PCA takes plant emission standard challenge to appellate court

Portland Cement Association briefs filed last month with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals outline members’ challenge to the portland cement national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP). Finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in September 2010, the rule sets a September 2013 compliance target for stringent standards covering cement mill emissions of particulate matter, hydrochloric acid, total hydrocarbons and mercury.

PCA figures NESHAP compliance costs could equate to $21/ton of cement by 2020. It filed a challenge to the rule in November, taking issue with how the agency developed the emissions standards and overlap between NESHAP and other EPA rules. The May 2011 appellate court briefs followed EPA’s revisiting of certain NESHAP portions, but not those of greatest impact to cement producers.

“The cement industry, already one of the most heavily regulated industrial sectors, has invested tens of billions of dollars in modernizing and expanding facilities with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly reduce [its] environmental footprint,” said PCA President Brian McCarthy. “However, the unprecedented severity of these rules, if they are left unchanged, will cause cement plant closures, job losses and a reduction in U.S. cement production capacity.”