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Cramer: House Passes H.R. 4557 - The Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act

Mar 3, 2016
Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4557, the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act today.  The bill would delay and extend compliance dates for the finalized National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Brick and Structural Clay Products Manufacturing and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, commonly known as Brick MACT until the rule has survived judicial review.  The Environmental Protection agency (EPA) set stringent standards for brick industry emissions of mercury and non-mercury hazardous air pollutants as well as health-based standards for acid gases.  Regulated brickmaking facilities have three years to comply.

“Needless and pointless regulations are destroying small businesses in North Dakota and across the country.” said Cramer.  “The Brick Industry has already suffered because of EPA regulations and there is no imperative to implement the Brick MACT rule.  This legislation will protect many small businesses like North Dakota’s Hebron Brick from the harmful impacts of these regulations.” 

Many brickmaking businesses, including Hebron Brick in North Dakota, have expressed concerns about their ability to meet the requirements of the EPA. 

“The proposed MACT ruling is a serious threat to the future growth and even survivability of Hebron Brick.  It could cost Hebron Brick upwards of 2 million dollars to comply with the proposed rules.  Our industry has faced many challenges since the 2008 national recession.  This ruling will put the nail in the coffin of many plants that are barely holding on.” Jeff Laliberte, President, Hebron Brick.

Industry estimates are that the costs may be as much as $100 million per year.  For a facility with two kilns (the industry average), the cost of compliance is estimated at $4.4 million.  The industry cumulatively employs about 7,000 people at more than 70 brick plants and supporting facilities nationwide.  The mercury reductions from this rule have been estimated by EPA to be 147 pounds annually, nearly one hundred times less than similar standards applicable to power plants.

EPA previously promulgated Brick MACT standards in 2003.  That rule was vacated by a federal court in 2007, but by that time many brick manufacturers had already undertaken expensive and irreversible compliance measures.  Brick manufacturers are concerned that the same situation is unfolding and that the current rule will impose significant costs and potentially force plant shutdowns, all before the legality of the rule is determined.  The industry response to the 2003 rule reduced emissions by an estimated up to 95 percent per facility, and the current Brick MACT standards use the previous reductions in its baseline.