House GOP to hit EPA regulations on cement, boilers next week

The cement bill, from Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), would require the EPA to take another 15 months to issue rules related to cement plant emissions, extend the compliance period from three years to five years, and require EPA to ensure that the rules are achievable by U.S. cement plants. The bill affects three specific EPA rules, including one titled "National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry and Standards of Performance for Portland Cement Plants," also known as "Cement MACT."

"There has been widespread concern within the cement sector about the costs and feasibility of implementing these rules as currently written," according to the House report accompanying the cement bill. "The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 is designed to give EPA the time and parameters it needs to develop standards for cement manufacturing plants that will protect public health and the environment without undue threat of cement plant shutdowns and the associated loss of thousands of jobs across the United States."

The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is similar in that it extends compliance time for commercial and industrial boilers, and requires EPA to take another 15 months to "re-propose" four rules affecting boilers known together as the "Boiler MACT" rules. This will was sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.).

The House Rules Committee is expected on Monday afternoon to approve rules governing floor debate for both bills, which would allow the House to consider both the rule and the two bills as early as Tuesday.

Just last week, the House approved legislation that would delay two other EPA rules on power plant emissions and mercury, which Democrats said would significantly undermine U.S. environmental protection.