Cement industry reinforces case for new EPA emissions rule, compliance target

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

A recently proposed standard for particulate matter (PM) will allow cement operators to develop new compliance strategies to address it and other emissions-reduction measures, and potentially see fewer plants shuttered due to cost-benefit factors, according to statements at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing in Arlington, Texas.

The hearing examined new EPA proposals to the national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants for the portland cement production, modifying original PM guidelines and resetting a September 2013 compliance target to September 2015. PCA previously argued the PM standard should be revised to reflect inherent variability of emissions over time; after review, EPA concurred.

PCA also believes the new standard will reduce the number of cement plants that otherwise would have been forced to close, thereby avoiding hardship in communities throughout the country. “With the additional time for compliance, the industry will be able to fully complete any planning, engineering and construction that may be necessary to achieve compliance with the revised standards and hopefully accomplish that during a more robust economic period,” PCA V.P. for Regulatory Affairs Andy O’Hare said at the hearing.