The Portland Cement Association (PCA) yesterday filed legal briefs with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals addressing the cement industry's challenge to the portland cement national emission standard for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP).
The NESHAP rule was finalized by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 54970). It establishes new, very stringent standards addressing particulate matter, hydrochloric acid, total hydrocarbons and mercury. The compliance date for the cement industry is September 9, 2013.
PCA filed a challenge to the rule in November 2010, taking issue with a number of details, including how the agency developed the standards and the overlap between the NESHAP rule and other EPA rules, among other matters.
"The cement industry, already one of the most heavily regulated industrial sectors, has continually demonstrated its commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. It has invested tens of billions of dollars in modernizing and expanding facilities with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly reduce the industry's environmental footprint," said Brian McCarthy, PCA CEO and president. "However, the unprecedented severity of these rules, if they are left unchanged, will cause cement plant closures, job losses and a reduction in U.S. cement production capacity."
Although last week the EPA formally agreed to reconsider a number of technical issues in the NESHAP, it regrettably declined to revisit those issues with the greatest potential impact on the industry. These more significant issues include the emission standards themselves and their relationship to the raw materials used to make cement as well as the regulatory confusion created by an EPA rule designed for incinerators (completed by EPA in March 2011).