Texas Industries announced Tuesday that it will close all four of its wet-process cement kilns in Midlothian permanently.
The TXI plant in Midlothian, 25 miles southwest of Dallas, is part of the nation’s greatest concentration of cement plants.
The Dallas-based construction materials company said in a statement that, henceforth, it would rely on the plant’s dry-process kiln that the citizen activists agree burns cleaner and uses more up-to-date technology.
Tuesday’s decision, effective immediately, came about a week after the US Environmental Protection Agency rejected the state’s plan for clean-air implementation, ruling that Texas’ flexible permitting system violates parts of the US Clean Air Act and effectively relaxes federally mandated emission requirements.
TXI called the closings "an opportunity to enhance the operational efficiency of TXI’s modern (dry-process) kiln at the same plant," as well as "result in reduced emissions."
The company said the move will have no effect on the present force of 170 workers at the plant.
The decision does not call for demolition of the four wet kilns, which had been idled since 2008 by a construction market shrunken by the economic recession, said TXI spokesman David Perkins. However, upgrades to the 50-year-old units would be impractical, he said.
As for future demolition, "obviously that will be a consideration," Perkins said.
Aside from TXI’s dry-process kiln, the move leaves two dry-process cement kilns run in Midlothian by Waltham, Mass.-based Holcim (US) Inc. and three wet-process cement kilns run by Overland Park, Kan.-based Ash Grove Cement Co.