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PCA applauds court decision on Portland cement NESHAP standards

Published by , Editor - Hydrocarbon Engineering
World Cement,

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected a challenge by environmental groups against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revision of the Portland cement NESHAP standards. Plant operators are required to comply with the new regulations by September 2015. The opposing groups, which included the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, stated that the new emissions standards were not strict enough.

In response to the court’s decision, Gregory M. Scott, President and CEO of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), released the following statement:

“The PCA is very pleased that the D.C. Circuit panel supported the EPA’s revised Portland cement NESHAP standards and the Agency’s revision of the cement NESHAP compliance date. The compliance date reset is providing PCA members with the additional time needed to comply with the NESHAP standards. Such time is essential to properly complete the planning, engineering, permitting, testing and construction of the various new technologies that will be necessary to implement the revised standards.

“The EPA’s revised cement NESHAP rule struck the right balance in establishing compliance limits that, while still extremely challenging, are realistic and achievable. The court agreed with the EPA’s balancing of these important issues. The revised standards and compliance period are essential to preserving jobs at domestic cement facilities, providing direct support for an American manufacturing industry that is critical to our nation’s infrastructure.

"The PCA is disappointed that the court did not support that portion of the EPA’s revised cement NESHAP rule that established an affirmative defence with respect to emissions during the start-up, shutdown or malfunction (SSM) of a cement manufacturing plant. How the EPA can address the complex issue of SSM will have to be re-examined in light of the court’s decision. The court also did not address states' ability to enact such affirmative defences. The PCA looks forward to working with the EPA on achieving a positive result on the SSM issue in the near future.

“The PCA supports meeting the demand for Portland cement through environmentally and socially responsible business practices, which have been implemented for decades by our member companies in their local communities. The industry has invested in technology to reduce air emissions, minimise waste production, recycle and recover inputs, enhance energy efficiency and conserve natural resources – all the while producing a reliable and affordable supply of building materials to support our economy.

“The PCA and its member companies are continually working to identify innovative ways to improve plant operations and implement state-of-the-art technologies to minimise emissions, promote a safe workplace, improve energy efficiency and conserve natural resources while cost-effectively producing a high quality product.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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