Skip to Content

Press Releases

Congressional Hearing Held on Johnson’s BRICK Act

Legislation protects brick industry jobs

Today, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on Congressman Bill Johnson’s (R-Marietta) Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act (BRICK Act). The legislation will officially be introduced shortly.

Today, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on Congressman Bill Johnson’s (R-Marietta) Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act (BRICK Act). The legislation will officially be introduced this week. 

“Simply put, the BRICK Act would delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Brick MACT” rule until all judicial review has been completed, protecting businesses from undue costs,” Bill Johnson said. “Forcing brick and tile companies to comply with a costly, job-killing rule that is still pending in the courts makes no sense.”

On September 24, 2015, the EPA announced national emission standards for the brick, structural clay products and clay ceramics manufacturing industry. The agency’s new rule does not give the industry credit for reductions already achieved from a similar 2003 EPA review that was later vacated by a federal court decision.

Johnson added, “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. However, in order to comply with these new EPA requirements, many brick companies – who are already struggling to find capital for plant modernization projects – would be forced to come up with millions of dollars to pay for control equipment that provides no return on investment.”

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 industry’s very survival 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. 

Back to top