A proposed hazardous air pollutant regulation for the cement industry undermines the balance between environmental protection and economic viability, according to statements the Portland Cement Association (PCA) is issuing this week at a series of public hearings.
Last month the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced amendments to the national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the Portland cement manufacturing industry. It requires new emission standards for mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. The regulations, as published, are based on a new approach to setting regulatory standards that results in excessively stringent and costly requirements.
If adopted, the standards would undermine the stability of the domestic cement industry, endangering thousands of jobs. Industry studies have shown the new guidelines could lead to forced closure of plants, creating hardship in cities throughout the country.
“Pushing cement production to other countries would ‘OPEC’ the industry and make the U.S. dependent on cement imports,” says Andy O’Hare, PCA vice president for regulatory affairs. “In addition, because these countries have fewer regulations global emissions of mercury and carbon dioxide could actually increase.”
To meet expected demand, the U.S. will need to produce 30 percent more cement by 2020.