Rep. John Sullivan, of Oklahoma, introduced the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2681) in the House yesterday and it just passed 262-161. This bill will exempt cement manufacturing plants from the Clean Air Act. This bill will have a direct effect on many Oklahomans as there are currently three cement plants in the state.
“The House essentially just opened up all the doors and windows in homes across the country and urged polluters to blow their toxic emissions right in. The supporters of H.R. 2681 cast their votes today for more toxic mercury pollution, more premature death and disease, and more days when people have to miss work or school because they are too sick to go,” says Earthjustice attorney James Pew.
Cement plants are the second largest contributor of mercury emissions in the US. They also release other toxins including but not limited to; dioxins, ammonia, benzene, certain glycol ethers, chromium, diethanolamine, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, ethylene glycol, lead, manganese, sulfuric acid, and zinc compounds.
The House is expected to vote on another similar bill (EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, H.R. 2250) soon. H.R. 2250 makes industrial boilers and incinerators exempt from the Clean Air Act. Earthjustice states these bills together will cause between 3,400 and 9,000 preventable deaths every year from respiratory disease alone. It will also lead to higher emissions of several pollutants that have been shown to cause cancer, developmental issues in children and birth defects.
“If the bills we consider today are enacted, there will be more cases of cancer, birth defects, and brain damage. The ability of our children to think and learn will be impaired because of their exposure to mercury and other dangerous air pollutants,” said Rep. Henry Waxman on the House floor.
These bills are a direct threat to our health and the health of the environment. Please contact your senator today and tell them to vote no on Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and to support clean air.
About the Author
Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.
Photo Credit: abarndweller