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U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

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Bill Johnson Reintroduces BRICK Act

H.R. 1917 protects brick industry jobs

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Washington, April 5, 2017 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951) | comments
Today, Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) reintroduced the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act in the U.S. House. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
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Today, Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) reintroduced the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act in the U.S. House. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

“The majority of U.S. brick plants are small, family-owned operations, often located in small communities that depend on the plant for good-paying jobs. They’ve built some of the most iconic buildings, cities, and towns in existence across Ohio and America,” Bill Johnson said. “To comply with existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, these small businesses will be forced to borrow millions of dollars to pay for the required control equipment - at a time when many of them are already struggling to find the capital for plant modernization projects. It will be extremely difficult for these companies to secure the needed investments to pay for new control equipment that would provide absolutely no return on investment.”

On September 24, 2015, the EPA announced national emission standards (“Brick MACT” rule) for the brick, structural clay products, and clay ceramics manufacturing industry. The EPA rule does not recognize the reductions the industry already achieved from a similar 2003 EPA review that was later vacated by a federal court decision.

Johnson added, “It makes no sense to ask brick and tile companies to comply with a costly, job-killing rule that is pending in the court system. We should be working to preserve this important industry, not regulate it out of business. This common-sense legislation I reintroduced, the BRICK Act (H.R. 1917), would delay the EPAs’ “Brick MACT” rule until all judicial review has been completed, protecting businesses from undue costs. I appreciate Senator Wicker's help on this important issue, and I’ll keep doing everything in my power to ensure this legislation gets across the finish line and is signed by President Trump.”

Background: In 2003, EPA finalized a similar rule that required brick companies to spend millions of dollars to comply by installing new equipment to control hydrogen fluoride (HF) and hydrogen chloride (HCl) emissions. A few years later, a federal court vacated that rule. EPA’s new and revised rule, finalized on September 24, 2015, uses the emission reductions achieved by the control devices installed under the vacated 2003 rule as the baseline for further emission reduction requirements. The agency’s new rule does not give the industry credit for the reductions already achieved. This lack of consideration, in addition to other EPA requirements, places the survival of many businesses within industry very in jeopardy.

Brick companies estimate that this rule will cost about $100 million a year to comply with, which if broken down on a plant by plant basis, costs more than most brick companies could ever afford – assuming companies could ever borrow the needed capital. 

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