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Public Statements

Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BARTON of Texas. I thank the distinguished subcommittee chairman.

I listened with interest to Mr. Waxman's remarks. Sometimes, when there's not a lot you can say substantively against an issue, you just put a lot of stuff out there and hope something sticks; and I would have to characterize most of his remarks as hoping that some of what he said sticks.

The bill that he just spoke against is only 8 pages long. It's just 8 pages. And here's the gist of the bill. It asks the EPA, or directs the EPA, to go back and spend 12 to 15 months to take a look at the rule that it was about to propose, in other words, to go back and reanalyze it. I don't think that's gutting the Clean Air Act.

Then it extends the compliance deadline for an additional 3 to 5 years. Now, that's substantive. That could result in some additional time, which I think is a good thing. But that, in and of itself, shouldn't be a showstopper.

And then it asks that the EPA, when they adopt these new rules, to make sure that it's still allowable for cement manufacturing to use alternative fuels. Well, last time I looked, the Democratic Party was big on alternative fuels and supporting loan guarantees to develop those fuels, so that shouldn't be a showstopper.

Then, finally, it says, whatever rule that you eventually adopt, you have to be able to implement it in the real world. Now, that is an amazing thing, that we want a regulation to be promulgated that you can actually achieve with real-world technology. In Texas, that's called common sense. I'm not sure what it's called up here.

That's the bill. That's the bill. It's an 8-page bill.

Now, Mr. Waxman also said that we've had 100 votes trying to do terrible things to the environment in this Congress. We've not had one vote, ladies and gentlemen, that changed an existing statute that's already in place, an existing standard. All these votes that my good friend from California talks about are a time-out and saying, wait a minute, before we make them even tighter, let's make sure they make sense.

We've got an economy that's reeling. We've got unemployment at 10 percent. The compliance cost of this plethora of EPA regulations is in the billions of dollars annually. Billions. Billions. This particular Cement MACT rule, if implemented, would shutter somewhere between 15 to 20 percent of cement production in the United States. That's not trivial, folks. That's real.

So what those of us that support the bill are saying is: Let's take a second look at it. Let's make sure that the rules have time to be implemented. Let's let alternative fuels be used, and let's let whatever regulation is ultimately implemented actually be achievable in the real world.

I think that's worthy of support, and I would ask my friends on both sides of the aisle to support this when it comes up for a vote, I would assume sometime tomorrow probably. We've got 20-something amendments, so we're going to be here debating it.

But this is a good piece of legislation. It's common sense. It would help our economy, and we would still get additional regulation that makes sense for cement kilns.


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