The GCC Dacotah cement plant in Rapid City raised prices 5 percent last week to cover costs associated with new Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations.

The surcharge likely will be passed on to consumers of cement-based products, such as ready-mix concrete, and could ultimately mean less work for builders and contractors.

"The regulations are killer to jobs," said Neal Schlottman, president of Rapid City's SECO Construction.

He said business owners looking to expand their facilities may put projects on hold because of rising construction costs. And even small projects, such as a new floor in a homeowner's garage, will cost more.

"And, of course, if you don't build the building, there's no jobs for the construction workers," Schlottman said.

Hills Materials buys cement from GCC and uses it to create ready-mix. Tim Foerster, the company's plants manager, said his company has been quoting the higher price to contractors for a few months now.

Asked how contractors responded to the increase, he said, "You take it to the market as best you can," passing as much of the cost along as possible.

Every business in the construction industry has suffered during the recession, he said.

"We're starting to come out of it, and a price increase like this doesn't really help," Foerster said.

Rapid City cement plant manager Steve Post said cement manufacturers throughout the country are making similar pricing moves to pay for the cost of new and updated emissions-control technology.

The regulations were passed by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. New rules for the portland cement industry were signed into law Sept. 9, 2010, and went into effect Nov. 8.

The intent is to limit emissions considered harmful to human health and the environment. The new regulations establish emissions standards for mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, according to GCC.

Most were not previously regulated in cement plants. The new standards were not set based on a level of safety to health, but rather according to the lowest demonstrated levels achieved by the "best performing" cement plants, GCC said.

The company said the cost of capital improvements industry-wide will be $3.2 billion and will also shut down some plants. No jobs are expected to be lost at the 92-employee Rapid City plant.

GCC let customers know in October that the increase was coming to help them in building quotes for future work.

Post said cement plants have to be in compliance by Sept. 9, 2013, and GCC Dacotah will have to spend about $3 million this year alone to prepare for the changes.

GCC America, which has three cement plants, including Rapid City's, will spend a total of about $40 million to make the improvements by 2013, Post said.

But rising costs of cement is just one increase builders and contractors face. City public works director Robert Ellis said when it comes to street construction in Rapid City, the rising cost of fuel is an even bigger factor than a 5 percent increase in cement costs.

"We see more volatility in gas prices," Ellis said. "Daily they change by 5 to 15 percent."

Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 or barbara.soderlin@rapidcityjournal.com

(7) comments

joeboo22
joeboo22

It is a complete lie that they are saying the EPA is the sole reason. Read the sale report, it talks about an EPA permit that needed to be updated, talks about them being 10 year permits, said it was 10 million then. The state sold it 10 years ago so my guess is that is what is coming up.

As far as the EPA and the cement plant, well the process of making cement has some serious by-products, and its one of those things that they won't admit it but studies show that it does. Personally if I lived next door to it, I would hope that they cleaned up the air. Everybody complains about the EPA, but god forbid their water goes bad, or that dump that is next to them stinks, or that their beach has garbage on it and they complain.

Here is how things go, you can like or hate the EPA, but if you like it understand it will cost a little, if you don't understand that your water won't be safe, that your beach will have sewage on it, and so on and so on.

miawmd
miawmd

These businesses, what complainers, the emission of this plant can damage the health of everyone downwind from it. That includes almost everyone in Rapid City. The EPA is just enforcing some environmental rules that will save the lives of many people in town.

Joseph Budd
Joseph Budd

Fast Eddie, if anything the State should have done more to get the cement plant back from the mexicans. Janklow wanted to get rid of the Cement plant all the way back when he was first gov, and most of the workers there had the clue he would pull it off if elected again. Sure enough, he did. As for moving it out of town, go look at your maps. The city grew around it, kinda like those rich folks that can't understand why mountain lions are eating their dogs...the city grows, and people can be kinda clueless. Sure, it's easy to blame the business that has been there since the 1920's...but if you move next to it, doesn't that make it your fault?

Fast Eddie
Fast Eddie

re: Righty

Yea Righty, I remember the Rapid City flood. I remember a buddy and myself wanting to take an old row boat that we had found upstream to try to save a woman whose screams we could hear from up in a tree. The Guard stopped us from doing so telling us the water was to fast as they were trying to remove one of their stuck vehicles from the mud. After a while her cries stopped. I think she probably fell into the water and perished. A woman was pulled from the creek about a quarter mile from where this woman was. Her leg was bleeding severely and her sobbing still haunts me. I like to think she was the woman we were trying to save. I'm not saying the Guard does not do wonderful things. In my opinion the Guard belongs OUTSIDE of town. As far as the flood goes you don't have a clue as to what I know pal so don't presume to know anything about me. Do YOUR homework Righty. The first thing you might learn is not to shoot your mouth off concerning someone you know nothing about. If my post is the biggest bunch of nonsense you have read here you don't read these posts very often. The Guard might have saved OUR lives for not allowing us to try to save the woman but if I were in her shoes I would have hoped someone trained and paid to risk their lives would have done so to try to rescue me. Instead, they stopped a couple of civilians willing to sacrifice all to save her. I don't think you have to wear a uniform to be a man. However I think that's what our government is brainwashing our young people into thinking. Hogwash. 99.99% of our Senators and Congressmen and Women never had or ever would let their kids fight in the wars that THEY give approval for the United States to enter.

Rush Mountmore
Rush Mountmore

Don't worry; be happy. It's just the EPA Czars helping Obama to crash the American economy and force us to turn over our tangible assets to China which holds our debt.

Righty
Righty

I have seen some nonsense here before, but this one takes the cake! The South Dakota National Guard is the best friend the citizens of South Dakota ever had. The soldiers and airmen of the SDNG have been there every time our citizens needed help; floods, blizzards, any one remember the RC Flood??? Not to mention that they are an all volunteer force, and oh by the way go off to garden spots like Afghanistan to fight and some times die. Seven SDNG soldiers/airmen have already made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq/Afghanistan. And we haven’t even mentioned the many millions of $ that the Guard puts into the RC and the State’s ecomony. Better do your homework Fast Eddie

Fast Eddie
Fast Eddie

Janklow sold our cement plant to Mexico years ago. I think this is just the beginning of price hikes for cement. In my opinion the EPA excuse is just a copout. This filthy place should have been shut down years ago and moved far out of town. The National Guard in Rapid City should have been moved also. I get the feeling of a constant police state with the Guard in the middle of town and always driving their equipment around tearing up our city streets. When it comes to government decision making you can bet no one is thinking about the future.

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