Will we get two more years for emissions compliance?
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The EPA proposes to delay air-quality rules on portland cement for two years, which just might give the industry more time to recover from the economy.
By Tina Grady Barbaccia, News and Digital Editor
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may give operations a reprieve with its proposed amendments to air-quality rules that the agency set in 2010 to regulate cement manufacturing.
In late June, the EPA proposed delaying implementation of the rules of the portland cement National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) by two years, from 2013 to 2015. The rules are intended to limit toxic emissions that occur naturally in the production process, according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA).
The EPA and industry representatives contend that postponing implementation will give businesses already struggling because of the economy more time to comply with the costly changes, according to a July 5 report in the Daily Journal of Commerce.
However, according to the report, environmental groups argue that implementation is already 10 years overdue and that further delay will result in thousands of deaths.
Andy O’Hare, vice president of regulatory affairs for the PCA, notes that the industry does not have any issues with implementing emissions regulations, but he says the timing is not ideal with the current economy.
He also points out that the EPA’s proposed amendments would change the way particulate matter is monitored and could significantly reduce the economic damage — to about $2.5 billion, according to the report.
“Although the EPA has proposed to do this [delay the date], they haven’t finalized it, so we still have a ways to go before it is a done deal,” O’Hare tells Aggregates Manager. “EPA is planning to finalize it in December. We won’t know until then about the final decision, but we are certainly hopeful. The industry certainly needs it.”
Cement consumption is way down from previous years, he says. “It’s about 35 percent off from 2005,” O’Hare says. “A good number of U.S. cement plants are sitting idle or operating way below capacity. We think this additional time will accomplish a lot of things.”
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