On Nov. 25, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare. The EPA suggests the proposed updates will improve public health protection, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.

The PCA, however, has weighed in and said the proposal to further tighten ozone standards could result in the loss of more than 45,000 construction jobs each year, slow the nation's economy, and impede vital infrastructure investments.

If accurate, that can have a big negative impact on our industry.

The PCA estimates that the cement industry alone would have compliance costs and plant closures that could lead to the loss of nearly 900 jobs. Even more, the cost could have significant impact on future construction projects from government agencies. As a result, PCA estimates that costs associated with compliance to the proposed standards would lead to the loss of 45,000 construction jobs each year.

“Think for a moment which structures we traditionally build with concrete. Bridges, roads, dams, schools, and hospitals would be hit with construction cost increases at a time when the nation’s infrastructure has already deteriorated to unsafe levels,” warns James Toscas, president and CEO at PCA.

The final rule is scheduled for November 2015. What are your thoughts on the proposed rule?

Read the EPA’s full NAAQS proposal.