Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) on Feb. 15 introduced an appropriations rider to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (H.R. 1) halting funding to implement, administer or enforce the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for the portland cement industry.
Although domestic cement manufacturers are among the most highly regulated enterprises in the country, they are currently facing an avalanche of seven separate rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The appropriations rider will allow the industry to continue its dialogue with the EPA with the goal of crafting regulations appropriate for the industry.
“The cement industry is committed to working with environmental regulators to ensure that regulations are based on science and preserve state-of-the-art manufacturing capacity,” Brian McCarthy, president and CEO of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), said. “Amendments such as the one introduced by Reps. Carter and Ross are crucial to rational and feasible emission standards.”
The NESHAP for the portland cement manufacturing industry will require cement facilities to limit emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. The emission limits imposed by the EPA will not be achievable by many facilities, even with the best emissions control technology known to exist.
These regulations will force the industry to shut down 18 plants—11% of its production—and source cement from other countries, thereby exporting U.S. jobs and importing cement from countries with lower emissions standards. In addition to further downsizing domestic payrolls and manufacturing capacity, the rule will cost $3.4 billion over a three-year period for an industry that currently generates barely more than $6.5 billion in annual revenue.
“The current 2013 compliance deadline for a $3.4 billion rule, which is approximately half the industry’s current annual revenues, will needlessly weaken an industry attempting to recover from the worst market conditions since the 1930s,” McCarthy said. “Just when the economy is starting to recover, EPA regulations could not only force more citizens out of work, but restrict access to one of the most widely used construction materials in the world and an essential component of energy-efficient buildings. Cement manufacturers applaud champions such as Congressmen Carter and Ross for bringing attention to issues that otherwise would escape the scrutiny of the American public.”