Environment

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Marsh

NSSGA members are leaders in taking aggressive action to protect our environment and responsibly and sustainably produce construction materials. Companies across the industry routinely develop award-winning projects reclaiming land that include benefits such as conserving critical habitats, promoting biodiversity and providing community amenities. Further, aggregates are an essential resource for developing clean water infrastructure, renewable energy, resilient shorelines and many other important environmental projects. Below are the specific issues NSSGA continues to work on within this topic

Aggregates are Part of the Climate Solution

Aggregate demand to support renewable energy development is rapidly increasing. Innovative infrastructure projects are essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change in our communities. The industry is committed to taking all reasonable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while supplying essential materials. Our greenhouse gas emissions are inherently low due to the characteristics of our products and processes. 

 

Despite low emissions, the industry continues to reduce our energy use. The aggregates industry has undertaken many greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, such as investing in fuel-efficient mobile equipment, installing renewable energy generation facilities, use of biodiesel fuels for mobile equipment, and improving operational efficiency. We encourage Congress to provide additional incentives that will drive greater demand for investments into new technologies and equipment that reduce emissions and improve the environment.

 

Most of the emissions come from the transportation of material. Therefore, NSSGA supports policies that promote local sources of aggregates, which results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. Aggregates are an important tool in creating resilient infrastructure to combat climate change, with uses such as flood control and water treatment.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator

NSSGA has provided a greenhouse gas emissions calculator since 2008 to assist aggregate producers and pulverized mineral producers calculate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in an accurate, consistent and verifiable manner. The GHG inventories provide emission baselines and are a useful tool for evaluating options for reducing GHG emissions. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator

User Guide

     

    Environmental Applications

    Construction aggregates are used in many environmental applications such as landscaping, erosion control, water filtration systems, wastewater, and sewage control, and drinking water. NSSGA members are responsible stewards of water resources, and regularly undertake land reclamation activities that include wetland restoration, creation, and enhancement, as well as wetland mitigation banking for internal and external use. Land reclamation activities conducted by NSSGA members have long been known for their ability to create much-needed additional flood storage capacity.

     

    Water uses of aggregates include:

    • Filtration
    • Sewage treatment
    • Wastewater control
    • Septic tank leaching fields
    • Infiltration for aquifier replenishment
    • Acid Neutralization
    • Streams
    • Lakes
    • Concrete and Asphalt Construction for Public Works Infrastructure
    • Sewage treatment plants
    • Water purification plants
    • Dams, reservoirs and water supply
    • Utility lines (water, sewerage, electrical)

    Regulations

    Aggregates facilities are heavily regulated before, during and after operation at the local, state and federal level. NSSGA members support reasonable regulations based upon the law and sound science that allow the timely extraction of materials vital for infrastructure projects, but object to those that are redundant, burdensome and do not provide environmental improvement. 

     

    • Waters of the US (WOTUS) Definition: To provide aggregates in a timely and responsible manner for vital infrastructure and environmental projects, aggregates producers need clean water and clear rules. A proper balance is needed that responsibly protects federal waters while allowing state control of other waters and land use, as intended under the Clean Water Act. 
    • Endangered Species Act: To date, the Endangered Species Act has done a poor job of species recovery. NSSGA supports an update to the Act that would provide better outcomes for species and balance the needs of landowners and nature.
    • Other Permits: In addition to federal permits, NSSGA members are also required to meet state and local permit conditions that include important protections for air and water quality.  NSSGA members install controls and monitor regularly so that the environment and community are protected.