Cemex USA will upgrade stormwater management at three southern California ready mixed operations as part of an agreement with Inland Empire Waterkeeper, Los Angeles Waterkeeper and Orange County Coastkeeper to resolve an ongoing dispute regarding the groups’ claims of Clean Water Act violations. The producer is revising best management practices (BMP) at Irvine (Orange County), Fontana (San Bernardino County) and Compton (Los Angeles County) plants and bringing water-testing protocols beyond current requirements. The agreement also calls for Cemex to contribute $55,000 to identify and fund future environmental-mitigation projects through third-party groups Rivers and Lands Conservancy, Pacific Marine Mammal Center and From Lot to Spot.
“Cemex strives to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we live and operate, and this agreement continues that commitment in southern California,” says West Region President Eric Wittmann.
Orange County Coastkeeper and Los Angeles Waterkeeper filed a complaint in early 2017 claiming stormwater from the three concrete facilities raised pH and metal levels in nearby waterways, violating the Clean Water Act. Cemex refutes their observation and notes that the BMP-anchored agreement reflects a compromise with the organizations.
“By capturing and reusing its stormwater, Cemex will protect our swimmable waters while lowering its water use in the process,” affirms Coastkeeper Senior Staff Attorney Colin Kelly, who also credits the producer for “its commitment to improving the waters that our families and wildlife depend on.”
“We ensure that all our greenspace projects are multi-benefit projects have social, health, wellness and environmental impacts,” adds From Lot to Spot Executive Director Viviana Franc.
Following Coastkeeper’s legal work, Cemex is one of four major southern California ready mixed producers that have updated their practices and infrastructure in the last two years to comply with clean water regulations. Cemex is targeting a mid-October completion for upgrades at the three plants.
EPA GLIDER CAPS STAND
Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler abandoned a plan that would potentially expand the use of glider kits for heavy-duty truck upgrades. Prior to his early-July departure, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finalized a regulatory action whereby the agency would not enforce kit manufacturing caps.
EPA’s 2016 Phase 2 rule, aimed at reducing heavy-duty truck emissions while increasing miles per gallon requirements, included a provision to limit the use of glider kits for truck refurbishment. The Pruitt action would have allowed manufacturers to ignore previously imposed thresholds on the number of overhauled vehicles they could deliver for 2018 and 1019. EPA indicated that the non-enforcement announcement was necessary while agency staff writes a new rule to permanently repeal the Phase 2 glider kit provisions.
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Government Affairs staff credited Administrator Pruitt for slowing, stalling and eliminating costly, burdensome regulations to the ready mixed concrete industry. Glider kit action aside, Acting Administrator Wheeler is expected to proceed with the agency agenda as outlined under the Trump Administration.