EPA Sends CA Cement Makers Packing

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Hanson Permanente has historically provded around 50% of San Francisco Bay Area cement. (KQED Quest)

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has restricted emissions from existing cement kilns. The regulations aim to reduce, by 2013, the annual emissions of mercury and particulate matter by 92%, hydrochloric acid by 97% and sulfur dioxide by 78%.

Regulators predict the new rules will stave off thousands of premature heart and lung deaths each year attributed to particulate pollution - not to mention asthma attacks.

You're reading about this here on Shifting Gears why? California is the nation's largest producer of cement.

EPA analysts estimate the rules will trigger $926 - $950 million in annual compliance costs nationwide in 2013. Cement producers say it'll cost them "several billion dollars" to install pollution scrubbers - and they warn of plant closures to come in the US.

KQED Reporter Amy Standen did an excellent report on the pollution back in 2008:

QUEST on KQED Public Media.

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About Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness.

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