WASHINGTON, DC - The federal district court hearing on motions challenging EPA's authority to extend the Formaldehyde Rule compliance deadlines has been postponed until Jan. 26.  Originally scheduled for Jan. 12, the postponement is due to scheduling conflicts for the government’s counsel.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 31, 2017, by the Sierra Club and A Community Voice-Louisiana, which is represented by Earthjustice, claims EPA acted "arbitrarily, capriciously" and without authority when it granted panel producers a one-year extension for compliance to TSCA Title VI, also known as the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products. The original compliance date was Dec. 12, 2017.

As it currently stands, panel producers of particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood have until Dec. 12, 2018, for compliance with emissions standards, recordkeeping and labeling requirements. Fabricators of finished products, such as cabinetry, furniture and casegoods, also must source TSCA Title VI compliant composite wood and meet all recordkeeping and finished goods labeling requirements by that same date.

Click here to read "What the EPA Formaldehyde Rule means to you." a quick reference guide produced by the Composite Panel Association (CPA).

In EPA's reply to the plaintiff's (Sierra Club and Earthjustice) opposition to its cross-motion for summary judgment, EPA noted the groups failed to "present any argument in support of their allegation that the rulemaking is arbitrary and capricious," and that plaintiffs waived their right to challenge EPA's authority by their failure to comment on the proposal to extend the compliance dates.

Various industry associations have also submitted briefs in support of EPA's deadline extension, with the Composite Panel Association noting "the devastating impacts that would result if the court were to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s one-year extension of the Formaldehyde  Rule’s compliance deadline."  Papers filed on behalf of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, International Wood Products Association and National Association of Home Builders also note "this lawsuit risks disrupting a global supply chain that provides cabinets, floors, furniture, homes and other necessities to millions of Americans."

Lawyers representing the associations are expected to be in attendance. The federal district court in Oakland, California is scheduled to hear the motions.

On its website, compositepanel.org, the CPA also has provided some frequently asked questions and answers on the topic.

Composite wood panels are used in a variety of applications including cabinetry, furniture and retail fixtures. Photo: MasterBrand Cabinets