Rio Grande’s Tijeras plant in New Mexico faces stricter environmental pollution control legislation. Local public hearings in Bernalillo County have discussed the proposal to bring local ambient air quality standards in line with those required by the US Environmental Protection Agency since 1997.
Brian McGill, environmental manager for Rio Grande Cement, said he’s not aware of another county in the United States that has adopted the challenged EPA emissions standards. Federal law requires state and local governments to legally adopt the standards before they become enforceable, McGill said. Rio Grande Cement’s emissions, however, already meet the new requirements, McGill said.
In an earlier interview McGill said that while he feels certain of the plant’s compliance, Rio Grande has so far not been compelled to prove it. Because of the legal challenges to the EPA emissions regulations, their adoption by local governments and enforcement never really got up to speed, he said.
Paul Seby, who identified himself to local hearings as a representative for Rio Grande cement, Vulcan Materials Corp, Lafarge of North America and American Gypsum, explained to that the companies he represents are all already largely in compliance with the EPA regulations and that local changes would have minimal effects on their procedures. Instead, he said, his clients ask only that the amendment not be adopted just yet.
The strict EPA regulations are currently under attack from some of the very "environmental organisations" that at first asked for their adoption, he said. Until protests and court battles have been settled, the regulation could be repealed, he said, leaving Bernalillo County with air quality standards exceeding EPA requirements (original reporting from Mountain View Telegraph).