Brick industry opposes proposed regulation

Published 8:51am Friday, November 15, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to introduce emission regulations that could cause Henry Brick to spend millions of dollars.

A Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for brick and structural clay processes is scheduled for proposal on Feb. 6, 2014 and for finalization on Dec. 18, 2014. The EPA is required to set the standards under the Clean Air Act.

Though the contents of the regulations haven’t been revealed, Henry Brick President Davis Henry said the contents are likely to include a 99-percent capture rate requirement and mercury being included as a pollutant. Henry said it would take about $8 million for his company to comply with the new regulations. The company currently captures 94 percent of its emissions.

“The scary thing is that jobs are potentially at risk,” he said. “Increasing our capture rate by another five percent is not going to mean anything to the environment in Selma. We are the local story, but there are a lot of folks that are going to be impacted.”

A statement from the EPA said the regulations are necessary because no current rules exist to control emissions, but the MACT rule would be the second introduced recently.

In 2003, the EPA issued a brick MACT that cost the industry $100 million, according to a release from U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions. In 2007, the rule was struck down by a federal court, meaning the regulations were not in effect.

By that time, most companies had already updated their equipment and Henry is worried the cost implementing the previous MACT won’t be considered in new regulations.

Henry and other brick industry representatives traveled to Washington D.C. this week to express concerns.

Sessions has already taken note of the potential effects.

“I am concerned that, if crafted imprudently, EPA’s new brick MACT rules could cause an enormous burden to fall on our brick manufacturers and could harm their ability to compete in the marketplace,” he said. “These jobs are critical to our national economy. The result of over-regulation would be unnecessary cost increases for bricks that would ripple through the economy.”

 

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