WASHINGTON -- An appeals panel in Delaware has rejected an NPCA petition seeking the repeal of a recently enacted VOC rule on architectural and industrial maintenance (AIM) coatings in that state, the NPCA reported.

At a hearing in January conducted by the Delaware Environmental Appeals Board, the NPCA had argued that the rule would “effectively ban” numerous coatings products manufactured for sale in the state.

Under the Delaware regulation, coatings manufacturers will be required to meet sharply lower VOC limits on a number of architectural and industrial maintenance coatings categories beginning on Jan. 1, 2005.

Delaware is the first member state of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), a group of 12 Mid-Atlantic and northeastern states and the District of Columbia, to adopt a proposed AIM VOC regulation developed by the OTC. The states of New York and Pennsylvania also have issued informal drafts of a VOC regulation that are essentially identical to the Delaware rule.

The NPCA says the OTC regulation is more stringent than the national VOC rule enacted several years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency. Representatives of the NPCA and several coatings companies had urged the Delaware appeals board to consider an alternative regulation that would provide substantial VOC-emission reductions but allow less-stringent VOC limits for several key types of coatings products. The NPCA proposal also called for the adoption of a VOC-averaging provision that would provide greater compliance flexibility.

More information on the regulation can be obtained from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control website located at www.dnrec.state.de.us/air/aqm_page/regs.htm, under Regulation 41, “Limiting Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products.”