Brick Council Members Take a Firm Stance Against EPA’s MACT

Brick Council members have been writing their member representatives of Congress  concerning Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  Docket Number EPA–HQ–OGC–2012–0905, or the Brick and Structural Clay MACT.

The Council’s position on  MACT, or the “maximum achievable control technology” standard currently being developed by the EPA, it that it has the potential to do the brick and structural clay manufacturing industry significant harm, yet offers little actual environmental or health benefit.   In short, the brick and clay manufacturing industry spent over $100 million complying with a 2003 MACT standard set by EPA.  This MACT standard was vacated by the court in 2007.   The EPA is now using those controls, installed in good faith, to rationalize even more stringent and unnecessary controls on the industry.  In 2008, the Sierra Club, an unrelated third party, sued the EPA to force them to issue a new rule.  EPA sought a dismissal, but was denied.  EPA declined to appeal the decision, and has been negotiating a consent decree with the Sierra Club to schedule the issuance of a new rule.  Under the proposed consent decree, EPA must sign a proposed Brick MACT no later than August 30, 2013, and sign a final rule by July 31, 2014.

Not only is this process fundamentally flawed, it represents an unprecedented “MACT upon MACT” situation, subjecting one industry to consecutive rounds of regulation and increased standards, and rendering recent compliance efforts moot.  Consequently, the brick industry strongly feels that the proposed timeline is prejudicial and unrealistic. While the Council continues to believe that EPA is endeavoring to craft appropriate and workable standards for our industry, the proposed schedule threatens EPA’s ability to evaluate alternatives provided in the Clean Air Act that could mitigate or negate unnecessary and destructive burdens on our industry.  Left unaddressed, this portends disaster for brick companies, their employees, and the domestic brick and clay manufacturing industry as a whole.

The brick industry has gone to great lengths to work with the EPA to craft sound and effective emissions regulations, and  the regulatory process should reflect these efforts — not be short-circuited through the judicial process, and negotiated with a third party who neither operates within the industry, nor bears any burden of compliance.