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Life Cycle Data Network
The official Launch of the Life Cycle Data Network (LCDN) took place in Brussels on 6 February 2014. The LCDN is a web-based data platform aiming to provide a globally usable infrastructure for the publication of quality assured Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) data (i.e. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets and Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) method datasets) coming from different industry organizations and/or companies. All datasets registered and published through the LCDN are compliant with quality requirements aimed to guarantee the quality of the datasets and coherence in terms of Methodology, Documentation, and Nomenclature. Various sectors such as energy, transport, plastics and steel, industrial minerals, covering the resources, energy and emissions used from the production to the end-of-life stage of these products and activities, including recycling have provided data for the LCDN.
The data network will support policy developments, environmental footprint activities and European Commission Life-Cycle based projects.
INDUSTRY TAKES POSITION ON REVIEW OF THE BEST AVAILABLE TECHNIQUES (BAT) ON THE MANAGEMENT OF TAILINGS AND WASTE-ROCK (MTWR BAT)
The European Commission, through the Institute of the Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) in Sevilla has decided to initiate the review process of the MTWR BAT from mining activities. Industry associations have appointed experts in the reactivated Technical Group (TWG) in December 2013.
The Commission has collected industry and Member States' initial comments on the preleminary BREF document in February 2014. For that purpose, industry organisations (e.g. Cembureau, Euroroc, Euromines, IMA-Europe, UEPG) have met twice in order to identify the key aspects of the review from an industry perspective. The industry positions were submitted in the Best Available Techniques Information System (BATIS) and consist in addressing the following issues:
- Legal basis of the BAT – Document
- Positions on vertical issue of the BAT Document
- Associated emission levels
- Focus on emerging technologies /no general revision of the BAT
The kick-off meeting of the Technical Working Group where the Institute for Prospective Technical Studies (IPTS) and Industry will agree on a compromise for the scope of the revision process will take place in May 2014.
INDUSTRY SUPPORTS THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE SOIL FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE PROPOSAL
In October 2013, the Commission announced its intention to consider the withdrawal of its proposal for a Soil Framework Directive in 2006. In its press release, the Commission states that "Despite the efforts of several Presidencies, the Council has so far been unable to reach a qualified majority on this legislative proposal due to the opposition of a number of Member States constituting a blocking minority on the grounds of subsidiarity and proportionality". The Commission announces that it will still examine "how the objectives of the proposed directive can be best achieved".
Euroroc supports the initiative of BUSINESSEUROPE which has sent a letter to Commissioner Potocnik on 27 February 2014 arguing that "the need for soil protection legislation at European level is not obvious".
BUSINESSEUROPE states that the principle of subsidiarity should prevail as soil does not pose a risk of trans boundary pollution, that it is already covered by national legislation in many Member States, that a Directive would impose excessive administrative burden on industry and Member States, and would overlap with existing EU legislation.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS COMPROMISE TEXT OF THE REVISED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) DIRECTIVE
On 12 March, the European Parliament adopted the compromise text resulting from the trialogue negotiations led by the Lithuanian Presidency for the revised Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.
As recommended by Euroroc and its colleagues from NEEIP (Non Energy Extractive Industry Panel) along the revision process, the one-stop-shop approach will be included, there will be no retroactive application of the revised Directive to ongoing EIAs, the Commission will not be empowered to modify annexes (i.e. selection criteria and information requirements) via delegated acts, and environmental reports will be prepared and verified by competent experts rather than "accredited" experts as originally foreseen by the Commission.
The revised EIA Directive does however include ex-post monitoring obligations for projects which have significant environmental effects, in addition to those already included in other other EU regulatory instruments, such as the Industrial Emissions Directive or the Mining Waste Directive. The EU Council is expected to adopt the text in June 2014. The Directive should be transposed by the Member States within three years after its entry into force, most likely in 2017.
THE 2014 NEPSI REPORTING EXERCISE completed
Sites had until 14 March 2014 to complete their questionnaire on twelve key performance indicators which will allow the NEPSI Council to assess the continuous success of the application of the Agreement in June 2014. The NEEIP members will now prepare its European sectoral report to be included in the NEPSI Summary Report 2014 and will assess the submitted data for the sector. Sites that have missed the deadline should enter their data as soon as possible, on time for them to be taken into account in the overall EU sectoral report. The last Reporting campaign in 2012 covered 500.000 workers and involved 6 400 industrial sites throughout the EU, of which 400 sites were coming from the industrial mineral sector.
The 2014 reporting exercise is crucial to help demonstrating that Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) remains a key priority for the signatories of the EU Agreement on Silica. With the ongoing discussions at the Commission level on the setting of an EU-wide RCS exposure limit value, it is absolutely essential to demonstrate that our Agreement is still a reference for RCS exposure prevention in the European industry and a solid support to legislation. A meeting with the EU NEPSI Employers will soon be organised to analyse the reporting results and trends. The NEPSI Council meeting is to take place on 18 June 2014.
RESPIRABLE CRYSTALLINE SILICA (RCS): SOCIO ECONOMIC STUDY ANALYSING THE IMPACT OF A EUROPEAN OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE LIMIT VALUE FOR RCS
The impact study was commissioned to independent consultants in October 2013 after the European Commission's Advisory Committee for Safety and Health (ACSH) agreed that there should be a Binding Occupational Limit Value of 0,1 mg/ m³ introduced for RCS at European Union (EU) level, either in the Directive 98/24/EC, Chemical Agents at Work Directive (CAD) or in the Directive 2004/37/EC, Carcinogens and Mutagens at Work Directive (CMD). The aim of the study is to compare the socio-economic costs of having the limit value set in the CMD versus an approach where it is set in the CAD, analysing and comparing the impact of each obligation of the Directives.
The final conclusion of the study is that: "in all sectors and countries and for all categories of companies, costs of a BLV in the CMD are significantly higher than for a BLV or ILV in the CAD, looking at either the basic pure data or the extrapolated data. Considering that the main difference in obligations between the two Directives is that the CMD mentions explicitly (on top of the CAD provisions) the use of closed systems and the reduction of exposure as far as technically possible when substitution cannot be applied (which is the case of the great majority of the answers received), and considering the already taken RCS risk reduction and prevention measures (i.e. in conformity with national legislation and potential benefits of the Social Dialogue `Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of
Crystalline Silica and Products containing it' complementing legislation), this significant difference in costs should be carefully taken into account in the discussions on the legal frame for a European OEL for RCS."
The report was sent to the European Commission to document their ongoing impact analysis of the revision of the CMD. It was discussed with DG EMPL, Health & Safety Unit. Suggestions for additional analyses were made, and will be discussed within EUROSIL.
The Commission's ongoing impact analysis is due end of 2014. The proposal for a revised CMD is not expected before the second semester of 2015.