SACRAMENTO, CA - Major architectural-coatings manufacturers are facing the possibility of millions of dollars in additional costs for selling products in California, according to preliminary estimates related to a proposed fee program based on emissions of VOCs from those coatings.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently issued a draft document identifying the architectural-coatings manufacturers that the agency says would be subject to a proposed fee regulation being developed in response to new state legislation.

The measure, enacted as part of the state legislature's efforts to plug a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, authorized CARB to impose new fees on architectural paints, consumer products and other non-vehicular sources of air pollution. As proposed, the new fee program will affect companies whose products cause the emission of 250 tons or more per year of VOCs.

A preliminary list of coatings manufacturers that CARB says would be subject to the regulation identifies a total of 24 companies whose products reportedly emitted a total of 37,358 tons of VOCs in 2001. The figures, which have come under questioning by industry sources, would generate total fees of approximately $2 million or higher, depending on the fee rate that is set by the regulation. The CARB staff is reported to be considering a fee rate of between $50 and $85 per ton of VOC.

The list of companies is topped by The Sherwin-Williams Co. and also includes such major coatings manufacturers as Masco Corp. (the parent company of Behr Process Corp.), Dunn-Edwards Corp., Smiland Paint Co., ICI Paints, RPM Inc., Frazee Industries Inc., Kelly-Moore Paint Co. Inc., Ace Hardware Corp., Benjamin Moore & Co., PPG Industries Inc., The Valspar Corp., and several regional and specialty paint companies.

Industry representatives have voiced concerns about several aspects of the proposed fee program, including how the emissions figures are calculated, how the proposed fees will be collected, and whether the revenues generated by the program will be used in accordance with state law.

The CARB board is currently scheduled to consider a final fee-program regulation at a meeting on July 24. More information on the fee-program regulation is available on the CARB website, located at