State Emissions and Global Standards

Dr. John Spomar Jr., DBA, CED |

DOLTON, Ill. — There are two regulatory changes that have come to my attention. One is not so bad other than the fee increase, and the other is rather alarming. A bigger government and more control over our personal life and business is the purpose of it all. And we are going to pay more.

Washington and the states get around the unpopular votes for raising taxes and, of course, their respective re-elections by regulating us and telling the public that our business is making us sick and killing people. The safest way to increase their revenue is to regulate us. 

In Illinois, we now have another program that will eventually cost the taxpayers more money. Oh, I forgot, that is why they are raising the cost of the permits. The plan is to increase permit fees and reduce the cost to run the program.

This program is ROSS, short for Registration of Smaller Sources. As required by Public Act 097-0095, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has created a new program that is believed to apply to more than 3,000 permitted sources which combined produce less than 1% of the air pollution in the State of Illinois, according to the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program.

The ROSS program is intended to simplify air regulatory requirements by requiring sources with low emissions to register with the EPA rather than acquiring an air permit.

It is important to note that although the source may no longer be subject to permitting requirements, the source must still comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. This is what the Illinois EPA is telling emission sources. 

I filled out the form and filed the application. I called the compliance company that I have on retainer for assistance and clarification. As it was explained to me, it is all about more money and control, and maybe less work for them. The future will tell whether it will be less work. I am inclined to believe it will create an even bigger bureaucracy and larger fees.

If you are an Illinois dry cleaner and you have an air permit or will want one, I suggest you investigate your alternatives. Plan on consulting with your state association, or get advice from a specialist. If you want to learn whom I contact regarding these types of matters, e-mail me for information.

My biggest concern is tied to decreasing American exceptionalism. Our administration is getting further into bed with the United Nations. And not only does the UN want to control our firearms, they want to control OSHA.

We all know about the Hazard Communication standard; our entire employee training is based upon this requirement. Documentation and paperwork and filing this and filling out forms make a burden on business. From my experience, many businesses think they can get away with not complying, and that is bad for the employee and their safety. We comply because we want to be good corporate citizens, and make the worksite safe and desirable because I work there, too. Just when we get the hang of employee training, Material Data Safety Sheets, and documentation, there comes another mega reworking of the compliance issues and regulations.

OSHA will be changing the Hazard Communication standard to align it with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. My adviser said the news release from the Department of Labor proclaims that it will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses each year. I guess this is another “just pass it” requirement and we will eventually see what is in it and what it all means.

Since we will be following the lead of the United Nations, I wonder what language we will have to learn and teach at our cost to the employees.

Every manufacturer of a chemical and every end-user will be required to have a new “format” for the Material Safety Data Sheets. And the names will change. There is a possibility that the labeling of chemicals we use, from laundry products to drycleaning and spotting products, may be renamed and labeled. Of course, it will mean significant changes in our training programs. 

The 43 prevented deaths, are they U.S. workers or worldwide? I suspect they were untrained, illiterate, or just plain stupid and reckless, but who am I to know? It will probably be a cold day in hell when we experience the enhanced productivity and dollars we are going to save. I am glad I have an environmental compliance company on retainer to implement the changes to the training programs.  

Implementation of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals is set for 2016. I thank my compliance company for the heads up on this topic.

I just had a thought. Maybe our vote in November could eliminate these future expenditures and confusing paperwork. Let us keep the UN out of our businesses!

About the author

Dr. John Spomar Jr., DBA, CED

Norco Cleaners


Dr. John Spomar Jr., DBA, CED, is a charter member of EPA’s NEPT program and chairman of the Illinois Alternative Solvents Coalition. Spomar operates Norco Cleaners, 1320 E. Dolton Ave., Dolton, IL 60419; phone, 708-841-6220; fax, 708-841-6222. E-mail


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