On 11 October 2011 CEMBUREAU took part in the Standing Working Party for the Mining and Other Extractive Industries (SWPEI) meeting held in Luxembourg. The SWPEI falls under the EU’s Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work.
A number of issues were discussed during the meeting including:
The European Commission has presented its proposal for a Directive laying down basic safety standards (BSS) for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiations (COM(2011) 593 final). The Euratom Directive (BSS) addresses gamma radiation from building materials and indoor exposure to radon. For the purpose of the BSS Directive, building material means a construction product which is produced for incorporation in a permanent manner in a building. Radiations from naturally occurring radioactive materials has a local character.
Annex III of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) contains the criteria to classify waste as hazardous. This annex is currently being revised to bring it in line with the new classification system for chemicals from the CLPi Regulation. At the same time, the European List of Waste, which refers to these criteria, is also updated.
On 21 October 2011 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) submitted its first draft Community rolling action plan (CoRAP) to the Member State Competent Authorities and the ECHA Member State Committee. The CoRAP specifies the substances that are to be evaluated under REACHi over a period of three years. After the first year, the plan will be updated to include substances for the additional year as well as any revision to the substances that were included in the second and third year of the original plan.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has launched a consultation on proposals to add the following three lead primary explosives to the candidate list (identification as substance of very high concern - SVHC):
Identification as a SVHC is based solely on the hazard properties of the substance in question and is the first step in the authorisation process. In a second step, these substances might be prioritised for authorisation and placed under Annex XIV (the “Authorisation List”).
On 25 October 2011, the European Commission presented its Communication on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as part of a package of measures to support entrepreneurship and responsible business. The strategy includes the aim of improving company disclosure of social and environmental information, including climate-related information. The Commission also plans to present proposed legislation on the transparency of the social and environmental information provided by companies.
On 6 October, the US House of Representatives voted in favour of delaying three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules requiring that cement plants reduce their emissions of mercury and other pollutants. The three recently proposed environmental rules covered the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) rule for the Portland cement industry, the commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator rule and associated definition of “solid waste,” and the new source performance standards rule.
During the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, held in Cartagena, Colombia, from 17 until 21 October 2011, the Parties adopted the draft technical guidelines on the environmentally sound co-processing of hazardous wastes in cement kilns. During the meeting, Chile highlighted the fact that the cement guidelines constitute a good example of a public-private partnership, citing the involvement of the cement industry, NGOs, and a number of governments.
The European Commission (Directorate General for Environment) has confirmed its position in relation to new and existing installations under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). According to the note sent by the Commission to the Member States:
Rapporteur Béla Kovács (Non-attached Members, Hungary), from the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) in the European Parliament has issued his draft opinion on the Proposal for a Directive on the taxation of energy products and electricity. The draft opinion raises concerns about the reduction of the autonomy of Member States' energy tax regimes, and states that Member States should maintain control over the level of future EU minimum tax rates (with no automatic indexation of minimum rates).