On May 15, AGC put forth itssupportforthe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to expand the universal waste regulations to include non-empty aerosol cans. Recognizing that aerosol cans are often the only hazardous waste stream produced on a construction site, this proposal could change a company’s status as a “generator” and reduce program costs and facilitate recycling.
From the repeal and replacement of the 2015 definition of Waters of the United States and opening up the National Environmental Policy Act procedures, to reevaluating regulations on listing species and designating critical habitat; the spring Unified Agenda sets a busy schedule for the year ahead.
The AGC Labor and Employment Law Council (LELC) held its 34th Annual Construction Labor Law Symposium on May 3 and 4 in Washington, DC. Attorneys and labor relations managers from across the country gathered to learn about labor and employment law developments and government initiatives relevant to construction employers.
Registrationandhotel reservationsare open for the June 5 tour of theInternational Union of Operating Engineers’ brand newInternational Training & Conference Center in Crosby, TX.
Construction employment increased by 17,000 jobs in April and by 257,000 jobs over the past year while firms boosted pay to help recruit new workers, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the increases in pay appear to be attracting more former construction workers back into the job market, but cautioned that labor conditions remain extremely tight.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to meet Clean Air Act deadlines to review, revise and implement national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) – with nitrogen oxides and ozone at the forefront of recent actions. President Trump recently issued amemothat directs the Agency and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to take a series of “actions” to facilitate state and industry compliance with NAAQS and reduce barriers to economic growth. This includes decisions for the air permits needed to construct new facilities or to expand or modernize existing facilities. The memo notes that these air construction permits have become increasingly difficult to obtain as NAAQS have become more stringent. The White House said in apress releasethat the “Administration will reform NAAQS implementation to provide States with a more efficient process and to promote economic growth."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recentlyproposed a rulethat would streamline the regulation of hazardous waste aerosol cans (currently managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C, generally because of their ignitability, and subject to stringent rules on handling transport and disposal) by adding them to the existing federal list of materials that can be managed under the universal waste management system.EPA’s universal waste rulesprovide a streamlined hazardous waste management system for common industrial wastes like batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and lamps. (“Authorized” states would choose whether or not to adopt the new universal waste rules into their state programs. Some states have already added them to their universal waste lists.) This would likely simplify handling and disposal for contractors and save firms money (e.g., no manifest required for transport). Notably, because aerosol cans are often the only hazardous waste stream produced on a construction site, classifying them as universal waste could change a company’s “generator status” and exempt it from RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste requirements. Universal wastes do not need to be counted toward a hazardous waste generator’s inventory for determining whether the generator is classified as a Very Small Quantity Generator, Small Quantity Generator, or Large Quantity Generator.
The construction industry can benefit from the federal funding for clean diesel activities available now. Non-profit organizations, like AGC Chapters, are eligible to apply for funding. Construction companies may find themselves well positioned to partner with their local chapters or with other eligible agencies or organizations to create and implement clean diesel programs funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national clean diesel grant program.
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between March 2017 and March 2018, while 29 states added construction jobs between February and March, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials said the job gains are coming amid strong private-sector demand and new public-sector investments in school and airport construction.
On April 12, the U.S. Senate confirmed attorney Andrew Wheeler, former lobbyist and congressional aide, to serve as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy administrator. AGC hadurgedthe Senate to confirm Mr. Wheeler’s nomination. If EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt were to leave the agency, Wheeler would be next in line to becomeactingadministrator.