ACA Urges Washington Legislature to Amend Copper Antifouling Bill

Earlier this month, ACA urged the Washington State Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and House Environment & Energy Committee to amend a bill pertaining to copper-based antifouling paints on recreational water vessels. In a letter to both committees, ACA urged lawmakers to add a provision to Senate Bill 6210 and companion House Bill 2385 requiring the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) to take further investigative action by completing another study and convening a stakeholder advisory committee to review the state of science, fully understand potential alternatives, and examine environmental tradeoffs and any potential unintended impacts of a ban on the use of copper in antifouling paints for recreational vessels.

ACA also recommended that this study be completed by 2025 at the latest to allow for stakeholder engagement.

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 70.300.020 – Restrictions on Sale and Application of Antifouling Paint Containing Copper bans the manufacture, sale, and distribution of new recreational vessels with copper-based antifouling paint beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. However, DOE recently submitted a report and recommendations to the Washington State Legislature — to be considered during the 2020 legislative session — that would delay this ban until Jan.1, 2026.

ACA agrees with DOE’s assessment to delay the ban of the use of copper in antifouling paints for an extended period. Due to the lack of available science, DOE reported that no new sufficient information changed its previous conclusion that copper-based paints may be safer than at least some of the alternative products. However, ACA does not believe a total ban on copper is the best or final solution for recreational vessel owners in the State of Washington.

If the Washington Legislature heeds ACA’s suggestion that DOE undertake further study of the issue, ACA hopes to actively participate and provide any necessary information to DOE to ensure the final report includes all available science, environmental modeling, and performance data.

Notably, Washington’s 2020 legislative session is a short one: just 60 days.

While the bill is being considered by the Legislature, state resources will not be dedicated to enforcement. If the Legislature chooses to leave the ban in place, state officials have indicated they will “reprioritize and start enforcing the ban as needed and as resources permit.”


In 2011, the Washington State Legislature passed RCW 70.300.020 – Restrictions on Sale and Application of Antifouling Paint Containing Copper, to phase out the use of copper-based antifouling paints on recreational boats. A recreational vessel is defined in the law as being no more than 65 feet in length and used primarily for pleasure. The 2011 bill also directed DOE to study antifouling paints and report back to the Legislature about its findings in 2017. The first stage of the copper restriction was scheduled to take effect on Jan.1, 2018.

DOE’s report to the Legislature was completed in 2017 and found that there is not a proven, superior biocide alternative to copper. Thus, DOE recommended that the Legislature delay the ban on copper-based antifouling paints so it could conduct additional research. In response to Ecology’s 2017 report and recommendations, the Legislature passed Substitute House Bill (SHB) 2634 in 2018, which delayed the ban on copper-based antifouling paints until 2021. SHB 2634 provided DOE with ample time to conduct further research and analysis of antifouling paints and their ingredients, including the relative impacts of copper versus non-copper biocides using models based on Washington State data: Puget Sound marina designs and water quality conditions. SHB 2634 also directed Ecology to report back to the Legislature about their review and recommendations for regulatory changes, if any, in 2019.

DOE 2019 Report and Recommendations

Pursuant to the Legislature’s directive in SHB 2634, DOE submitted its report and recommendations last month. Specifically, Ecology recommends that the Legislature amend RCW 70.300.020 in the following ways during the 2020 legislative session:

  • Delay the existing statutory ban on copper-based antifouling paints until 2026 to allow for more scientific research and information to be developed;
  • Ban the sale and application of antifouling paints containing Cybutryne/Irgarol for recreational vessels in Washington; and
  • Grant Ecology authority to request information from paint manufacturers regarding ingredients, leach rates, and other relevant data.

In general, ACA supports this approach because it allows the department to conduct additional scientific research that will help fill existing data gaps before the Legislature makes a final determination on whether to allow, prohibit, or restrict the use of copper-based antifouling paints on recreational vessels in the state.

ACA will continue to engage with DOE and the Washington State Legislature on behalf of its members.

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.


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EPA, Army Issue Updated WOTUS Final Rule

On Jan. 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule which redefines “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The WOTUS rule defines the scope of waters that are protected by federal anti-pollution laws under the Clean Water Act. Under the Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule, EPA and the Army Corps are streamlining the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before.

The new policy will take effect 60 days after it’s formally published in the Federal Register. It also completes EPA’s and the Army Corps’ two-step process to repeal and revise the definition of WOTUS.

The new definition is far narrower than the previous version, as it excludes federal oversight of isolated wetlands and ephemeral streams that only flow after a heavy rainfall. However, the revised definition does include protection of intermittent streams that flow only during certain times of year. According to EPA, this revised definition increases the predictability and consistency of Clean Water Act programs.


In May 2015, EPA released the final WOTUS rule with the Army Corps, over the objections expressed by many, including ACA. The 2015 WOTUS rule definition gave the federal government jurisdiction over some of the smallest waterways in the country, including authority over smaller bodies of water that EPA doesn’t already regulate.

In February 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13778, which directed EPA and the Army Corps to review and rescind or revise the 2015 WOTUS rule. As a result, EPA and the Army Corps initiated a comprehensive, two-step process intended to repeal (step one) and revise (step two) the definition of WOTUS. Since then, the agencies issued three rulemakings pertaining to step one of the process that attempted to: (1) repeal the 2015 WOTUS definition, (2) recodify of the pre-2015 WOTUS definition and regulation, and (3) delay the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule to provide additional time and regulatory certainty while the agencies complete their two-step process.

On Oct. 2, 2019, EPA completed step one of its process by issuing a final rule that formally repealed the 2015 WOTUS rule.

ACA has consistently supported recodification of the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 WOTUS rule, and revising the definition to more clearly define that “waters of the United States” are waters within the ordinary meaning of the term.

More information can be found on EPA’s website.

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.

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BÜFA Acquires AOC (UK) Ltd.

BÜFA Composite Systems has acquired Manningtree-based AOC (UK) Ltd. AOC will operate under BÜFA Composites UK effective March 3, 2020.

According to BÜFA Composite Systems, the purchase of AOC (UK) Ltd. not only expands its presence in the English market, but also consolidates its leading position as a specialty manufacturer for the composites market in Europe. “We are pleased to deepen the trusting and successful cooperation with BÜFA Composite Systems and at the same time to form a stronger company in Great Britain. This enables us to serve our customers even better and lead our employees into a promising future,” said Joe Salley, Global CEO AOC Aliancys.

“The complete AOC Aliancys portfolio will be offered via BÜFA Composites UK in the future,” added Lothar Kempf, managing director of BÜFA Composite Systems. “With the know-how of the local staff and the existing products including the specialty portfolio from BÜFA Composite Systems, we are becoming a competent, comprehensive provider of complete solutions for composite customers in Great Britain.”

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Oxea Integrates into Newly Formed Energy Company

Oxea, part of the Oman Oil Company & Orpic Group, has joined eight other companies in a process to create a new, integrated energy company that will trade under the brand name “OQ.” OQ reportedly aims to become a global leading energy company, capturing and capitalizing on greater participation in the global hydrocarbon value chain.

“During the ongoing integration phase, our current business processes will remain unchanged. Oxea will continue to provide the very reliable and flexible services that customers from across the globe have come to expect from us in recent years,” said Dr. Oliver Borgmeier, COO at Oxea. “In fact, with a focus on oxo derivatives and specialty chemicals, we invest significantly to serve the global markets better. Digitalization and automation present considerable opportunities to enhance efficiency in our plants and to improve our flexibility further to meet changing demand. By 2021, we expect additional production capacity for TCD Alcohol to go on-stream that will cover the anticipated global demand for years to come. This highly functional molecule finds uses in optoelectronics, packaging, automotive applications, as well as in specialty adhesives and surface coating systems.”

Oxea also stated that it plans to start up its sixth world-scale production plant for carboxylic acids in Oberhausen, Germany in 2021. Once brought onstream, the it will increase the company’s total production capacity for carboxylic acids by more than 30 percent, according to the company.

To help with the transformation, OQ has launched an integration program to form one company from nine core assets: Orpic, Oman Oil Company, Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production, Oman Gas Company, Duqm Refinery, Salalah Methanol Company, Oman Trading International, Oxea, and Salalah Liquified Petroleum Gas.

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Eastman Chemical Company Expands its Manufacturing Facility in Dresden

Eastman Chemical Company has announced a capacity expansion at its Dresden, Germany, manufacturing facility to support a new coating and laminating line. The company stated that this investment will support the strong growth of Eastman’s high-performance branded paint protection and window film products. Additionally, the expansion will supplement Eastman’s assets in Martinsville, Va., and is expected to be online mid-2021 while bringing approximately 50 new jobs to the site, according to Eastman.

“We are very excited to announce this investment in our Dresden site and our Films business,” said Erin Bernhardt, general manager of Eastman’s Performance Films business. “The additional capacity will allow us to meet the continued strong growth we’re seeing in Europe and around the globe for our paint protection films as well as provide versatility to meet growing customer needs in high-value automotive and architectural window films.”

The company has also announced a series of significant investments in paint protection films, including a Performance Films Patterns and Software Center of Excellence, multiple expansions at its Martinsville manufacturing facility, and Core™ pattern and business operations software.

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Milliken & Company to Acquire Borchers from The Jordan Company

Milliken & Company, a research, design and manufacturing company for specialty chemicals, floor covering, and protective textiles, has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Borchers Group Limited from The Jordan Company, L.P. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

According to Milliken, the addition of Borchers—particularly its expertise in specialty coating additives—further builds Milliken’s comprehensive solutions portfolio, aligned with the company’s strategic objective to develop a global range of growth platforms.

“We are ecstatic about partnering with Milliken to further invest in our business, build out our global platform and continue providing innovative and satisfying solutions to our customers. Combining our capabilities and approach with the depth of Milliken’s technology and innovation will allow us to provide exemplary solutions to the markets we serve. I want to thank the TJC team for their guidance and strong partnership,” said Devlin Riley, president & CEO of Borchers.

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BASF Expands Polyurethane Dispersion Business in Europe

BASF has announced a single-digit million-euro investment in the capacity expansion of water-based polyurethane dispersions at its Castellbisbal site in Spain. According to the company, the expansion will allow BASF to increase its production capacity by 30 percent.

“We want to continue to provide our customers with high-quality polyurethane dispersions and help them grow by ensuring supply reliability,” said Frank Hezel, VP Resins & Additives EMEA at BASF.

BASF stated that by expanding its portfolio in the field of adhesives, parquet flooring, automotive and industry coatings, it is making a valuable contribution to the change from solvent-based coating systems to environmentally friendlier and more sustainable water-based systems.

The new Basonol PU platform for automotive coating technologies ensures that the primers and base coats used for automobiles have better adhesion qualities and feature a smoother look, according to BASF.  The company stated that it intends to use the Epotal Eco product line to produce water-based compostable raw materials for adhesives at Castellbisbal that will play a decisive role in particular regarding the development of bio-degradable packaging material.

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