This column covers the first two EPA-related topics from the American Foundry Society’s (AFS) August 2008 meeting.

Greenhouse Gases: Not unexpectedly, the topic of greatest interest was greenhouse gases (GHG). Because energy is so fundamental to the metalcasting industry, AFS prepared a white paper on GHG entitled “Climate Change Principles,” which can be found on their website (www.afsinc.org). At the outset, the white paper asserts that U.S. metalcasters have already implemented many energy- and waste-saving processes, which collectively help them emit up to two-thirds less GHG per ton of castings shipped than competing metalcasters in China, India or Brazil. The white paper also noted a recent surge in castings produced for the renewable-energy market, including wind-turbine blades, geothermal pump casings and solar heat-exchanger components, which position the industry as an important player in the mission to reduce atmospheric GHG.

With regard to new regulations, AFS supports a nationwide program that preempts state climate-change laws, includes all sectors of the economy and recognizes the importance of carbon capture and sequestration. Finally, the white paper concludes that energy requirements based on the physical and chemical realities (thermodynamic laws) of melting metal should be exempt from regulatory GHG limits as should emissions related to the use of metallurgical coke.

CO2 Reporting: Although Congress did not pass S 2191 (Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007) in the current term, this legislation is considered as the leading proposal on GHG regulation. Until enacted, the final makeup of the law cannot be anticipated with certainty. There is, however, virtually no doubt that CO2 reporting will be a hallmark of any new legislation. Several states (California, Oregon and Iowa were mentioned) have already set timetables for implementing such reporting requirements, with fuel-use accounting expected to be the most likely reporting method.