The Portland Cement Association (PCA) warns that should a newly proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) particulate matter (PM) standard take effect, building materials might not be readily available over the course of the next few years.
“The actual proposed reduction may seem small, but it would be an enormous change if put into practice. Meeting this change would not only hurt local communities, but it would also thwart the Biden administration’s flagship [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] goals,” the association said.
The proposed rule would lower the primary (health-based) annual fine particulate matter standard from the current level of 12 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) to within a range of 9 µg/m3 to 10 µg/m3.
To comply with the lower standard, U.S. manufacturers may have to cut back hours of operation, which would lead to fewer construction materials being produced, potential layoffs at manufacturing plants, and inevitable delays in construction.
In other words, if the administration chooses to move forward with the new EPA standard, it could be hindering its own plan to revamp the nation’s infrastructure – a $550-billion agenda –and the opportunities to provide building materials would be punted to the U.S. construction industry’s competitors overseas.
“The nation’s manufacturers are well-regulated. They have been for decades,” said PCA officials. “Costly new regulations would negatively impact the U.S. construction industry, ramp up sales in the U.S. for foreign competitors, and we would all witness the same presidential administration that worked so steadfastly to champion the IIJA become the very administration to stifle it.
The PCA, along with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, urge the Biden administration to withdraw the pending Proposed Reconsideration of the PM NAAQS.