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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Utility Infrastructure

January 3, 2012
A last minute legislative compromise to avert a government shutdown saw Democrats and Republicans come together on the nine outstanding appropriations bills. Among them is the Interior/Environment appropriations bill, which contains the funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) State Revolving Loan Funds (SRFs). The compromise would fund the Clean Water SRF at $1.469 billion, down from $1.525 billion in FY 2011. The bill also funds the Drinking Water SRF at $919 million, down from $965 million in FY 2011. This represents total cuts to the SRFs of slightly more than $100 million.
December 17, 2011
On Dec.13, the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife held a hearing entitled "Our Nation’s Water Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities." The hearing featured testimony from Environmental Protection Agency Jim Hanlon, who is the Director for the Office of Wastewater management – with jurisdiction over the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Representatives from the engineering community were also there to discuss their latest report on water infrastructure.
December 16, 2011
The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2845) final language was agreed on last week and the bipartisan, bicameral work of the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction resulted in swift house passage Monday. The legislation authorizes funding for programs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through FY 2015. 
December 10, 2011
Legislation that that enhances pipeline safety and reliability in transporting our nation’s utility resources had previously passed two committees in the House. Now, newly agreed upon language to amend the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2845), will reauthorize federal pipeline safety programs through fiscal year 2015. Pipeline safety and the prevention of underground facility damages has been a top priority for AGC and this legislation is a significant step forward in the process to provide greater regulatory certainty and predictability for construction contractors.
December 9, 2011
The leading Democrats on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee proposed legislation instituting tough new ‘Buy American’ requirements for construction projects. The bill, “Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011” (H.R. 3533), will require all steel, iron and manufactured goods used in the covered construction categories to be produced in the U.S. Covered categories include federal-aid highway, rail, public transit, Amtrak, aviation, wastewater and FEMA mitigation projects. Many of these categories have pre-existing requirements that would be superseded by this bill’s more stringent requirements. Other programs have little experience with Buy American requirements outside of Recovery Act projects.
October 22, 2011
On Oct. 17, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, S. 275, the Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011.  The legislation would authorize more federal safety inspectors, increase penalties for violations and require pipeline companies verify their records on pipelines’ physical and operational characteristics and establish maximum operating pressures based on the verified information.
October 16, 2011
The House and Senate both approved three bilateral free trade agreements with the countries of Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. AGC supported approval to increase demand for construction services and keep costs low for components, materials, and manufactured goods.
October 15, 2011
On Tuesday, Congressman Rahall (D-W.V.), Congressman Bishop (D-N.Y.), Congressman LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Congressman Petri (R-Wisc.) introduced the “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act” (HR 3145). The bill includes Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) reauthorization with language similar to many of the reauthorization bills of the last few Congresses.
October 10, 2011
AGC joined several other industry and trade groups in the business community calling on Congressional leaders to oppose the expansion of Buy American provisions in the president’s jobs bill, the American Jobs Act of 2011. These provisions, while similar to language in the Recovery Act passed in 2009, are expanded to cover programs that have never been covered before.
October 6, 2011
Register today for AGC’s 2011 Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting to be held in Indian Wells, California, Nov. 10-12, 2011.

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