The following comes from a June 9 story in the Tampa Bay (Florida) Times.
They were meant to hold images of the Eucharist, an elaborately decorated cross and St. Stephen clasping his hands in prayer as he readies himself to be stoned to death.
The church has never had stained glass windows before, and these were perfectly positioned to follow the trajectory of the sun as it rises and sets.
But now church officials don’t know when, or if, they’ll ever be filled with stained-glass depictions of those sacred images.
Stained glass windows are becoming too expensive for the church and everyone else, the result of an anticipated crackdown from the Environmental Protection Agency on glass manufacturers.
Those three windows, already designed by artists at Pharrmoors Studios in Orlando, may now have to be made with more expensive imported glass.
“It’s really put this out of range for us, unless we have some generous donor,” said the Rev. Robert Schneider, pastor of St. Stephen’s. “We can open the church with just clear glass, but it would sure be nice if we could have something there.”
The EPA crackdown on glass manufacturing regulations stems from a February investigation into high levels of cadmium — a heavy metal that can cause lung cancer — and other toxic heavy metals found in the air around two glass factories in Portland, Ore.
But those are also the metals that add color to stained glass, which is delivered in squares and then melted and shaped by artists and workers.
Since 2007, EPA regulations have required that furnaces producing glass 24 hours a day, seven days a week must be equipped with industrial filters that prevent up to 99 percent of pollutants from escaping smokestacks. But small-batch furnaces, like those in specialty stained glass shops, were allowed to circumvent those rules.
Now the EPA may tighten those regulations, requiring all glass manufacturers that make more than 50 tons of glass a year with toxic chemicals to filter their exhaust….