Mercy for cement plant?

Oregon cement plant hopes to be spared from an EPA rule that targets mercury polluters.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working toward new rules to cut down on mercury emissions from cement plans nationwide. But a plant in Eastern Oregon – deemed the worst mercury polluter in the country – is making an effort to stay open and save its 116 workers from losing their jobs.

“This is one of the few environmental issues I’ve seen in the past decade that really may at the end of the day come down to jobs vs. the environmental dynamic,” said Mark Riskedahl, director of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, who served on a committee advising the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on the issue.

At issue is the Ash Grove Cement Co. plant in Durkee, which last year agreed to spend $20 million on cutting edge technology that will reduce mercury emissions by more than 75 percent.

Read the full story at The Daily Astorian.

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