July 2009 – AggBeat
by Kerry Clines, Senior Editor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final rule on April 21 to reinstate the 500-pound threshold for certain industrial facilities that report under the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). According to a press release from the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, this final rule reinstates TRI reporting requirements that were replaced by the Bush administration EPA’s TRI Burden Reduction Rule in December 2006. The Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed by President Obama on March 11, 2009, mandated that prior TRI reporting requirements be reestablished. This much stricter stance will have an effect on those operations that also own asphalt and ready-mixed concrete plants that report their use of certain toxic substances. The rule also requires companies that have submitted data for 2008 under the Bush rules to resubmit under the older, stricter requirements.
More information about the new reporting requirements can be found on the EPA Web site, www.epa.gov/tri/.
Along this same line, the Obama administration is proposing sharp reductions in airborne pollution from cement plants, including first-ever limits on mercury from 163 older kilns in 35 states. According to news.moneycentral.msn.com, the EPA says the rules also would lead to steep cuts in emissions of other toxins such as hydrochloric acid, hydrocarbons, soot, and sulfur dioxide. The regulation also seeks to step up monitoring of mercury and develop a more accurate means of demonstrating compliance with soot limits. The EPA estimates that the rules would slash mercury emissions from kilns by 80 to 93 percent, and reduce hydrochloric acid and soot by more than 90 percent.
According to the article, the proposed rule — unless revised — will be published soon and will become final in a year. The EPA will have a 60-day public comment period and a hearing, if requested. Once the regulations are final, the industry will have three years to comply. The Portland Cement Association says it plans to review the proposal.
On a more positive note, the construction industry accounts for less than 1 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal environmental data from the EPA. In a press release from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the AGCA said, “This data shows that we aren’t just constructing cleaner projects, we’re building a cleaner construction industry.” He added that contractors around the country are taking steps to further reduce their emissions and urged other companies to follow suit.
The AGCA urged companies nationwide to review a report titled Potential for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Construction Sector for more suggestions on ways to reduce emissions. The report can be found online at www.epa.gov/sectors/pdf/construction-sector-report.pdf.
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