A presidentially appointed multi-agency panel has sent a strong signal that clean coal, which is achieved through carbon capture and sequestration, should be a significant part of the nation’s future energy mix. The Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage, led by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Dept. of Energy, sent a report to President Obama on Aug. 12 outlining steps that should be taken to overcome barriers to widespread commercial deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Industry officials say the report is a step in the right direction, but many say commercial deployment of CCS
The Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal appeals court to give the agency 18 months to address what it termed a “flaw” in a 2009 stormwater regulation. The rule sets a limit on sediment discharges from construction sites. In April 2010, the Small Business Administration asked EPA to reconsider parts of that regulation. According to EPA, the SBA cited “potential deficiencies” with data used to arrive at the sediment limit. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also challenged the sediment limits. NAHB says the cost of complying with the standard would have risen up to $10 billion a
Cutting through the din of rancorous partisanship in American politics isn’t easy, but the two-year-old National Transportation Policy Project has gathered high-level veteran public figures to state clearly and advance the cause of transportation programming. HECKER The project is part of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., non-profit organization—founded by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and George Mitchell (D-Maine)—that offers policy recommendations on health care, energy, homeland security and other national topics. But with a six-year transportation reauthorization at hand but not yet on the legislative agenda and funding at
Four more associations have joined the ConsensusDOCS coalition, bringing the total number of groups affiliated with the group to 28. Established three years ago, ConsensusDOCS focus is on developing construction contract documents through a consensus-oriented approach. The group started out with 20 member associations, including the Associated General Contractors, the Construction Users Roundtable and the American Subcontractors Association. The four new members are the American Society of Professional Estimators, the National Ground Water Association, Women Construction Owners & Executives USA and the Construction Specification Institute. Brian Perlberg, executive director of ConsensusDOCS, says the addition of the four groups shows ConsensusDOCS
The Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants at portland-cement manufacturing facilities. When fully implemented in 2013, the rule, announced on Aug. 9, will require cement manufacturing facilities to limit emissions of mercury, total hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and particulate matter. EPA estimates implementation of the rule will reduce mercury emissions by 92% by 2013. Brian McCarthy, the Portland Cement Association’s CEO and president, says the emissions targets are “very low” and “will not be achievable” by many facilities. Ultimately, the U.S. cement production capacity could be affected, he adds.
Democratic solons are gearing up to try to pass Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) scaled-back oil-spill/energy legislation when Congress returns after Labor Day. REID Reid says all the bill’s provisions have bipartisan support. But some industry sources say the bill is too narrow and would do little to address the nation’s energy challenges or the economic crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. They say they would like to see included in the bill key provisions of legislation approved in 2009 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Reid pulled the package from the floor on Aug. 3 after
Sources say they don’t expect to see major changes in the direction of rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court with the addition of Elena Kagan, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 5. She will replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who stepped down from the court in June. “I would be surprised if [her confirmation] would cause any changes in results in the near future,” says Mike Kennedy, general counsel for the Associated General Contractors of America.
A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Highway Trust Fund could inform lawmakers’ discussions as they continue to work toward the next surface- transportation authorization act, says House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.). The report, released on Aug. 3, found that nearly all states received more funding from the Highway Trust Fund than they contributed. Oberstar says the report will be useful as Congress reconsiders the way it distributes highway funds to states. Drafts at the committee level have not yet determined the formulas for funding. “I have long believed that a federal surface transportation program
The construction industry is gearing up to carry out one of the most important federal safety actions in years: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s overhaul of its 39-year-old standard governing cranes and derricks. Photo Courtesy of AP Images A major provision is a new certification requirement for crane operators. OSHA, which is part of the Dept. of Labor, says its final crane-safety regulation, released July 28 and to be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 9, will affect about 267,000 certification organizations and construction and crane-rental companies that altogether employ 4.8 million workers. The first key date is
A Senate jobs bill, which includes provisions designed to help small businesses, suffered a setback on July 29 when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unable to assemble enough votes to block a filibuster. Senate Republicans opposed the measure, saying they wanted more time to offer amendments. It is unclear whether Reid will be able to bring the small-business bill back to the Senate floor before the August recess. Construction and other business groups support the measure, which would make it easier for small businesses to obtain credit by creating a $30-billion fund to support lending by community banks. It
In an unprecedented collaboration, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, and floor-covering supplier Interface are showing their collective commitment to embodied carbon reduction by joining the board of Building Transparency.