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Association & Industry News

Next week’s NRMCA 2021 Annual Convention will feature a host of important and illuminating presentations, keynote speakers and discussions, including details from Build With Strength’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity International that involves the donation of ready mixed concrete and other building materials from NRMCA Producer and Associate members to help build safe, resilient, affordable and sustainable housing in multiple locations across the United States.

“We have a responsibility as an industry to have a positive societal impact. Our partnership with Habitat represents a commitment to that responsibility in communities across the country,” said NRMCA President Mike Philipps. “We are a proud supplier of our product anywhere. But to help more families have homes that are both affordable and resilient means that much more. Our hope is to expand this partnership so that we can continue supporting Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

NRMCA and Habitat for Humanity: Concrete Homes, Concrete Results will take place on Wednesday, March 3, beginning at noon Eastern time. It will be hosted by NRMCA Executive Vice President for Promotion Strategy and Communications Gregg Lewis and will feature Teichert Materials President Dana Davis along with senior Habitat for Humanity staff and ICF Manufacturers Association Chairman Michael Kennaw.

Click here to learn more about Build With Strength’s Habitat for Humanity Initiative and here for the Annual Convention’s agenda, along with links to register. For more information, contact Jessica Walgenbach at jwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

Government Affairs

Last week, the heads of 11 national trade associations making up the North American Concrete Alliance signed a letter to Congress calling for swift, bipartisan investment in our national infrastructure. The letter, lead by NRMCA and PCA, pointed to the accelerating deterioration of America’s roads, bridges and other facilities and emphasized the importance of well-functioning infrastructure to our nation’s economic competitiveness. In addition, the letter urged Congress to take a partnership approach to lowering carbon emissions by investing in carbon capture technologies.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

With the conclusion of the second impeachment trial in the Senate, both chambers will turn their full attention to the budget reconciliation process for the $1.9 trillion COVID relief and recovery bill. Nine House committees have considered and reported out various pieces of the spending bill, and the full package was considered by the House Committee on the Budget on Monday.

Democrats will use a process known as “reconciliation” to avoid the Senate filibuster rules and pass the $1.9 trillion package with a simple majority vote. This will require all 48 Democrats and two Independents (who caucus with the Democrats regardless) to vote to pass the package and Vice President Kamala Harris to cast any needed tie-breaking vote. (Click here to learn more about reconciliation.)

The House hopes to pass the $1.9 trillion package by the end of this week and send it to the Senate. Once the Senate receives the bill, it will go through parliamentary review for provisions that do not conform to congressional reconciliation rules. These provisions will be dropped and the Senate will pass the package, probably sometime next week or the week of March 8. Once the Senate passes the bill, it will have to come back to the House for final passage before it can be sent to President Biden for his signature. The Democrats’ goal is to pass the bill by mid-March when the current authorization of enhanced unemployment benefits lapses.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

Please join us virtually from April 20 through 22, each day from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern time, to advocate for the cement and concrete industry. During this event, individuals will be able to virtually meet with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss issues impacting the industry, including a long-term infrastructure bill, increased funding for developing carbon capture technologies and other critical issues. During this three-day virtual event, participants will also hear from key administration professionals and congressional committee leaders on issues impacting your company.

The registration deadline is Friday, March 5. During the registration process, please indicate which member(s) of Congress you would like to meet with and/or which member(s) of Congress represent your industry’s footprint.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

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If your company currently trains people to earn their CDL or you are contemplating doing so, new federal regulations go into effect February 2, 2022. There is a lot training providers can do to prepare ahead of time; for example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will host a free webinar, Preparing for the Entry-Level Driver Training Regulations and Training Provider Registry on Thursday, March 4, to explain the new system.

The Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations and the Training Provider Registry were mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). As of February 22, 2022, individual instructors must register on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry to train CDL applicants. The new regulations will allow your trainers to actually test a candidate for his/her CDL. Training provider registration opens Summer 2021. Additionally, once operational, the FMCSA Training Provider Registry will retain a record of which CDL applicants completed the new training and certification process as outlined in ELDT regulations.

Please note that space for this webinar is limited, so register today. And for more information about the ELDT regulations and the Training Provider registry, visit FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) site.

Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized anticipated new stormwater discharge regulations, known more formally as the 2021 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity and also referred to as the 2021 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). The MSGP is updated every five years in accordance with MSGP requirements. While the 2021 MSGP is effective as of March 1, 2021 and only applies to Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, tribal lands, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories and protectorates, it also sets a baseline that many states follow when updating their stormwater regulations.

While NRMCA is still analyzing the new permit, there are some highlights from the new permit, compared to the 2015 permit, including:

  • Restructuring from previous permit parts to “streamline” the permit for better “sequential” reading.
  • Public Signage: “MSGP operators must post a sign of permit coverage (except in the instance where other laws or local ordinances prohibit such signage) at a safe, publicly accessible location in close proximity to the facility, as other NPDES permittees are required to do. This notice must include basic information about the facility (e.g., the NPDES ID number), information that informs the public on how to request the facility’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and how to contact the facility and EPA if stormwater pollution is observed in the stormwater discharge.”
  •  Good Housekeeping Measures: At least once weekly, employ housekeeping measures, such as “sweeping, vacuuming and other equivalent measures… in areas where cement, aggregate, kiln dust, fly ash or settled dust are being handled or processed and may be discharged in stormwater.” Concrete plants must also “prevent the exposure of fine granular (e.g., cement, fly ash, kiln dust) to stormwater, where practicable, by storing these materials in enclosed silos, hoppers, buildings or under other covering.”
  • Continued Total Suspended Solids (TSS) monitoring: there was concern this would be expanded to also require pH and chemical oxygen demand (COD) dubbed “universal benchmark monitoring,” both of which were NOT included for the concrete sector and which NRMCA opposed.
  • “Report Only” monitoring for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or rather “stormwater discharges from paved surfaces that will be sealed or re-sealed with coal-tar sealcoat.”
  • NOT finalizing a proposed “Appendix Q”, which held a bevy of redundant and controversial “stormwater control measures (SCMs)” that NRMCA opposed. However, while not finalized for this permit, EPA has suggested that it will continue to review the issue; any questions about SCMs are covered in prior year’s MSGP guidance.
  • Major Storm Events: The new permit “requires that operators consider implementing enhanced stormwater control measures for facilities that could be impacted by major storm events, such as hurricanes, storm surge, and flood events. EPA is not requiring operators to implement additional controls if the operator determines such controls to be unnecessary, but EPA is requiring operators to consider the benefits of selecting and designing control measures that reduce risks to their industrial facility and the potential impact of pollutants in stormwater discharges caused by major storm events.”
  • Additional Implementation Measures: “Both the proposed 2020 MSGP and this final 2021 MSGP maintain a three-level structure of advancement and responses triggered by benchmark exceedances and keep follow-up actions clear, timely, and proportional to exceedance frequency and duration.”
  • NOT extending the 30-day wait period of NOIs: The proposal originally suggested stretching the wait period for 60 days, which NRMCA opposed since many facilities may not be able to withhold discharges for 60 days.
  • NOT implementing an inspection-only requirement for low risk facilities: NRMCA supported this provision since it could have limited stormwater monitoring requirements for many concrete plants, and replaced them with simple periodic inspections for compliance.
  • Reporting must be submitted electronically, with few exceptions. 

NRMCA submitted lengthy comments on the proposed MSGP in May 2020. Numerous problematic additions were ultimately left out of the final permit while other requirements were retained. NRMCA will continue to examine the permit for industry liabilities and burdensome compliance requirements.

Click here to review the 2021 MSGP, accompanying factsheets and appendices. For more infomration, contact Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

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The 2021 Fleet Benchmarking Survey is completed by industry fleet managers and/or financial managers early each year based on data gathered from the previous calendar year’s performance. This year’s form includes a new section on automation, including the use of video-based driver safety, GPS tracking, slump control and proximity sensors. The survey is used to establish industry benchmarking norms and procedures and information gathered is published each autumn in a full report in NRMCA's Concrete InFocus magazine. A shorter executive summary of the survey is also made available to all.

Entries must be e-mailed to fleetbenchmark@nrmca.org by Friday, April 23. Click here for more information on and to download the entry form. For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), put into law in 1986, requires industries to report on the “storage, use and releases of hazardous chemicals (and materials) to federal, state, and local governments.” This specific reporting requirement under EPCRA is commonly referred to as Community Right-to-Know (CRTK) reporting, Tier II reporting and/or Section 311/312 reporting. The reporting deadline is Monday, March 1.

Click here to learn more about EPCRA, chemical/material thresholds and how to report. For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

The Safety Contest & Benchmarking Survey has for years been a safety performance and incentive/award program aimed to foster safe practices at ready mixed concrete plants across the nation. The survey is a per-plant contest open to facilities operated by NRMCA member companies in good standing in 2021. Companies with more than one division are encouraged to distribute entry blanks to individuals responsible for keeping safety records at each plant location.

Entries must be e-mailed safetycontest@nrmca.org by Friday, April 23. Click here for more information on and to download the entry form. For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org.

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Calendar

*Please note that e-mail and direct links to each event listed below can be accessed from NRMCA's Web site.

March 2-3, Virtual Conference
NRMCA’s 2021 Annual Convention
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

March 10, Virtual Event
NRMCA Sustainability Subcommittee Meeting
Email: Brian Killingsworth, 210-508-4923

March 10, Virtual Event
NRMCA Promotion Committee Meeting
Email: Brian Killingsworth, (210) 508-4923

March 11, Virtual Event
Workforce Development Committee Meeting
Email: Eileen Dickson, 703-706-4864

March 11 – 19, Online Course
Handling Concrete Specifications
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

March 12, Free Online Webinar
COVID-19: Concrete Industry Update Webinar
Email: Kevin Walgenbach, 703-706-4857

March 19 – 26, Online Course *Sold Out
Plant Manager Certification Course
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

March 22 – 26, Online Course
CCSP Module IV, Professional Sales Skills Workshop
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

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May 4 – 7 , Smyrna, TN
CCSP Module I “Concrete 101”, Technical Product Knowledge
Sponsored by Tennessee Concrete Association
Email: Darla Sparkman, 615-360-7393

June 15 – 17, Smyrna, TN
CCSP Module II, Customer Business Knowledge
Sponsored by Tennessee Concrete Association
Email: Darla Sparkman, 615-360-7393

November 9 – 11, Dallas
Effective RMC Supervisor Course
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

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