WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., called on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to review a new regulation that may threaten the viability of the PotashCorp. phosphate mine in Aurora in Beaufort County.
PotashCorp-Aurora, also known as PCS Phosphate, is part of an international firm headquartered in Canada that bills itself as the world’s largest crop nutrient company. The Aurora facility produces 5.4 million tons of phosphate rock, 1.2 millions tons of phosphoric acid, 0.3 million tons of purified acid annually.
The regulation, which was finalized by the Obama administration in 2015, would force operators of the mine to install new technology to limit mercury emissions. Jones’ announcement characterized the technology as “costly” and “unproven” and states that the regulation was put in place despite the EPA’s determination that pre-existing regulations were already sufficient to protect public health.
In his letter, Jones asked Pruitt to review the regulation for possible revision or elimination.
“This one just doesn’t make sense,” Jones said. “Putting 850 jobs at risk for no meaningful public health benefit is unacceptable. It’s a perfect example of the regulatory overreach that is shackling our nation. I hope the administrator will see fit to remove this unnecessary threat to one of the key drivers of the Eastern North Carolina economy.”
Jones urged Pruitt to review the regulation as part of the regulatory reform process laid out in one of President Donald Trump’s executive orders, one that calls for a regulatory reform task force.