NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

SEPP: Recent EPA Decisions Are Anti-Recycling

April 15, 1998

Several recent actions by the Environmental Protection Agency seem to lack any rationale, according to observers.

For example, an Oklahoma recycling concern decided to recycle the chlorofluorocarbons in asthma inhalers. But it was stopped when the EPA decided the inhalers should be incinerated -- which, of course, would release the CFCs into the atmosphere. There was no notice about any EPA anti-recycling rule to the public or any chance for public comment.

In another case, now before the courts, the Hoechst Chemical Corporation is fighting what critics find is a very strange EPA policy.

  • A Hoechst plant in South Carolina recycles benzene many times over in its manufacturing processes.
  • Since the recycling allows the plant to use up less than 1,000 tons of benzene a year, the plant is legally exempt from the EPA's benzene emission standard.
  • But the EPA now claims that "use" must be determined by counting the same benzene over and over again as it recycles throughout the plant.

Critics say that under EPA "logic," a car's use of oil -- even if none of it leaks or is burned up -- would be six quarts times the number of times the oil circulates through the engine in a year.

Source: S. Fred Singer (Science & Environmental Policy Project), "Picking Up the Tab of Regulation," Washington Times, April 15, 1998.


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