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Government Affairs

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a bipartisan package to invest more than $1 trillion to meet America’s growing transportation and infrastructure needs. The package included a five-year reauthorization of the surface transportation programs as well as more than $550 billion in additional infrastructure spending. The IIJA embodies the reauthorization and infrastructure investment priorities of the NRMCA Government Affairs Committee: it provides robust funding, is a five-year  investment, and was produced and passed in a bipartisan manner.

The bipartisan bill contains a number of NRMCA priorities, including designated funding for roads and bridges, designated funding for major projects, an exemption for aggregates, cement, asphalt, binders and additives from new Buy America procurement standards, a pilot program for the DRIVE-Safe Act and environmental permitting reforms instituted by the Trump Administration. Further, the bill leaves out many of the policies from the House surface reauthorization that NRMCA opposed. The bill does not increase minimum truck insurance, does not roll back Hours of Service rules, does not mandate new sleep apnea regulations, does not limit states’ ability to construct new capacity and does not include anti-business labor policies like the PRO Act. Finally, unlike many of the proposed pay-fors in President Biden’s American Jobs Act, the IIJA does not raise the corporate tax rate, does not tax capital gains and does not include a step-up in basis for estate taxes.

NRMCA joined a host of business and construction industry groups in supporting this important legislation, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America’s Road and Transportation Builders’ Association, the Associated General Contractors, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association and the Portland Cement Association.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives where Speaker Pelosi has indicated that she will not bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote until the Senate passes and sends over its $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The outline for the reconciliation package was released on Monday. You can view it here.

The Senate passed the budget resolution – the legislative vehicle that provides for the reconciliation package – late Tuesday night and adjourned for the traditional August state work period. However, while all 50 senators who caucus with the Democrats are likely to support the budget resolution, several have indicated that they will not support final passage of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. Congressional committees are likely to work on this legislation through August and could have a reconciliation package ready by mid-September.

On Tuesday, the House announced that it would return to Washington the week of August 23 and will likely consider a budget resolution.

TAKE ACTION: Now is the time to make your voice heard. We need to urge every Member of Congress to support the important bipartisan infrastructure bill – and we need the president to lend his voice in support of passage. Click here to send a message to the House of Representatives and the president.

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

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The NRMCA Government Affairs Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 7, at 2 p.m. Eastern time for the fall committee meeting traditionally held in conjunction with ConcreteWorks. The meeting will be held virtually; an agenda and minutes from the last meeting will be circulated prior to the meeting.

You can RSVP for the meeting here. If you are not registered to attend NRMCA’s ConcreteWorks 2021, you can register here. For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

   Euclid Chemical Company       Con-Tech Manufacturing, Inc.    
Pavement

If you have a mixer truck, work vehicle or other piece of equipment that bears the Pave Ahead™ logo, NRMCA Senior Vice President, Local Paving, Phil Kresge wants to know. “We’re looking for photos and videos of construction vehicles sporting the Pave Ahead logo,” says Kresge, “so we can feature them in our Pave Ahead in Action social media campaign.” The photos and videos will be posted on the Pave Ahead LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Additionally, the photos may be used in future Pave Ahead  promotional collateral.

“Additionally, we’re looking for photos, videos and links to your social media posts to share in the Pave Ahead network,” adds Kresge. “We’d love to have all our members and partners 'Like' and 'Follow' our pages. In turn, we’ll do the same.”

Interested in joining the Pave Ahead in Action campaign, but don’t yet have the logo? You can download hi-res versions of the logo here. For more information, contact Phil Kresge at pkresge@nrmca.org.

Buildings

Fostering enhanced resilience in construction is a crucial part of the Build With Strength program to promote increased concrete construction. As part of that effort, two articles were recently published in Engineered Systems magazine by NRMCA Senior Vice President, Structures and Codes, Scott Campbell. The first discusses recently published resilient design guidelines for Washington, DC, while the second article examines other recent attempts at legislating resilient design and the shortcomings with the different approaches. The columns are part of an ongoing series where Dr. Campbell lays out various aspects of security and resilience for a technical, but not specialist, audience and advances the concept of resilience as envisioned by NRMCA.

Build With Strength is a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes concrete building systems through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy. To learn more, contact Scott Campbell at scampbell@nrmca.org or 502-552-5034.

NRMCA and Build With Strength are hosting a webinar titled The Business Case for Building with Insulating Concrete Forms on Tuesday, August 24, from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern time. Learning objectives include understanding the benefits of concrete homes built with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) compared to wood-frame for residential projects; demonstrating the economic benefits of building with ICFs; learning how concrete homes offer high-quality, disaster-resilient, super energy-efficient homes and understanding the long-term value proposition of building with concrete and ICFs. Presenters include NRMCA Executive Vice President, Structures and Sustainability, Lionel Lemay.

Click here to register and for more information.

There is still time to register for the second annual Global Concrete Summit. Session 1 is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. The theme for the opening sessions is concrete sustainability, with experts representing some of the largest and most influential decision makers in the design and construction industries:

  • Abbott Lawrence, president, Martin Marietta - West Division and NRMCA Board of Directors chairman - The Concrete Industry's Progress Towards Its Sustainability Goals
  • Michael Gryniuk, PE, associate, LeMessurier and chair of SE 2050 - SE 2050 Commitment and Structural Engineers Designing for Net Zero Embodied Carbon
  • Katie Poss, data center program sustainability lead, Turner Construction Company - Reducing the Embodied Carbon of Concrete: A General Contractor’s Perspective
  • Juan Gonzalez, manager of strategic development & sustainability, U.S. Concrete - How Concrete Producers can Strive to Meet the Challenges of Embodied Carbon Reduction
  • Christie Gamble, senior director of sustainability, CarbonCure - Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Concrete
  • Daniel B. Bentz, PE, vice president, sales and marketing, Chryso, Inc. - CHRYSO®EnviroMix - Admixture Solutions and Services for Low-Carbon Concrete
  • Kirsten Ritchie, PE, LEED AP O+M, global design resilience leader, principal, Gensler, Gensler’s Journey Towards Low Carbon, High Design

If you miss the live webinars, they will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register for free now; for more information, contact Lionel Lemay at Llemay@nrmca.org or 847-922-7995.

   Master Builder Solutions US LLC       Sika Corporation    

Registration for NRMCA’s fall in-person Safety Course is now open. The course will take place October 18-20 in Orlando, FL. This 2.5-day course teaches participants about OSHA safety compliance, beginning with why safety is so important and details the reasons why an effective safety program actually saves money through loss prevention and control. Participants learn about the new silica rule, electrical safety, machine guarding, fall protection, hazard communication, confined spaces, personal protective equipment, emergency action plans, maintenance shop safety, chute handling, fleet safety, pre-trip inspections and much more.

Click here for location details and registration information. For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

Registration is open for this year’s in-person Environmental Certification Course being held in Orlando, FL, November 30 – December 2. Course attendees will be educated on industry-specific environmental issues that affect ready mixed concrete production, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Discharge Permits, Stormwater Management, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Solids Management, Hazardous Materials, Dust Control, Recycling, Spill Prevention Plans, Air Quality Management, Noise Management, Environmental Auditing and much more.

Those who should attend include plant managers, environmental managers, compliance managers, executives or anyone with fiscal and/or environmental responsibilities who should know the details concerning your company’s responsibilities when it comes to EPA regulations, the Clean Water Act, Discharge Permits, Stormwater Management and numerous other critical environmental matters.

Click here to register or for more information. You may also contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

SEO

This week is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Safe + Sound Week, a program  that encourages creation and use of workplace safety and health programs. As an official supporter of OSHA’s Safe + Sound Program, NRMCA joins OSHA in highlighting the importance of workplace safety through NRMCA’s Think First safety program. Both programs aim to increase participation among all levels of workplace management and employees to improve workplace safety. Safe + Sound also provides resources to help employers create and bolster their own safety programs and connect with other like-minded organizations.

Click here for more information on OSHA’s Safe + Sound Program and here for more information on NRMCA’s Think First safety program. You may also contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

President Biden last week directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to start the process of drafting regulation to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from heavy-duty trucks such as mixer trucks beginning in 2027. Executive Order 14037 titled  Strengthening American Leadership In Clean Cars and Trucks also directs the EPA to coordinate with DOT and other agencies to complete the mandates. The order directs EPA to issue proposed rulemakings starting in January 2022, with final rules being published by July 2024.

EPA has named this heavy-duty trucks initiative the Clean Trucks Plan. In speaking about the president's new mandate, EPA Administrator Michael Regan stated, “Pollution from trucks has been a long-standing obstacle to advancing environmental justice, as many low-income and minority communities live near highways or in heavily polluted areas with frequent truck congestion and idling. EPA is committed to walking our talk and delivering tangible benefits to historically underserved and overburdened communities. Setting clear and stringent standards for truck pollution is critical to delivering on this commitment.”

For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

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NRMCA participated in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee First Draft meetings over six weeks in July and August. The focus of these meetings was to review public inputs and proposed changes to NFPA codes and standards related to building construction and safety, reports NRMCA's Shamim Rashid-Sumar. As part of the First Draft meetings, NRMCA collaborated with industry partners and provided technical information and debate on issues related to fire safety requirements for multi-family residential occupancies, flame propagation in combustible components of exterior walls, automatic sprinkler provisions and tradeoffs and 3-D printing of concrete structures.

Ms. Rashid-Sumar is a principal voting member of NFPA technical committees on Building Construction, Fire Protection Features, Fire Tests, Residential Occupancies and Structures, Construction & Materials. These committees oversee and maintain provisions for NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, NFPA 220 Standard on Types of Building Construction, NFPA 221 Standard for High Challenge Fire Walls, Fire Walls, and Fire Barrier Walls, NFPA 703 Standard for Fire-Retardant-Treated Wood and Fire-Retardant Coatings for Building Materials, and NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code.

The committees and panels serve as the principal consensus bodies responsible for developing and updating all NFPA codes and standards. However, the NFPA standards development process encourages public participation in the development of its standards. Interested parties may view more on how the NFPA standards development process works here.

Build With Strength is a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes standards advocacy to leverage policies promoting safety and resiliency and help place more concrete. For more information on fire codes and standards advocacy efforts, contact Shamim Rashid-Sumar at ssumar@nrmca.org.

Calendar

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

August 18, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Sustainability
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

September 10-17, Online Course
Concrete Durability Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

September 15, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Innovation
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

September 29 - October 3, Kissimmee, FL
NRMCA’s ConcreteWorks 2021
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

October 13, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: High Performance
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

October 18 - 20, Orlando, FL
Ready Mixed Concrete Safety Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

October 19 - 22, Dallas
CCSP Module I (Intro to Concrete Fundamentals)
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

November 9 - 11, Dallas
Effective RMC Supervisor Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

November 17, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Resilience
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

November 30 - December 2, Orlando, FL
NRMCA Environmental Certification Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

December 7 - 10, Orlando, FL
Plant Manager Certification Course
Co-located with Florida Concrete & Products Association
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

December 7 - 9, Dallas
CCSP Module II (General Business Knowledge)
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4835

December 15, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Low-Impact Development/Responsible Sourcing
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

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