Proposed EPA Ozone Regulations Would Slash Thousands of Construction Jobs, Regulations Would Force Cement Plant Closures in Small, Rural Communities
The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to further tighten ozone standards could result in the loss of more than 45,000 construction jobs each year, slow the nation’s economy and impede vital infrastructure investments, says the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.
In comments filed to the EPA on March 17, PCA estimates that the cement industry alone would have compliance costs and plant closures that could lead to the loss of nearly 900 jobs. Cement manufacturing jobs are highly technical and well-paying, with an average wage of $77,481 per year. Most cement plants are located in small rural communities, so the impact would be felt disproportionately in those regions.
“A cement plant is vital to the economy of its community. When one is forced to close, the region loses jobs, it loses significant tax revenue for schools and public services, and it loses a strong supporter of local charities and civic activities,” said James Toscas, president and CEO at PCA. “During the past four decades, the United States has virtually eliminated the severe air pollution that currently plagues some other countries. However, regulators have continued to tighten air quality standards, often with little or no proven health benefit. This has gotten to the point where our essential industries have struggled to meet current standards, incurred significant costs, and in some cases had to simply shut plants down.”
Most cement and concrete in the United States is used for infrastructure. Higher costs for construction projects would mean that governments could afford fewer projects each year. As a result, PCA estimates that costs associated with compliance to the proposed standards would lead to the loss of 45,000 construction jobs each year.