Cement Plant Standards Upheld, but Carbon Pollution Still Unchecked

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington issued its decision today in cases challenging EPA's September 2010 Clean Air Act standards for dangerous pollution from more than 100 cement plants across the nation.

The Court largely rejected industry challenges to the public health protection standards for mercury, soot, and other dangerous pollutants coming from these cement plants.  These important health standards will go into effect as scheduled while EPA reconsiders on one minor issue that the court recognized could even result in stronger standards.  EPA projects that each year these standards will save as many as 2,500 lives and prevent up to 17,000 heart attacks and 130,000 days of lost productivity (i.e., days when people miss work).  The American people will receive up to $19 in public health benefits for every $1 in industry compliance costs.

NRDC is disappointed that the Court refused, on jurisdictional grounds, to address EPA’s failure to curb cement plants’ emissions of another dangerous pollutant, carbon dioxide.  EPA found that cement plants are the nation's third largest industrial source of carbon pollution, emitting 87 million tons every year, and that there are available, affordable control measures.  Yet EPA promised only vaguely to act sometime in the future.  The Court ruled that we have to take our plea to end EPA's delay to a district court.  We are considering our next steps.