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The EPA puts concrete shoes on the cement industry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has slowly become one of the most activist agencies in our federal government. They have implemented regulation after regulation, bypassing Congress to enforce their own liberal agenda.

In fact, according to a recent investigation by Daily Caller, these new regulations are expected to require 230,000 new employees at the EPA and cost American taxpayers $21 billion.

House Republicans have been working diligently to curb this overreach by the EPA, but it’s going to be a long battle.

Two weeks ago, I discussed EPA regulations that impact power plants and how that could affect people in Georgia and across the country. This week, I want to highlight a group of regulations known as the Cement MACT rules.

Cement MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rules

Portland cement is a type of cement created by grinding base materials and heating them in kilns to a high temperature. The EPA has proposed new regulations on kiln emissions, which would severely impact the cement industry. The cement industry is already one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country.

Potential Impact on Jobs and the Economy

These new regulations set emission levels at unreachable levels and are expected to result in 18 plant closings, approximately 11 percent of production. The estimated $3.4 billion price tag over the next three years – which totals half of the entire industry’s annual revenues – would lead to at least 4,000 lost jobs and to increased costs.

In fact, a recent study by the Portland Cement Association estimates these regulations would raise the cost of state and local road projects between $1.2 billion and $2 billion annually.

At a time when we should be improving our roadways, states already suffering from the economic dip would not be able to afford these increased costs to build new roads.

In addition, the cement industry plays a vital role in the construction industry – an area that has been disproportionately hard-hit by our stagnant economy. With rising construction costs directly caused by these new regulations, it is estimated 12,000 to 19,000 construction jobs could be lost.

The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act

This [past] week, the House passed H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act with large bipartisan support. This legislation would stop the EPA from implementing three of their proposed regulations on the cement industry and would require EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to draft new rules that set achievable standards and that give cement producers five years to implement.

We have sent this bill to the Senate and I strongly encourage them to pass this bill and send it immediately to President Obama for his signature. We must stop the EPA from regulating American companies into the grave.

Next week on Regulatory Roundup, I will talk about the EPA’s regulations governing boilers known as the Boiler MACT rules and H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act.

Note: Initially, this week’s report would have covered the Boiler MACT rules, however the House pushed the vote on H.R. 2250 to next week. But it will be highlighted next week.

[Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-3rd District) was first elected to Congress in 2004 and currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He lives in Grantville.]


MACT's middle name is achievable.

MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology)

All of the standards are achievable with commercial off the shelf (COTS) solutions.

No doubt that much of the big industry in this country has fought EPA regulation since Republican President Richard M. Nixon signed it into existence in 1972. Then the American Bald eagle was near extinction, decimated by DDT poisoning and the Peregrine falcon had disappeared from in the USA east of the Mississippi river. At that time breathing air in NYC was equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

No doubt back then there was the cry of business killer regulations. And somehow business survived.

Consider when lead was eliminated from gasoline. Some made it sound likethe world would come to and end, but it didn't.

Adoption of the standards is a job creator. There are numerous firms in Georgia ready to implement the necessary industrial process controls. Dozens if not hundred of jobs will be supported by the new standards.

Adherence to old technology is a recipe for failure that the USA cannot afford. For example, stream railroad is technologically feasible even today, but you just do not see it any more.

In many cases the necessary modernization, will have the effect of helping USA industry to stay competitive. In the 1970s Big Steel in the USA failed to modernize. Where is Big Steel in the USA today ? So on the surface, opposing the adoption of regulation for industrial process control may seem like advocating for business, likely it is just the opposite.

An open minded approach will help us all. If I am insightful and innovative in my adoption of technology I help my business and the community in which I live. So a vote against modern standards for industrial processes in the USA may end up being a vote against the future of the country itself.

Please consider open mind options that can benefit us all.


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