Current cosponsors: Sanford Bishop Jr., Tim Murphy, Martha Roby, Pete Sessions, Terri Sewell
I encourage you to join this bipartisan legislation, which would simply allow for the consideration and completion of any judicial review regarding EPA’s 2015 national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for the brick, clay, and tile industries, before requiring compliance. Identical legislation passed the House with bipartisan support in the 114th Congress. I hope you will join me in supporting this important legislation.
In 2003, EPA finalized similar standards that required brick companies to spend millions of dollars to comply by installing emission control equipment. In 2007, a federal court vacated that rule. EPA’s new and revised rule, finalized on September 24, 2015, uses the emission reductions achieved under the vacated rule as the baseline for further reduction requirements. While there is a need to protect public health and the environment, it is unfair that the agency’s new rule does not give the industry credit for the reductions already achieved. This lack of consideration, in addition to other EPA NESHAP requirements, places the industry’s very survival in jeopardy.
Brick companies estimate that this rule will cost as much as $100 million a year to comply with, which if broken down on a plant by plant basis, costs more than most brick companies could ever afford – assuming companies could ever borrow the needed capital. Brick plant owners already struggle to obtain financing for plant modernization projects. Many are worried that the financing needed to comply with EPA’s rule will simply not be available, considering that the required control equipment will not improve plant productivity, nor help its bottom line. Additionally, investments made to comply with EPA’s new rule could become obsolete if the rule were to change again during reconsideration or litigation, leaving many companies with no option other than to close their doors.
The majority of U.S. brick companies are small, family-owned operations. There are more than 80 brick plants with 217 kilns, employing about 7,400 people in America. Brick plants are often located in smaller communities that depend on the plant for good-paying jobs, and the modern brick industry is a relatively minor source of air emissions. Furthermore, because bricks are often too heavy to import or export, there is little foreign competition.
The brick industry is part of our American cultural identity. It has built some of the most iconic buildings and towns in existence today. We must make certain our regulations and laws preserve this industry, not end it. Please join me by supporting the BRICK Act, which will help keep this important industry alive. For more information, please contact Dave Rardin with Rep. Bill Johnson at x55705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Bill Johnson