Industry Groups Support New BRICK Act to Extend EPA Emissions Regulations Timeline
The bill would address time concerns associated with the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule reissued in 2015 for brick and structural clay manufacturers.
New bipartisan legislation would help the nation’s brick, clay and tile producers avoid premature and devastating investments to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national emissions regulations. Recently introduced by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act would allow two years for the judicial review of final rules on the EPA’s increasingly strict emissions regulations before compliance is required.
The bill would address time concerns associated with the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule reissued in 2015 for brick and structural clay manufacturers. “It’s critical to complete the full legal review before manufacturers must spend millions for controls that may not be needed and could force some of them out of business,” said Ray Leonhard, president and CEO of the Brick Industry Association (BIA).
Past burdens incurred show that compliance deadlines for disputed regulations are often too short for the legal process to run its course. Manufacturers must make investments to comply with rules that may be thrown out by the courts.
“After investing $100 million since 2003 to comply with EPA regulations that were overturned just four years later, the nation’s brick manufacturers need certainty,” said Davis Henry, BIA chairman and president of Henry Brick, Selma, Ala. “On behalf of the entire brick industry, I'd like to thank Senators Wicker and Donnelly for their bipartisan leadership on this critical issue.”
“America’s tile manufacturers support the BRICK Act,” said Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “The EPA has admitted that its recent rule would yield no air quality environmental benefits, while imposing costs on tile manufacturers. It’s simply common sense to delay implementation of the rule while the courts weigh challenges to it and EPA has a chance to reconsider this rulemaking. The last thing tile manufacturers need is a completely unnecessary government regulation.”
The bill would limit the compliance date extension to December 26, 2020; if a court decision vacates the EPA’s rule, the legislation would require the EPA to finalize a follow-up rule within one year. The compromise would ensure that businesses have the time and certainty they need to comply while ensuring that those investments in clean air technology are made in a timely manner.
In 2003, the EPA finalized the original MACT rule for the brick and structural clay ceramics manufacturing industry, requiring brick companies to comply by installing new equipment to help control emissions. In 2007, after companies spent more than $100 million on these controls, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the rule. In 2015, the EPA finalized a new revised rule that uses the emission reductions achieved by the control devices installed under the vacated 2003 rule as the baseline for further emission reduction requirements. This rule is now under review by the courts.
“We greatly appreciate the bipartisan recognition of the need for a rule that both protects the environment and allows industry to continue to recover and thrive,” said Susan Miller, the BIA’s vice president for Environment, Health and Safety. “One round of compliance with a non-moving, defensible target will ensure both goals are attained.”