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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions June 24, 2016

2/11/2014 12:22:00 PM
Editorial: Perspective needed on new pollution standards for Phoenix Cement

Haze and pollution over the Grand Canyon is the straw that stirs the drink for pollution control measures in Arizona.

So it only followed suit that new standards for emission levels come on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency's move to control emissions at the Navajo Generating Station near Page. The new standards being proposed would reduce sulfur dioxide by almost 30,000 tons a year and nitrogen oxides by 3,100 tons per year.

Because it is located near national parks and wilderness areas, the same standards also now will apply to the Clarkdale-based Salt River Materials Group Phoenix Cement plant.

But that's hardly a mandate to the effect that Phoenix Cement needs to clean up its act.

Those with any sense of history about the Clarkdale plant will tell you that Phoenix Cement cleaned up its act years ago. Prior to its $126.5 million modernization project in 2006, complaints about plant pollution were numerous, and justified. Long-time residents tell of a time when wiping away cement dust was an everyday occurrence. Others will tell you how cement dust corroded and ruined the paint job on their cars.

The 2006 plant modernization incorporated state-of-the-art kiln and milling systems and made the Clarkdale plant as efficient as any in the nation.

The cement plant is simply the kind of industry, combined with its proximity to national parks and wilderness areas, that makes it subject to the new pollution and haze standards being proposed.

It's not a message that the plant needs to clean up its act.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014
Article comment by: OK, John

It's on our radar somewhere below water management, allocation of city funds, over taxation, under employment, APS, AT&T, allocation of school district funds, rising food prices, and wondering how clouds of pollution could billow out of the cement plant, skip Clarkdale, and charge down 89A against prevailing winds.

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: Tweetie Byrd

Thank you, John Taylor. You are absolutely right! Not only are the emissions still unacceptable, but the fact they continue to strip the land bare, and fail to restore it, is unacceptable as well.

Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Article comment by: John Taylor

It is good to hear of the modernization effort in 06. However just yesterday was a good example of the haze that is associated with so2 emissions. Also what you can't see can kill you. No matter what U do in the process of making cement there will still be mercury and so2 emissions. If you would like more information look at reports from google search: "cementing our toxic legacy"

So let's not act like the plant is completely harmless.. It's more like the elephant in the room in the verde valley that no one wants to talk honestly about.

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

Reply to The Editor:

Thank you for clarifying this.

Good to know I'm not that blind.

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