Congress moved one step closer to enacting infrastructure legislation yesterday when Senate lawmakers voted to begin debate on the latest version of their bipartisan deal with the Biden administration, writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. While the text has not been released yet, all indications are that the plan continues to include $13 billion in new Superfund taxes on 42 chemicals, critical minerals, and metallic elements. Much of the cost will be borne by American chemistry, with likely ripple effects to businesses and consumers in the form of higher costs for goods that rely on chemistry components and increased pressure on supply chains already squeezed by the effects of the pandemic. Americans at every income level will be affected.
The Chemical Safety Board needs more members to continue its mission-related work and "[w]hile the nominees currently being considered by Congress to serve on the CSB may be accomplished in their own respective fields, they unfortunately lack the critical and necessary expertise specific to chemical manufacturing and industrial safety," writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. "Congress and the Biden administration must seek out new candidates who are well-versed in process safety, chemical facility operations and how to keep them running safely," writes Jahn.
The Surface Transportation Board must take steps to improve rail service and reduce shipping costs, and one way to achieve that is through reciprocal switching, wrote the Rail Customer Coalition, which includes the American Chemistry Council, in a letter last week. "Reciprocal switching would help empower rail customers such as farmers, manufacturers and energy providers to choose a carrier that provides the best combination of rates and service," wrote the RCC.
The House of Representatives on Thursday advanced a spending package for fiscal 2022 that includes seven of the 12 yearly appropriations bills, including Interior-Environment and Energy-Water spending measures. A stopgap funding measure may be required if House and Senate appropriators don't reach an agreement by Oct. 1 on all 12 spending bills.
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Firstar Fiber have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an integrated recycling project adjacent to Firstar's material recovery facility in Omaha, Neb. "The Alliance is supporting pioneers like Firstar in creating value for hard-to-recycle plastic at the municipal and regional level," said AEPW's Steve Sikra.
The Environmental Protection Agency is crafting a tiered Toxic Substances Control Act reporting rule that will cover three data sets and will accept public comments on the proposal through August 16, Susan Sharkey of EPA's toxics office said during a webinar on Tuesday. "The current CDR reporting requirements would be modified to provide only the basic information needed to identify potential candidate chemicals for prioritization and to fulfill other programming needs. Reporting would continue to be every four years," Sharkey said.
Royal Dutch Shell is preparing to buy back $2 billion worth of shares, citing a positive effect from chemicals and oil on its second-quarter earnings. Shell's chemical business posted a profit of $670 million for the period.
Reckitt saw sales of stain removers and intimate wellness and personal care products increase during the first half of 2021, while demand for disinfectants, including Dettol and Lysol, moderated as a result of easing lockdown restrictions and normalizing market conditions. "Nevertheless, both brands [Dettol and Lysol] are more relevant with consumers than pre-pandemic and are therefore structurally better positioned to grow into new places and new spaces in the future," Reckitt said.
Expanding inflation and supply constraints stemming from February's winter storm continue to create challenges for Axalta Coating Systems, said CEO Robert Bryant. "Constraints across the supply base have certainly been a driving factor [in Q2], including myriad force majeures," said Bryant.
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