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January 30, 2024

PCA Commends U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for Addressing Landfill Methane Emissions

PCA applauds the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for taking up the matter of methane emissions from landfills in a hearing this week, which PCA hopes will result in policies that would accelerate cement manufacturers’ progress toward carbon neutrality -- a big win, that would protect the environment and enhance America’s energy security.

Read PCA’s letter to the committee below:

January 29, 2024
The Honorable Tom Carper; Chairman
The Honorable Shelly Moore Capito; Ranking Member
Environment and Public Works Committee
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito:
The Portland Cement Association (PCA) appreciates you holding the hearing titled Examining the Avoiding, Detecting, and Capturing Methane Emissions from Landfills. This hearing is necessary to evaluate federal policy actions relating to the plastic and other solid waste challenges that we face across our economy. Congress should take diverse and flexible approaches to waste disposal that will minimize landfilling while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

PCA and its members appreciate the Environment and Public Works Committee’s support of the cement industry in recent years, particularly your support of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
PCA’s members represent the majority of cement production capacity in the United States and serve nearly every congressional district. The cement and concrete industry contribute over $100 billion to the U.S. economy and employs over 600,000 people. Our industry has pledged to become carbon neutral across the cement and concrete value chain by 2050.

Cement – the principal ingredient in concrete – makes civilization possible. The mixture of portland cement, aggregate, and water makes the building material concrete. Concrete is essential to the modern world. It is used in the pipes and facilities that deliver clean water, to build the ports necessary for world trade, to construct mass transit systems connecting people, and in the buildings we work and live in.
We appreciate the Committee’s considerable direction and resources that it has given federal agencies to help manufacturers reduce their greenhouse emissions. Those investments are helping technologies like carbon capture mature, however, a significant amount of time is still needed before those technologies are commercially viable. While major technological advances are necessary, there are smaller tools for manufacturers to reduce their emissions, such as using lower carbon fuels. Many cement manufacturers must continue to utilize traditional fuels, like coal and petroleum, because of regulatory barriers to alternative fuels, including, biomass, fabrics/fibers, tires, & plastic, that have fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Coal and coke have
1 Portland Cement Association, Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality, October 2021
carbon dioxide (CO₂) factors that range from 93 to 113 kg CO₂ per million British thermal units (mm BTU). For alternative fuels, the emissions range from 75 to 90 kg CO₂ per mm BTU².

Cement kilns provide an effective and environmentally sound solution that avoids landfilling these materials, benefiting the cement industry and society. Since 1990, the industry has reduced its use of traditional fossil fuels by over 15% by using alternative fuels. Reducing legal and regulatory barriers to allow kilns to increase usage of lower-carbon alternative fuels to replace traditional fuels, can help minimize kiln CO₂ combustion emissions.

The U.S. lags well behind the European Union (EU) in its adoption of alternative fuels, reflecting fundamental differences in the regulation of industrial manufacturing. The EU’s approach to conserving, recovering, and using secondary materials, and the EU’s use of all available levers to discourage landfilling drives CO₂ emission reductions.
We see a similar tremendous opportunity in the U.S. to reduce emissions with the right policies. The federal government can facilitate additional technical research to analyze the waste and non-hazardous secondary materials streams to ensure that alternative fuels have similar heating values and lower CO₂ emissions profiles when compared to traditional fossil fuels. Following such research, we hope that Congress can make pragmatic changes to federal environmental policies that will provide for increased alternative fuel usage while responsibly protecting the environment and enhancing America’s energy security.

Again, thank you for your leadership and the opportunity to weigh in on federal policies for tackling solid waste disposal. PCA hopes to collaborate on realistic solutions to this challenge. If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please feel free to contact PCA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Sean O’Neill, at

Sean O’Neill
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
Portland Cement Association

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