American Chemistry Council survey: Regulations undercut manufacturing and national priorities

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According to a new survey from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the regulatory burden on chemical manufacturers in the United States is harming national priorities and industry expansion.

The survey of 58 chemical manufacturers found that 86 percent of respondents felt regulatory burdens have risen, particularly at the federal level, and that they expect the volume of regulations to rise even more.

“The results of this survey should serve as a wakeup call to policymakers. Unless the Biden Administration takes a different approach to how it creates and implements regulations, the availability of critical chemistries will dwindle – and the country’s climate, infrastructure and supply chain priorities will suffer as well,” Chris Jahn, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, said. “It’s quite simple – America’s success depends on American chemistry.”

Companies reported that the regulations placed on chemical producers were affecting their ability to help the federal government meet its priorities. Sixty-seven percent of companies reported regulations are putting their ability to manufacture critical chemistries and would impact the clean energy goals of the Biden Administration, while 57 percent said it would impact the manufacturing of semiconductors and 56 percent said it would impact the biotechnology/biomanufacturing industries.

Additionally, 65 percent of companies said they have been negatively impacted by government delays in making regulatory decisions or acting on a permit, license or product approval. Another 12 percent said the regulatory climate has led to company decisions not to expand their U.S. operations.

An earlier survey of ACC members found that the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Chemicals Program was stifling U.S. innovation. In that survey, 70 percent of companies opted to introduce new chemicals outside of the U.S. because of uncertainties with the EPA’s program.

“Chemical manufacturing is the most heavily regulated subsector of manufacturing, and the volume of regulations has doubled in the past 20 years,” Jahn said. “America must not fall into the same deindustrialization trap as Europe or be held back from competing with countries like China when it comes to creating new chemistries and the products and technologies that come with it.”