The Portland Cement Association (PCA) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the portland cement National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
The statement below is attributable to Andy O’Hare, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Portland Cement Association, located in Skokie, Ill.
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“Following a review of the proposed modifications to the portland cement National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), released on April 21, 2009, PCA considers the standards unachievable and believes that they rely on technology applications and effectiveness assumptions not experienced at cement plants. PCA fears that plants may not be able to achieve the standards even after having made significant investments in emission control technologies.
“Accordingly, PCA is troubled that EPA has failed to consider proposed alternative approaches allowed by the Clean Air Act that would achieve the EPA's environmental objectives while ensuring the preservation of the U.S. cement industry. Particularly in light of the current economy, these modifications not only jeopardize the viability of the U.S. cement industry, but also the jobs and communities reliant on cement manufacturing. While PCA continues to work with the EPA on this initiative, moving forward the industry will be focused on pursuing more rational regulatory approaches.
“The proposed standards will create an inadequate domestic supply of one of the fundamental construction components of our growing infrastructure. Economic research data reports that by 2020 the nation will need to produce 30 percent more cement to meet anticipated demand created by economic recovery and population gains. The proposed standards will make it prohibitive for plants to make the modernization investments necessary to meet this demand and, as even the EPA acknowledges, will lead to forced closure of domestic plants that will create job losses and severe hardship in cities throughout the country.
“In 2008, 12 percent of our nation’s cement needs were met with imports. The reduction of domestic cement production resulting from these standards will cause the nation to become even more dependent on cement imports – a projected increase of more than 35 percent by 2020.
“If domestic manufacturing is displaced by cement manufactured in other countries, the net result could be no reduction in global emissions. Instead, our nation’s cement may come from countries that have limited environmental standards.
“In sum, PCA believes that the proposed changes will ensure neither global environmental protection nor keep domestic cement plants competitive in a global market place. Employing the greater flexibility allowed under the Clean Air Act would result in regulatory approaches that will achieve the desired environmental objectives while ensuring the viability of the domestic production of the cement necessary for constructing and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.
“For more than a decade, PCA has supported the rising demand for portland cement through environmentally and socially responsible business practices. PCA and its member companies are continually working to identify innovative ways to improve plant operations and implement state-of-the-art technologies to minimize emissions, promote a safe workplace, improve energy efficiency and conserve natural resources while cost-effectively producing a high-quality product.”
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.