Industry News
Chemicals
Top stories summarized by our editors
8/3/2021

An acetic acid leak at the LyondellBasell facility near La Porte, Texas, on Tuesday killed two people and injured more than 30 others. The leak, which occurred in an area that had been shut down for maintenance, was quickly contained, the plastics, chemicals and refining company said.

8/3/2021

Gene drives have been successful in editing infectious genes out of mosquitos, preventing them from spreading disease. Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are applying gene drive technology to plants and crops in an effort to make them more resilient to the effects of climate change.

More Summaries:
University of California
8/2/2021

The Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers will host virtual sessions this month and potentially in September to gather input on a new definition for "waters of the US" under the Clean Water Act. The Biden administration on Friday confirmed it would temporarily restore the definition used before the Obama administration's changes in 2015.

More Summaries:
USACE
8/2/2021

The American Chemistry Council warns that provisions in the infrastructure bill that would revive excise taxes levied on the chemicals industry could lead to plant closures.

8/2/2021

The global economy is still reopening, and related demand for polypropylene and polyethylene will stay "stronger for longer," said LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel. "With all due respect to all the prognosticators, they've underestimated demand consistently over the last year… We still have global reopening in front of us [and] so many durable goods that are on backorder -- automobiles, appliances, furniture," said Patel.

8/2/2021

Huntsman is looking to grow its business through merger and acquisition opportunities after selling its intermediates and surfactants businesses to Indorama earlier this year, said Chief Financial Officer Philip Lister. "Where it makes sense from a valuation perspective, this M&A strategy will continue as we intend to grow our core platforms, particularly in our specialty and downstream businesses," said Lister.

8/2/2021

Biohm is developing a fungus strain capable of efficiently digesting plastics, particularly polyethylene terephthalate and polyurethane. "You put in plastic, the fungi eat the plastic, the fungi make more fungi and then from that you can make biomaterials... for food, or feed stocks for animals, or antibiotics," said Samantha Jenkins, lead biotech engineer fo Biohm.

7/30/2021

Congress moved one step closer to enacting infrastructure legislation yesterday when Senate lawmakers voted to begin debate on the latest version of their bipartisan deal with the Biden administration, writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. While the text has not been released yet, all indications are that the plan continues to include $13 billion in new Superfund taxes on 42 chemicals, critical minerals, and metallic elements. Much of the cost will be borne by American chemistry, with likely ripple effects to businesses and consumers in the form of higher costs for goods that rely on chemistry components and increased pressure on supply chains already squeezed by the effects of the pandemic. Americans at every income level will be affected.

More Summaries:
Senate
7/30/2021

The Chemical Safety Board needs more members to continue its mission-related work and "[w]hile the nominees currently being considered by Congress to serve on the CSB may be accomplished in their own respective fields, they unfortunately lack the critical and necessary expertise specific to chemical manufacturing and industrial safety," writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. "Congress and the Biden administration must seek out new candidates who are well-versed in process safety, chemical facility operations and how to keep them running safely," writes Jahn.

7/30/2021

The Surface Transportation Board must take steps to improve rail service and reduce shipping costs, and one way to achieve that is through reciprocal switching, wrote the Rail Customer Coalition, which includes the American Chemistry Council, in a letter last week. "Reciprocal switching would help empower rail customers such as farmers, manufacturers and energy providers to choose a carrier that provides the best combination of rates and service," wrote the RCC.