AGC, Transportation Construction Coalition Begin August Highway Trust Fund Grassroots Push
Meet with Your Federal Representative While They are in Your District
This week, the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction
Coalition (TCC) kicked-off a grassroots effort to remind members of Congress
that although they passed a five-year transportation bill last year, their job
is not done and the Highway Trust Fund is still in need of a long-term revenue
source. Use the August recess to meet
with your federal Representative and advocate for a permanent Highway
Trust Fund fix to be included in any comprehensive tax reform package.
The House Ways & Means Committee released their blueprint
for tax reform several weeks ago, which failed to mention the funding problems
with the Highway Trust Fund. The Ways and Means Committee needs to hear our
industry’s concern about the failure to include a Highway Trust Fund fix in that
blueprint. Visit Hardhats
for Highways for talking points to help you in your meeting with your
federal Representative, along with information on providing comments directly to the Ways & Means Committee about the
importance of fixing the Highway Trust Fund. If you are unable to meet in person with your
member of Congress, you can send a letter to your
representative through our Hardhats for Highways website.
For more information, please contact Sean
O’Neill at email@example.com or (202)
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Members of the House Asking for a Vote on Water Infrastructure Bill in Bipartisan Letter
Urge Your Rep. to Sign On to the Letter
House and Senate committees earlier this year passed water
infrastructure bills – known as the Water Resources Development Act – that
would collectively invest billions of dollars in municipal drinking water and
wastewater projects and Army Corps of Engineers’ projects, including flood
control and levees, locks, dams, harbor maintenance dredging and environmental
restoration throughout the nation.
However, the bills have not yet been brought to the chambers’ floors for
a vote, endangering their success in this election year. There is currently a bipartisan letter
circulating in the House seeking a vote on WRDA before the end of the fiscal
year (Sept. 30). Contact your U.S. Representative
while they are home for their summer recess and tell them why it is important
to pass WRDA and ask them to sign the bipartisan letter.
information, please contact Sean O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 547-8892.
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AGC Comments on 2017 Proposed Package of ‘Nationwide’ Permits
On Aug. 1, AGC
commented on the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposal to reissue and modify its nationwide
permits (NWPs) general conditions and definitions – “general” permits that
authorize construction activities in “Waters of the United States.” As an
active member of the Waters Advocacy Coalition , AGC signed on to WAC’s detailed
comments on the
interplay between the 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” rule and the reissuance of the
2017 nationwide permits. AGC’s individual comment letter incorporated some
of the points raised in the coalition letter, while further expressing issues
and concerns specific to the construction industry.
After meeting with the Corps and receiving
input from its membership, AGC’s comments stressed that any
changes to the program should maintain a streamlined process in order to avoid
project delays, higher costs and increased uncertainty for activities with
minimal impacts on WOTUS. AGC urged the Corps to consider increasing the
acreage limits and pre-construction notification thresholds, as well as refrain
from imposing a linear-foot cap for NWPs that support public health and welfare
and/or environmental protection. In addition to point-by-point feedback
on several conditions, AGC encouraged the Corps to retain critical waivers currently
available and made recommendations to improve the regional conditioning
For more information on AGC’s comment letter,read the full article on AGC’s Web site. If you have questions, please contact
AGC’s Leah Pilconis at email@example.com.
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White House Guidance Directs Agencies to Consider Emissions and Resilience
Federal Construction Projects in the Crosshairs
On Aug. 2,
the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final
guidance to federal agencies on incorporating greenhouse gases (GHG)
and climate change into agency actions where the National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) currently applies. It is unclear at this stage exactly how
burdensome these new requirements will be to the already extremely costly and
lengthy NEPA process. Environmental interest groups already use NEPA
litigation as a key strategy to delay projects. Although the federal
government usually prevails in such litigation, according to a 2014 Government
Accountability Office report, it often leads to more upfront time and
cost as agencies “attempt to prepare a ‘litigation-proof’ [Environmental Impact
Statement]” and can delay construction projects for years.
encourages agencies to quantify direct and indirect GHG emissions for
construction projects where NEPA applies, as well as, short-term and long-term
effects, cumulative effects and impacts from connected actions. The
guidance also directs agencies to analyze the long-term climate impacts,
adaptability and/or resilience of their actions – such as vulnerabilities to
storm surges or extreme heat. Agencies also must identify efforts (e.g.,
energy efficiency, carbon capture) to mitigate resultant environmental impacts.
See AGC’s Environmental Observer for more details, or contact Melinda Tomaino
The CEQ webpage also has additional guidance. Additionally,FedCenter.gov provides extensive information on climate
related requirements, resources, and agency adaption plans.
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New OSHA Guidance on Increased Fines
Fine Increases for Lesser Violations Detailed for First Time
On August 2,
the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its
operations manual to explain how OSHA inspectors must calculate
fines—which are rising as much as 78 percent—as AGC has previously reported hereand here.
In general, the updated manual shows fines for different violations increasing
across the board by 78 percent, not only for willful, repeat, serious,
failure-to-abate violations—as previously known—but also for “low” and
“moderate” gravity fines. For instance, the maximum fine for a violation rated
as “low gravity” is now $5,345—up from $3,000—and a “moderate gravity” serious
maximum fine is now $10,689—up from $6,000. OSHA previously released information
explaining how its maximum penalties for more egregious violations were
increasing, i.e., serious violation maximum penalties rise from $7,000 to
$12,471, and willful or repeated violation maximum penalties increase from
$70,000 to $124,709.
For more information, please contact Kevin
Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-837-5410 or Jimmy Christianson at email@example.com or 703-837-5410.
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Register for the 20th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Register Now and Save: Early Bird Registration Ends Aug. 19
sponsored by AGC and CFMA, the 20th
Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference will be held Oct. 19-21 at
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. This three-day conference offers programs
and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the
construction industry. The 32 interactive sessions will cover the latest
industry issues and their financial implications. Participants may earn up to 20
continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Register at meetings.agc.org/agc_cfma.
more information, please contact Brynn Huneke at (703) 837-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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