On October 6, 2011, the House of Representatives passed the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, which, if passed in the Senate and signed by the President, will require the United States Environmental Protection Agency to propose new air quality rules and allow the Portland cement industry more time to adhere to the new rules. The Act will require EPA to pass and finalize the new regulations no later than 15 months after the Act takes effect. The Portland cement industry will then have at least 5 years to comply with the new regulatory standards.
The Act allows EPA, in determining the new compliance dates, to consider the following:
- the costs that Portland cement companies will incur to achieve the mandated emission reductions;
- how the new emissions standards will impact the environment;
- the feasibility of implementing the new standards;
- the availability of equipment, suppliers and laborers needed to implement the new standards; and,
- the impact that the new standards will have on employment.
The Act passed in the House with a nominally bipartisan effort – 25 Democrats and 237 Republicans. The opposition consisted on 159 Democrats and 2 Republicans.