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Bill Radke: The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a crackdown on hazardous emissions from the nation’s cement plants. The agency holds a public hearing today in Dallas, one of three nationwide. As Sarah Gardner reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, one of the main targets is mercury.
Sarah Gardner: The EPA is proposing new rules that would drastically cut mercury emissions from cement plants — up to 90 percent from current levels by 2013.
Jim Pew is an attorney for Earth Justice. That’s a nonprofit law firm that sued the EPA over this issue more than a decade ago.
Jim Pew: We simply can’t go on having cement plants put more than 10 tons a year of mercury into our environment.
Mercury can wind up in the fish we eat and damage the nervous system. But the new EPA rules would also cap three other pollutants, including soot.
Andy O’Hare is a cement industry spokesman. He says the regulations would be too stringent.
Andy O’Hare: We’d hate to see a circumstance where cement manufacturers are forced to close their plants and then we are subjected to, you know, imported supplies of cement.
Still, a cement plant in eastern Oregon is already gearing up to install experimental technology aimed at cutting its mercury emissions 75 percent.
I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.
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