Cement industry, environmentalists debate emission regulations, US

Cement industry, environmentalists debate emission regulations, US
Published: 17 February 2010

The cement industry is launching a late push to water down new regulations that would limit the amount of mercury and other hazardous pollutants emitted by their plants.

The industry argues that the proposal would result in higher cement prices, which would hamper government-funded stimulus investments in airports, highways, nuclear plants and wind farms. A study by Southern Methodist University says the rule would crimp new investment in plants over the next several years and result in more than 15,000 job losses.

"This rule-making could impact our ability to provide the kind of cement that is necessary to achieve all of these domestic infrastructure investments," said Andrew O’Hare, vice president of government relations for the Portland Cement Association, which lobbies for the industry.

Environmental groups say that argument is the latest attempt to delay limits on toxic air pollutants required by the Clean Air Act. The rule has been the subject of litigation for at least a decade, as environmental groups pressed the Environmental Protection Agency to set strict limits.