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CalARVC Regroups After Holding Tank Bill Veto

August 25, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Much to the surprise of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bill AB 1824, which would have banned the use of certain holding tank deodorants utilized in waste facilities and toilets on boats and RVs.

The law’s intent was to protect campground owners and millions of campers from potential hazardous effects from products containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformadelhyde and paradichlorobenzene.

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC director, told RVBUSINESS.com that due to the large amount of chemicals bills presented to California legislature in recent years, the governor created the Green Chemistry Initiative. The initiative is a way to better address these bills through scientific research done by the Department of Toxics and Substance Control (DTSC).

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The DTSC previously told CalARVC it would be taking on more broadly affected chemicals first before they addressed AB 1824, since it concerned a smaller niche market.

Sipe said CalARVC knew this was a risk when it submitted the bill for consideration, but still felt hopeful after it passed through all other levels of legislation with huge bipartisan support and only three nay votes.

“The governor vetoed it because he wants all of this to go through the Green Chemistry Initiative,” Sipe said. “We had lobbied the governor’s office and had letters to his office and we were hoping we could get through because we are a smaller niche.”

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) opposed the bill – essentially urging the state of California to back up their reasons with science that proves these chemicals are fouling up septic systems.

In response to the veto, Kevin Phillips, Thetford’s vice president of sales and marketing, stated, “RVIA and other concerned industry organizations that rallied together and helped to provide education and understanding regarding this bill. Without them, this veto, which preserves consumer choice in RV deodorants, may not have been achieved.”

CalARVC will hold a meeting to discuss its next steps and will be asking manufacturing companies to do their best to push and promote organic-based products.

“We failed in our efforts, but we hope the manufacturers will back the campground industry and help support us,” Sipe said.

CalARVC also plans to submit a list of green-based products as the recommended guide for consumers and will be adding an educational section to its website to educate people about environmentally-friendly products.

Background

The office of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued this message following the governor’s veto on Aug. 18 of AB 1824:

This bill prohibits the sale and use of a specified list of chemicals in chemical toilets and waste facilities of recreational vehicles.

Current law already gives the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) the ability to address the issue of chemical toilet products in recreational vehicles. Additionally, DTSC has the ability to address this issue through the Green Chemistry process.

This bill presents a scenario that is ripe for a Green Chemistry approach: competing science on each side of the issue; concern about the effectiveness of alternative products for the consumer’s intended use; consumer reaction in the wake of an ineffective alternative; and questions as to whether banning particular chemicals will actually address the underlying problem.

Neither I, nor members of the legislature, are best equipped to answer these questions. We need science and scientists to undertake this challenge and develop a solution that addresses the chemical problem and provides the consumer with a product that is both economical and effective for its intended purpose.

Under the leadership of my Secretary for Environmental Protection, the Green Chemistry process is well underway at DTSC. We will have regulations adopted by Jan. 1, 2011, and DTSC should address the issue raised in this bill either under that process or under their existing authority.

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