WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced its support today for a study conducted by King’s College London which highlights how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to implement strict new National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) rules on the U.S. cement manufacturing industry could result in unaccounted-for effects on the U.S. economy and global environmental health.
The paper was released on March 30, 2010, at a panel discussion sponsored by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Lisa Jaeger, WCEE member and former acting general counsel, U.S. EPA, the panel included study author Ragnar Löfstedt, PhD, director of King’s Centre for Risk Management, King’s College London; and Amanda Leiter, associate professor, Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America; the panel examined the study’s findings and debated the implications of the EPA’s proposed rules.
“EPA'S Proposed NESHAP for Portland Cement: Ignoring The Risk-Risk Trade-Off” builds a case for reexamination of the proposed rule based on historical evidence and research that suggests the EPA did not take certain risk factors into consideration. Those risk factors include U.S. economic stability, risk-risk trade off, lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and global plant emissions.
“The EPA’s NESHAP rules seek to further reduce the emissions from cement manufacturing plants operating on U.S. soil. PCA member companies meet, and often surpass, current EPA emissions standards,” said Brian McCarthy, president and CEO, PCA. “However, by imposing these new, untested regulations, many plants will be forced to close or drastically reduce their supply output. If the rules are implemented as they currently stand, then we can expect a rise in cement imports, resulting in a sharp increase in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, global cement plant emissions and yet another blow to the U.S. economy.”
According to the study, forcing cement plants to comply with the new regulations will shift much of the supply burden offshore to countries like China, the world’s largest cement producer. Of particular concern is the argument that Chinese-manufactured cement does not meet the same high environmental performance and quality standards as U.S.-manufactured cement. The study cites one example from Beijing’s China University which estimates that less than 10 percent of China’s environmental laws are actually enforced. By pushing production to another country with less regulations and standards, global plant emissions and lifecycle greenhouse gases will increase, negating the efforts of the EPA to foster a cleaner environment.
“It is imperative that the EPA consider the effects of the increase in global emissions of pollutants from cement plants overseas resulting from the imposition of stringent domestic standards, said Professor Löfstedt. “The EPA's final rule should take proper measures to account for risk transfer and ensure that this regulation does not cause serious harm to a major sector of the domestic economy for a minimal environmental benefit.”
Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at www.cement.org.