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Ash Grove Cement Company files petition

World Cement,

Ash Grove Cement Company filed a petition for review of the US EPA’s Portland Cement NESHAP Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“The rule reduced or created emissions limits for mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. Of particular concern is the new emission limit for mercury, which is low and is not based on technology as the Clean Air Act specifies,” said Curtis Lesslie, Ash Grove’s Vice President, environmental affairs.

Ash Grove is especially concerned about continuing operations at Oregon’s sole cement manufacturing plant in Durkee, which previously reached an agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and other community stakeholders, to install the best known mercury control system in the world in July 2008. The US$ 20 million system was completed and began operation in July 2010.

According to Lesslie, “Ash Grove identified, engineered, constructed and operates what EPA recognises in its NESHAP rule as the cement manufacturing industry’s most cutting-edge mercury emission control technology. The company is achieving, three years in advance of any federal requirement to do so, mercury emissions reductions of nearly 90% in an area where the primary raw material, limestone, has high naturally-occurring levels of mercury. This level of mercury control is more than twice the level of control thought possible by EPA only four years ago. We and others asked the EPA in the rulemaking process to create a subcategory to address this issue, and despite widespread public support for a subcategory in eastern Oregon, the agency failed to exercise the approach outlined in the Clean Air Act for a subcategory that Congress intended to be used in exactly this circumstance.

“We continue to pursue all means with the federal government through the judicial, legislative and regulatory structures to ensure that Ash Grove can ‘keep the lights on at Durkee’ by recognising the limitations we face despite operating the best technology in the world. Today’s filing should signal that, in addition to the proactive steps our company takes in making investments in breakthrough environmental technology, we intend to demonstrate that the rule needs to be revised or the viability of our Durkee plant and others yet to be subject to this EPA rulemaking are threatened,” Lesslie added.

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