The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
The Portland Cement Association (PCA) on March 15 released a new study showing that the cumulative impact of seven different existing or proposed regulatory standards from the Environmental Protection Agency would severely hamper the industry and the economy in exchange for minimal environmental benefit.
One regulation alone — the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants — will force the industry to shut down 18 plants and source cement from other counties, the study found, with the loss of as many as 4,000 jobs in the cement industry.
“The EPA is now imposing emission levels five to 12 times stricter than Europe,” said Aris Papadopoulos, CEO of Titan America and chair of PCA.
“Such excessive regulation will shift production, investment and jobs offshore to countries like China,” he said.
“Already the world’s largest cement producer, China’s standards have a long way to go before they catch up to what the U.S. has, even before these recent EPA regulations. In the end, we don’t even improve air quality in the United States, as their emissions will eventually reach us.”
Cost increases in the manufacture of cement and concrete resulting from compliance with the EPA is likely to displace some construction activity, with an estimated potential direct job loss in the construction sector of 12,000 to 19,000 jobs, according to the study.
The largest consumer of cement and concrete in the nation is the public sector for the purpose of building infrastructure.
PCA calculates that EPA compliance costs could add as much as $1.2 to $2 billion annually to state and local governments’ expenditures just to maintain existing roadways and bridges.
Expected plant shutdowns stemming from the regulations are likely to lead to reliance upon imports, the study adds.
By 2050, the nation would be importing 56% of its cement needs, the study says, compared to less than 10% last year.