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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.]

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