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PCA Files Petitions for Reconsideration and Review of Industry Air Standard

World Cement,

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has filed a Petition for Reconsideration and Administrative Stay with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a number of issues in the final Portland cement National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

The NESHAP rule, signed by the EPA in August, was published in the Federal Register as a final rule on 9 September 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 54970). The rule will require Portland cement facilities to limit emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. The compliance date for the cement industry is 9 September 2013.

"PCA supports the rising demand for Portland cement through environmentally and socially responsible business practices," said Brian McCarthy, PCA CEO and president. "The NESHAP emission limits are very low and will not be achievable by a number of facilities. We are concerned that the rule presents a significant threat to the continued viability of many cement companies, high paying jobs at cement facilities and the local communities."

According to PCA, the final rule included regulations that it and other interested parties were not afforded the opportunity to comment on, including the insertion into the final rule requirements for open clinker piles at cement manufacturing facilities and proposed startup, shutdown and malfunction standards.

In addition to the NESHAP, there are numerous additional regulatory requirements anticipated to affect the industry during the coming years. For example, on 4 June 2010, EPA proposed definition rules for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator (CISWI). This rule could undermine the statistical foundation of the NESHAP rule by switching classification of cement facilities from NESHAP facilities to CISWI-regulated facilities and obviating every one of the calculations that EPA relied upon to establish the NESHAP standards.

Compliance with current and proposed EPA regulations for the cement industry could add a minimum of US$ 26/t to domestic cement production costs by 2020.

"These and other rule flaws validate our request for both reconsideration of the rule and a stay of its implementation," McCarthy said. "If left unchanged, there is potential for additional cement plant closures, job losses and a reduction in US cement production capacity."

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