New Study Reports Economic Impacts of EPA Rules on Cement Industry
A panel discussion at the National Press Club examined a study released by the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business addressing the economic implications of a proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule on the cement industry.
Participants in the panel discussion included the study’s author, Dr. Bernard Weinstein, associate director, SMU Maguire Energy Institute and Mr. Michael Joyce, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
With continued focus on jobs and associated infrastructure investment as a means of stimulating the economy, the study focuses on how the proposed EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations on the cement industry may affect U.S. government initiatives to spur job creation, rehabilitate old infrastructure and reinvest in new projects. The study also focuses on how the industry continues to make strides to meet cement supply demand while simultaneously reducing emissions and manufacturing its products efficiently, independent of EPA regulations.
In 2008, nearly $27.5 billion of America’s economic activity, or gross output, occurred in the cement manufacturing industry. The industry provided 17,000 jobs directly and indirectly, it accounted for approximately 153,000 jobs nationwide and $7.5 billion in wages and benefits, according to research conducted by SMU Cox. The research suggests that there will be devastating economic ramifications if the EPA rules pass.
Even the EPA estimates that proposed regulations on the U.S. cement industry will result in $340 million of new costs to the cement industry and a nearly 10 percent drop in domestic cement production-forcing plants to operate at a lower capacity or shutter operations altogether, resulting in an uptick of cement supply importation and the sending of U.S. jobs overseas.
“The employment impact of the infrastructure component of future economic stimulus programs can be impaired by as much as 40 percent if construction materials are produced abroad,” said the study’s author, Dr. Bernard Weinstein, associate director, SMU Maguire Energy Institute. “The total economic footprint of the cement industry, combined with construction projects made viable by affordable and reliable cement supplies, probably accounts for millions of jobs and more than $1 trillion of the nation’s output.”
The EPA is expected to make final NESHAP rulings on the industry in summer 2010.