WASHINGTON, D.C. — An amendment to protect cement manufacturing jobs in the Lehigh Valley offered by U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today passed the U.S. House of Representatives during consideration of H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 (TRAIN Act). The amendment adds the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry and Standards of Performance for Portland Cement Plants to a list of pending Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that, under the bill, must be analyzed for their potential impact on American jobs and competitiveness.

“While I support efforts to limit the emissions of hazardous pollutants by cement manufacturing facilities, EPA’s failure to craft effective and efficient regulations will jeopardize jobs in the Lehigh Valley and across the country,” said Rep. Dent. “Including NESHAP in H.R. 2401 will allow the expected loss of American jobs and the weakening of domestic cement manufacturers' global competitiveness to become key considerations during the completion of the EPA rulemaking process.”

Experts estimate the cost of complying with the flawed NESHAP rule would effectively cripple the domestic cement industry and impede the ability of American producers to remain competitive with foreign importers. The domestic cement industry currently provides 13,000 Americans, including many Lehigh Valley residents, with high-quality manufacturing jobs. If implemented in its current form, NESHAP would result in the closing of 18 of the nation’s 97 cement plants, costing 1,800 jobs and dramatically reducing domestic production capacity. Additionally, EPA concedes NESHAP may drive thousands more American cement jobs to increasingly aggressive overseas competitors who face little to no environmental or labor regulations.

“The vitality of the domestic cement industry is critically important to the United States and the Lehigh Valley,” Rep. Dent continued. “EPA’s pursuit of unrealistic and unachievable regulations will only strengthen the hand of increasingly aggressive foreign competitors who operate under significantly lower environmental and labor standards.”