From Cement Americas/Portland Cement Association June 2010:
This joint Cement Americas/Portland Cement Association (PCA) webinar addresses the proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) portland cement national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP), and the potentially devastating impact these new standards may have on the cement and concrete industries.The big boys are getting nervous about tighter regulations on their industry. The "potentially devastating impacts" they are "fear-mongering" with are solely based on profits and the realization they won't be able to continue business as usual, i.e. being big polluters. Even they admit that production is "running at less than 60% capacity" due to economic conditions and the decrease in building.
Combined with the current economic downturn and recent severe weather events that have had a significant impact on U.S. cement production—which is currently running at less than 60 percent capacity—the proposed NESHAP rules could potentially result in the shut down of even more cement plants at a time when demand is forecasted to increase substantially in the coming years.
The anticipated details of the rule will be described, and the potential economic impact on the U.S. cement industry will be addressed by two PCA experts—Andrew T. O’Hare, CAE, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs; and Edward J. Sullivan, Chief Economist.
The webinar has been scheduled to take place just prior to the White House Office of Management and Budget review of the draft final NESHAP rule, with the hope that attendees will contact specific White House and EPA personnel to address their concerns.
Globally, production is also down as a result of the economic downturn facing foreign markets and foreseeable economist trends are not positive, but the insider industry trends go the other way.
To fatten up their bottom lines, (and behinds) these industries are all lined up at the trough of government stimulus money to stay plump and rosy, and are attempting to influence the White House OMB and the EPA by broadcasting their "webinar" just prior to White House OMB review. Note that they say "with the hope that attendees will contact specific White House and EPA personnel." "Specific personnel" means what exactly? Is there a list of WH "friendlies" easily reached by these industry attendees?
The EPA came down hard on wet cement kiln companies in Texas in the last two months and shut them down. We have to hope that the EPA has had an epiphany of sorts on this industry and will continue to hold a concrete line with them; shape up or shut down.
In Alabama, largely due to the destructive force that is Governor Riley, our environment and citizens are still at the mercy of the cement industry who enjoys free range to pollute Alabama's environment. ADEM acts like an enforcer by citing EPA regulatory violations when they do decide to slap these industries, but cave in and issue "consent orders" which are nothing more than mutually negotiated fines and lengthy extensions of compliance time.
ADEM won't take the offenders to court in an effort to "not waste tax payer dollars on compliance litigation," but they seem take a harsher stance and do threaten litigation if the fines aren't paid. Add that to the list of reasons why ADEM is nothing more than an enabler of big business and follows the orders of the Alabama Governor's office, which is hell bent on industrializing every inch of Alabama.
The recent words of Governor Riley from the Birmingham News July 12, 2010:
Riley called on economic developers to help the next governor and Legislature continue with the initiatives and the policies that promote economic development.
"You're living in a state today that is going to become the standard for economic development over the next 10 to 15 years," Riley said. "Ladies and gentlemen, Alabama's going to be fun to watch. Never again will Alabama take a back seat to any other state."
Riley, who is leaving office after two terms, has racked up a record of economic development victories.
There are a number of Alabama communities that will tell you this has not at all been "fun to watch" Mr. Riley. What you have done to the citizens and environment of Alabama is almost criminal, and in fine keeping with the "New Mule/Big Mule" tradition of profit over people every time.
If the EPA does not step in and hold these "fun to watch industries" in check and force them to comply with their regulations, all of Alabama will take a back seat to any chance of existing in a decent community, free from the onslaught of the big corporate polluters and the contemptible PR men and lobbyists who act as their hired guns. Riley is calling on these unpropitious forces "to help the next governor and Legislature continue with the initiatives and the policies that promote economic development."
In other words, carry on the BARD tradition fellas, in my honor and with my blessings.
Cement plants and lime production plants are among the worst polluters, according to the EPA records, and are usually situated right near the heart of cities and in close proximity to the community schools.
Take Leeds, Alabama for example. It is a beautiful little town that has worked hard to revitalize and restore their downtown area by renovating older buildings and meticulously landscaping street corners. It has a charm that is immediately evident and is representative of many small town American cities. It might be a "place to call home" and is, on the first glance, an appealing and desirable community to raise a family in and put down roots.
Until you notice the huge behemoth of the Lehigh Portland Cement plant looming for blocks one street over from the downtown thoroughfare.