At one time, our neighboring county, Lee, had signs posted proudly proclaiming it to be the Brick Center of the World. Today, Lee County's signs simply proclaim it to be "Well Centered."
The downturn in North Carolina's brick industry was linked to the bursting of the housing bubble, but the policies of the Obama administration have done nothing to revitalize the construction industry and the enactment of the most recent set of EPA restrictions for brick plant emissions could very well be the death knell.
Only a government bureaucracy could derive a concept like the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT). It is an evolving standard that capriciously dictates that industry must install whatever is currently the state-of-the-art technology for achieving maximum emissions reduction. There is no grandfathering permitted, so existing older plants are required to periodically upgrade to new technology, regardless of whether any meaningful gains will be achieved.
The last one was in 2003. By 2006, and after spending $100 million on equipment and installation, the brick industry had complied. In 2007, the courts overruled the standard.
HR 4557 was written in response to the most recent MACT-ination, which will require brick makers to spend an estimated $2.2 million per kiln with no return on investment and no significant reduction in "hazardous" air pollutants. HR 4557 would prevent the EPA from requiring compliance with this nonsense prior to judicial review.
The US House got this one right. Now, will the Senate get it right as well?