The EPA was supposed to appear in the DC appeals court Friday to defend its proposal to require PERC to be phased out of dry cleaners located in residential buildings by 2020. They were being sued by the Sierra Club for not going further and requiring PERC to be phased out of all dry cleaning operations across the country. The Sierra Club is arguing that there are already PERC alternatives readily available and economical and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be used everywhere. Meanwhile, the National Cleaners Association has been saying that PERC is safe because there are controls now to prevent emissions. The EPA has asked for the case to be removed from the docket on Friday so that they can revise their position, which may be a sign that the Obama administration is going to take a different tack on environmental legislation than the Bush administration did.
Its also a common sense one in my opinion. I used to work for in environmental remediation and pretty much any site that had a history of dry cleaning had PERC in the soil and groundwater. That was not coming for the air emissions, which are an issue while the dry cleaners is in operation, its coming from spills. Unless the National Cleaners Association has a way to prevent spills and leaks in the PERC storage tanks on site, there is little guarantee of saftey using the product. And PERC is incredibly difficult and expensive to remove once its in the groundwater. Hopefully the EPA will acknowledge this and amend their position.