PCA urges EPA to revisit air quality proposal

PCA urges EPA to revisit air quality proposal
07 November 2023

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has urged the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider enforcing a proposed lower, fine particulate matter (PM) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Under the NAAQS programme, the proposed rule would lower the primary (health-based) annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standard from the current level of 12µg/m3 to within a range of 9-10 µg/m3

Complying with the new standard would require America’s cement companies — which have spent millions of dollars adhering to EPA standards — to endure regulatory overkill and unnecessary, mounting expenses that could lead to cutting back operations and potential job losses at plants, according to the PCA. The cement industry is already well regulated for PM, and increasing the regulatory burden on industry will put the state’s economic growth at risk, it adds.  

A study by the PCA, which represents America’s cement manufacturers, predicts that lowering the annual PM standard to the newly-proposed limit could require between US$124.2m-216m in capital expenditure and up to US$70m each year in additional operating costs. Instead, the PCA is encouraging the EPA to focus on scrutinising the greatest cause of PM emissions: unmanaged wildfires. 

Wildfires account for more than 30 per cent of primary PM emissions, whereas the US cement industry contributes only 0.1 per cent share of such emissions. A single wildfire event could negate the efforts of industry to meet the revised standard. In addition, through the hard work of regulated industry and government officials, PM emissions have been reduced by 37 per cent during the last two decades. This downward trend will continue through existing programmes, including the PM standards EPA retained in 2020. 

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: PCA USA North America emissions