Coatings World: January 2013
California led the regulatory charge this past year by proposing a ban on copper in pleasure craft coatings (Senate Bill 623), while simultaneously initiating a re-evaluation of cooper as an approved biocide in antifouling coatings (Department of Pesticide Regulations). In September 2011, the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) released a draft proposal to control biofouling on ships hulls entering California ports.
The California State Lands Commission (CSLC), operating under a statutory directive from the state Legislature to establish regulations "governing the management of hull fouling on vessels arriving at a California port or place" and "based on the best available technology economically achievable," proposed a biofouling rule for all ships greater than 300 gross tons that carry ballast water entering California ports. Released in September 2011, the proposal mandated "performance standards" with a ranking system to determine if a ship's hull is clean enough to enter California waters. The CSLC biofouling rule was akin to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) "Guidelines for Control and Management of Ships' Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species," which were adopted as an IMO Resolution on July 15, 2011 and were largely supported by the U.S. paint and coatings industry. However, the California proposal deviates significantly from the IMO guidelines in that it mandates the "performance standards" with a ranking system. Because of the difficulty in interpreting such a subjective scale, coupled with the fact that antifouling paints have never been subjected to such a system, the IMO did not incorporate performance standards into the international guidelines. The U.S. marine coatings industry, through ACA, commented on multiple drafts of the proposal, urging CSLC to delete the performance standards from its proposal and, instead, confine its provisions to those in the IMO guidelines. The U.S. marine coatings industry believes that, due to the international nature of shipping and in order to maintain a level playing field in the highly competitive marine industry (in 2010, U.S. shipments of marine coatings, including original equipment manufacturer and refinish applications, totalled 13.9 million gallons valued at $430 million), biofouling standards should be adopted consistently across the globe. The U.S. marine coatings industry maintains that vessels following the IMO guidelines that enter California waters will present a low risk for translocation of invasive species into California waters. California law requires that rules such as the biofouling rule be promulgated within a year. CSLC did not include the issue on the August or October agenda and therefore will need to begin the rulemaking process anew.
Control Technique Guideline (CTG) for Pleasure Craft Coatings
The pleasure craft CTG continues to inhibit the marine coatings industry as it is adopted in a patchwork fashion across the 50 states and local air districts. The PC CTG was finalized by the EPA in 2008 with little- to-no input from industry and is based on the South Coast Air Quality District's rule 1106.1. Because of the lack of consultation with coatings experts, the VOC levels of certain categories and the definitions provided in the CTG are problematic. Additionally, there is at least one crucial coating category that was not included in the PC CTG. Over the last several years the American Coatings Association has been lobbying individual states to modify their PC CTG (after all, the CTG only offers guidance to the states) to include the more realistic VOC levels, as well as adding the Antifouling Sealer/Tie Coat category, among other things. While some states are amending EPA's recommendations, others are adopting the CTG "as is." This is creating confusion not only within the manufacturing world — having to create different formulas for different jurisdictions — but also with customers. This year Maryland adopted a version of the PC CTG and Maine has just begun the rulemaking process to adopt the CTG. New York and Pennsylvania are expected to follow suit in the coming year.