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Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2681, a bill designed to prevent the collapse of a strategic domestic industry, the United States cement industry.

About a year ago, I became active on this issue and made it a priority of mine to help save the American cement industry and the hardworking Americans at work in those industries. Some have questioned my motives, and they are welcome to do that. But for me it's as simple as this: The new regulations on the cement industry is the wrong rule at the wrong time. It asks too much too soon. NESHAP is a rule based on questionable science and promises to export American jobs and, ultimately, result in the import of pollution from other countries.

The U.S. cement industry is suffering through the greatest decline since the 1930s, with current employment down to a mere 15,000 jobs and less than $6.5 billion in 2010 annual revenues. This represents a 25 percent reduction in employment and over a 35 percent reduction in revenues from prerecession levels. The cement and concrete product manufacturing sectors combined have shed more than 62,000 jobs between 2005 and 2009.

At this critical time when the cement industry can least afford significant investments from new mandates, analysts estimate this single EPA rule would cost $3.4 billion in compliance costs, representing approximately half of the cement industry's annual revenues. This is very onerous. Let us repeat, Mr. Chairman, the NESHAP rule will cost $3.4 billion compliance costs out of a $6.5 billion annual revenue. That's over 50 percent of the industry's revenues.

Now, if you own a cement plant, where is the money for compliance costs going to come from? Probably from closing down a plant, stalling plans for the construction of new plants, and laying off American workers in high-paying jobs. The average low job in this industry is around $60,000 a year, and they go up from there.

Common sense is the missing ingredient in NESHAP. In fact, at the same time that the EPA finalized the NESHAP emission standards last fall, we just saw a chart that the European Union had just issued their own compliance standards, and the EPA standards are five times more stringent than the famous model of the European Union. So what's wrong with this picture?

Speaking of common sense, if you want to remember that map that we just looked at, the map that shows you all the colors, the red part of that map represents between 80 and 100 percent of the estimated mercury deposits, and they're all from foreign sources.

So, Mr. Chairman, this is the wrong rule at the wrong time, and what we are doing here fixes this problem and gives us time to study

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