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The Portland Cement Association (PCA) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final regulations to the portland cement National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants. The statement below is attributable to Brian McCarthy, CEO and president, Portland Cement Association, located in Skokie, Illinois:

“The Final Rule issued today by EPA on amendments to the national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) from the portland cement manufacturing industry will require portland cement facilities to limit emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. Although the standards in the final rule are not quite as stringent as those originally proposed in May 2009, the emission limits are still very low and will not be achievable by some facilities.

Compliance with the rule will cost the industry several billion dollars, and require investments in pollution control equipment at a time when available capital is considerably constrained due to the state of the economy. Moreover, the large number of other regulatory requirements anticipated to affect the industry over the coming years complicates acquiring and installing the necessary emission controls for this rule. This could lead to additional cement plant closures, job losses and a reduction in U.S. cement production capacity.

More cement will need to be imported to make up for shrinking domestic supply. We fear this could constrain the U.S. government’s efforts to stimulate the economy, create jobs and rehabilitate the nation’s infrastructure. Additionally, imports of cement, mostly likely from developing nations, will cause global increases of greenhouse gas, mercury and other pollutant emissions.

Although the EPA did factor into the final rule new emissions data the industry collected in 2009 and 2010, PCA believes that there are approaches that EPA could have pursued, such as creating emission standards for subcategories of industry facilities and using risk-based policy approaches to address hydrochloric acid (HCl), rather than imposing an HCl emission standard for the purpose of limiting sulfur dioxide emissions. These approaches would have achieved the environmental objectives of the Clean Air Act, while also preserving U.S. cement production capacity.”
(Frank Maisano)