A bipartisan group of House lawmakers, including Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Mike Ross (D-AR), introduced legislation on July 28 that would protect the cement industry from expensive and unachievable air quality regulations. According to a press release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2681) directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “develop achievable and workable standards for the nation’s cement manufacturing facilities, replacing a series of complex rules affecting the sector that are projected to impose significant costs, and force plant shutdowns and job losses.”

Specifically, the bill addresses three rules impacting the nation’s Portland cement manufacturing facilities, including the Cement MACT rule, regulations impacting commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units and regulations impacting non-hazardous secondary materials. The Portland Cement Association (PCA) estimates the rules could cost over $5.4 billion, may cause 18 plants to shut down by 2013 and will put thousands of high-paying manufacturing and construction jobs at risk.

 Manufacturers believe this legislation is needed to rein in the EPA’s aggressive regulatory program, which will severely cripple an industry that is critical to U.S. construction and economic recovery. We urge similar action in the Senate. Just yesterday, in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 25 Senators called for legislative action on behalf of the cement industry.