In September 2010, the EPA established new standards for cement kilns that would drastically reduce the amount of mercury, hydrochloric acid, particulate matter and other harmful pollutants currently emitted by cement kilns. These new regulations are slated to go into effect in 2013 and will bring enormous benefits to human health, the environment, and will yield billions of dollars in health benefits by cutting toxic air pollution from cement plants.
Recently, however, Rep. John Carter (R-TX) is trying to build support for a congressional resolution to undo these EPA regulations before they have even gone into effect. These rules are long overdue: the EPA was actually required to set these standards for cement plants 13 years ago.
These regulations will reduce numerous toxins currently emitted by cement plants that can cause cancer, neurological problems, respiratory problems, cardiac problems, birth defects, and other medical ailments that can be catastrophic to human health. The EPA estimates that with these new cement plant standards, as many as 2,500 premature deaths will be avoided each year, and as much as $18 billion in health care costs will be saved just by reducing fine particulate matter emissions. And those numbers don't even include the health and savings benefits for the reduction of mercury, hydrochloric acid, hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxides which the EPA has not yet quantified.
The technology is here now and the cement industry can afford it. American companies build this equipment and America workers will be ones installing, operating, and maintaining it. These standards are not going to kill jobs - on the contrary, the EPA has estimated that the net effect of the rules could actually create jobs. Approximately 80% of the cement manufacturing capacity in American is owned by large foreign corporations (including French owned Lafarge in Ravena) with ample resources to install better pollution controls. Both Lafarge and Swiss owned Holcim are expected to report over $1billion in net income for 2010.
Rep. Carter's resolution would endanger thousands of Americans and waste billions of dollars every year. Even worse, if Carter succeeds, the EPA would be prevented from ever pursuing a similar pollution standard in the future.
Please take a few moments to contact your US Congressman and ask them to reject this outrageous attempt to allow one of our nation's dirtiest industries to have a free pass to pollute the air, harm human health, and cost this country billions in avoidable health care costs.
One easy way to help is to go here and send a message to Congress set up by Earthjustice.