A proposed hazardous air pollutant regulation for the cement industry undermines the balance between environmental protection and economic viability, potentially forcing U.S. concrete producers to turn to foreign powder sources, PCA noted at EPA hearings June 16-18 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Arlington, Va.
Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A proposed hazardous air pollutant regulation for the cement industry undermines the balance between environmental protection and economic viability, potentially forcing U.S. concrete producers to turn to foreign powder sources, PCA noted at EPA hearings June 16-18 in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Arlington, Va. The hearings addressed amendments to the national hazardous air pollutant emissions standard covering mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. If adopted, PCA contends, they would undermine the domestic cement industry’s stability and endanger thousands of jobs.
Pushing cement production to other countries would ÎOPECÌ the industry and make the U.S. dependent on cement imports, says Andy OÌHare, PCA vice president for regulatory affairs. In addition, because these countries have fewer regulations, global emissions of mercury and carbon dioxide could actually increase.
If this rule is adopted, domestic cement supply will be constrained and investments in cement capacity expansion avoided, causing the stimulus package to advance fewer projects with less jobs created, he adds. A reasonable rule–building on the good record of current regulatory programs and setting achievable standards based on demonstrated achieved emissions control strategies–would not act at cross-purposes to economic recovery.
U.S. cement production and its related industries employ tens of thousands of Americans and deliver a product that is absolutely essential to many of the infrastructure construction projects identified by the Obama administration and the Congress as important to the nation’s economic recovery. To meet expected demand, the U.S. will need to produce 30 percent more cement by 2020.
On behalf of the industry, PCA recommended at the hearings that the rule be revised to reflect real-world data about what controls can be placed on cement kilns and the emissions control levels that can be achieved in practice with those controls. It called for emission standards based on demonstrated emission control strategies and on logical subcategorization of cement plants, as required under the Clean Air Act, to ensure that standards are both reasonable and achievable.
The cement industry takes its environmental performance seriously, OÌHare said. During the last decade, cement plants have successfully addressed the rising demand for portland cement while developing and implementing environmentally and socially responsible business practices. The industry has invested in technology to reduce air emissions, minimize waste production, recycle and recover inputs, enhance energy efficiency, and conserve natural resources–all the while producing a reliable and affordable supply of building materials to support our economy.