North / South America
EPA air toxics compliance date pushed back to 2015-Lafarge responds
Jul, 18 2012
(RAVENA, New York) -- While Lafarge Ravena continues to move forward with plant modernization, the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced their proposal of stricter air toxicity standards for cement plants will have to wait until 2015, according to a June 22, 2012 EPA Fact Sheet.
The EPA Fact Sheet states, “Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.”
Grassroots organization Friends Of Hudson (FOH) President Christopher Reed commented on the additional two-year waiting period. “We’re very disappointed with that decision. We had hoped for a level playing field to be established sooner for all cement companies to conform to.”
Lafarge Ravena Environmental Manager John Reagan said that a meeting with FOH members and a tour of the plant would be provided on July 10. “We will provide a meeting and a plant tour” that Reagan said would be “informative and reach out to organizations as we have done in the past.”
The compliance date as stated in the June EPA proposal was moved back from an original 2013 date to the new September 2015 start date. The EPA Fact Sheet states, “The EPA would extend the compliance deadline.”
According to the fact sheet, proposed amendments to air toxics standards “will reduce air emissions of mercury, non-dioxin organic air toxics, hydrochloric acid and non-mercury toxic metals measured as particulate matter from both new and existing kilns.”
An official statement from Lafarge North America states that the EPA “recognizes these changes necessitate additional time to allow each of our cement plants affected by the change in standards to complete any planning, engineering and construction that may be necessary.”
Lafarge North America “supports EPA’s proposal to revise the emission standard for particulate matter”, according to the formal statement.
Attorney Jim Pew with the non-profit public interest law firm Earthjustice commented, “People who are already vulnerable, such as senior citizens, people with existing respiratory diseases and children with asthma” are given less protection under the new amendment.
Reed said that FOH has been “working closely with Earthjustice and other environmental organizations to represent citizens concerned with mercury emissions. We’re all upset that the EPA took this decision at this time.”
The EPA proposal states, “The agency believes additional compliance time is warranted to allow the cement industry to reassess its emission control strategies in light of the proposed changes.” It also states, “EPA is seeking comment on the length of the proposed compliance extension.”
The EPA estimates that across the country, “a result of reduction in fine particle pollution” includes “the value of avoiding 960 to 2,500 premature deaths in people with heart disease”, and “will prevent other serious health effects each year”, according to an earlier EPA fact sheet on “final amendments to national air toxics emission standards and new source performance standards for Portland Cement Manufacturing” under the subheading “Benefits and Costs”.
The completion date for construction upgrades to the Lafarge Ravena cement plant is slated for the end of 2014.
By: Barbara Reina
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