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Akzo Nobel Chemicals

Akzo Nobel Chemical: Letter from David Gardiner to Congressman LaFalce

Honorable John J. LaFalce
United States House of Representatives
2310 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515-3220

Dear Congressman LaFalce:

Thank you for your letter of November 1, 1996, to Administrator Browner regarding EPA's decision not to approve the Project XL proposal of Akzo Nobel Chemicals, Inc. (Akzo). You expressed concerns that, without a reversal of our XL decision, Akzo would be faced with a possible shut down of its operations. I am happy to inform you that EPA has offered Akzo an alternative means to address the issues raised in its XL proposal. This will prevent the negative consequences to the facility that you outlined in your letter.

When EPA notified Akzo of our decision not to pursue its XL proposal, EPA offered Akzo options for resolving its concerns outside of the Project XL program. After careful consideration of Akzo's XL proposal, EPA determined that the unique situation involving Akzo and the Town of Newfane's POTW warranted special attention. However, because only a small number of other POTW's present circumstances such as those in Akzo's proposal, and EPA already uses a more traditional method for addressing the few cases that require an interim variance from pretreatment regulations, we determined that Akzo's XL proposal would not have broad implications for how we do business at EPA, and thus was not appropriate for the competitive and limited XL program.

As a result, Akzo has been working with our Region II Office of Water to complete the details of an enforceable and mutually acceptable agreement outside of Project XL. This agreement will allow Akzo to continue discharging to the Town of Newfane's POTW, thus avoiding any of the potential concerns you described. EPA's agreement with Akzo will continue until we complete work on broader regulatory revisions that will provide a more permanent solution to the few POTWs that face similar circumstances.

Finally, you expressed concern regarding an apparent difference of opinion between EPA Region II and EPA Headquarters. I want to assure you that the Region and Headquarters are in complete agreement on the disposition of the Akzo XL proposal and on the need to quickly address the particulars of Akzo's situation outside of the XL program.

Please feel free to contact me directly at (202) 260-4332 if you have any further questions.  Thank you for your continued support of environmental protection and of Project XL.


David Gardiner
Assistant Administrator

cc: Administrator
Deputy Administrator
Perciasepe, OW
Muszynski, Region 2
Hicks, OCLA

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