February 23, 2004 -- In 2003, the five counties surrounding Austin (Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson) reached ozone non-attainment and entered into an “Early Action Compact” with the EPA. This program would allow cities and/or regions to start the process of planning compliance with the new eight-hour ozone standard and have the programs in place by next year. Fortunately, for the industry, PIA-MidAmerica took an early stance on behalf of the industry. Consequently, various restrictions on the use of inks, solvents, and alcohol solutions were avoided for the near future.
“We have always taken a proactive approach in working with our Texas regulators,” stated PIA-MidAmerica’s president, Joe Polanco. “Since the passing of the 1990 Clean Air Act, we have worked with the state’s regulators to find approaches which benefited the community as well as the printing industry. Because of this open approach, our industry has been able to make changes to reduce emissions without having an acrimonious situation between the regulators and the industry. This history allowed us to work with the Austin Clean Air Coalition and provide information that showed that the Austin print community would not be a major source of volatile organic compounds.”
Regardless, in order to develop a variety of voluntary guidelines as well as better information on low VOC solvents and blanket washes, several Austin companies have taken a lead and are in a voluntary program directed by the Association. Capital Printing, Communication Specialists, Copy Craft, Lithoprint, and The Whitley Company have all joined in this unique effort to improve the industry’s regulatory compliance and take a leadership role in improving their community’s clean air. Printer’s Service (PRISCO), a supplier of pressroom chemistry is also part of the voluntary program.
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