2017.
In the near future, the agency plans to issue a direct final rule to remove 40 CFR 770.45(f) to allow early labeling of compliant composite wood products as soon as compliance can be achieved. This will reduce the unnecessary burden for panel producers, fabricators, distributors and retailers who want to roll out compliant inventory prior to the rule’s compliance date. Another direct final rule will update several voluntary consensus standards referenced in the final rule.