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 November 2005 Washington Notebook
Jeff Grove assumed his position as ASTM International's representative in Washington, D.C., in November 2004. He has over a decade of Washington-based public policy experience, including serving as staff director of the House Committee on Science Subcommittee on Technology.

New Laws and Regulations Rely on ASTM International Standards and Create New Opportunities for Standards Development

At both the U.S. federal and state level, new energy-related laws and regulations have been introduced or enacted in 2005 that reference ASTM International standards, or that create new opportunities for the development of voluntary consensus standards.

After nearly five years of negotiations, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was signed into law in August as Public Law 109-58. It has been lauded by industry groups such as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers as the most significant energy efficiency legislation since the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987. The new law relies on consensus-based federal minimum efficiency standards and a mix of voluntary, incentive and regulatory programs to improve the overall energy efficiency of appliances and related commercial products. Among the numerous standards-related provisions, the law specifies ways to determine the energy efficiency of certain products, including references to ASTM test methods and specifications.

The law includes provisions aimed at promoting the greater use of alternatives to petroleum-based diesel fuel. In creating a new program for vehicle manufacturers and biodiesel fuel providers to determine the impact of biodiesel from different sources on current and future vehicle emission control technologies, the law defines biodiesel as a “diesel fuel substitute produced from nonpetroleum renewable resources that meets the registration requirements for fuels and fuel additives established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under section 211 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545) and that meets ASTM’s D6751 Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuels.” To determine whether a fuel can be classified as “renewable diesel,” the law requires that the diesel fuel meet the requirements of ASTM D 975, Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils, or D 396, Specification for Fuel Oils, as well as certain EPA requirements established under the Clean Air Act.

By promoting the development and commercialization of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, the energy law also creates opportunities for new private-sector standards. In particular, the law requires the U.S. Department of Energy to provide grants to, or offer to enter into contracts with, professional organizations, public service organizations, and government agencies to support timely and extensive development of safety codes and standards relating to fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen energy systems, and stationary, portable, and micro fuel cells. To fund such activities, the law authorizes $38 million in federal funding over the next five years.

The development of private-sector standards for hydrogen fuel cells and related technologies may also be encouraged by a pending California state initiative that sets a deadline of Jan. 1, 2008, for the California Department of Food and Agriculture to establish specifications for hydrogen fuels for use in internal combustion engines and fuel cells in motor vehicles. When a standards development organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute formally adopts standards for hydrogen fuels in engines and fuel cells in motor vehicles, the pending state law would require the California agency to adopt by reference the latest standards established by that organization. The legislation enjoys bipartisan support and is expected to be enacted into state law.

ASTM International continues to engage in the public policy process by working with regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders to advance the use of market-relevant private-sector voluntary standards for procurement and regulatory compliance as set forth in the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Public Law 104-113). For more information regarding ASTM International’s public policy program, please contact ASTM Washington Representative Jeff Grove. //

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