Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 12, 2017
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
RSS
Take Action!
On the Inside
REGULATORY
House Passes Sweeping Regulatory Reform Legislation
AGC WebED: The 2017 Regulatory Road Ahead: What Construction Contractors Need to Know
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Contributes to Timely Reissuance of Workable Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits
EPA Scales Back Near-Road Emissions Monitoring Requirements
AGC to Host Roundtable Discussions for In-House Environmental Managers
TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration Includes Climate Change Calculations in New Performance Rules
Confirmation Hearing Held for Trumpís Pick for Transportation Secretary
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Fights Against Government Mandated Project Labor Agreements
Donít Miss a Chance to Save on Registration for the Federal Contractors Conference
REGULATORY
House Passes Sweeping Regulatory Reform Legislation
 

On Jan. 11, the House of Representatives passed an AGC-backed, comprehensive regulatory reform package. The Regulatory Accountability Act, H.R. 5, would help ensure that regulations undergo thorough economic analysis, are based in sound science and/or substantial empirical data, and are transparent with clear and feasible methods and goals. Five Democrats—Reps. Jim Costa (Calf.), Henry Cuellar (Tex.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), and Kurt Schrader (Ore.)—joined Republicans to pass the measure.

The House last week passed other AGC-supported regulatory reform legislation that would help roll back Obama administration midnight rules and require Congress to approve major regulations before they take effect.  AGC will continue to press for passage of this sensible and needed regulatory reform legislation in the Senate.

For AGC’s regulatory plan for the Trump Administration, click here.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or 703-837-5325.  Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC WebED: The 2017 Regulatory Road Ahead: What Construction Contractors Need to Know
Thursday, Jan. 19 / 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM ET
 

The Obama administration may be on its way out, but much of its regulatory legacy could remain intact. What pending or new regulations should be high on your construction company’s radar screen in the new year? What are the chances of President-elect Trump rolling back the last eight years of regulations? Register today for AGC’s webinar detailing what construction contractors need to know—complimentary for AGC members, $49 for non-members.

During this webinar, AGC’s Regulatory Counsel Jimmy Christianson and Peckar & Abramson construction law attorney Michael Branca will address these questions for construction contractors across the industry—whether private building, transportation, utility or federal contractors. The webinar will provide an overview of and outlook for the 2017 regulatory landscape, touching on:

  • The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Silica Rule and Injury and Illness Record Keeping Rule (Impacting Employer Drug Testing Procedures);
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule;
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule and Construction General Permit for stormwater discharges;
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Local Hiring Rule, Buy America Rules, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program;
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Mentor-Protégé Program and Lower Tier Small Business Subcontractor Counting Rule;
  • The Project Labor Agreement Executive Order;
  • The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (Blacklisting) Executive Order; and
  • The Paid Sick Leave Executive Order

To register,click here.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or 703-837-5325.  Return to Top
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Contributes to Timely Reissuance of Workable Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits
Corps Refrains from Adding More Restrictions, Limits on Use of General Permits
 

In a notable victory for the business community, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) last week published its final nationwide permit (NWP) rule. This rule reissues the 50 existing Clean Water Act (CWA) permits that are set to expire on March 18, and adds two new permits and one new general condition. The timely reissuance of an efficient and streamlined general permit process was informed by extensive feedback from AGC and its industry allies. AGC’s effective advocacy work – including a 14-page comment letter and a meeting with the regulator leading the permit reissuance effort – had a positive impact on the final 2017 NWP package. 

Early on, AGC was concerned when the Corps’ proposal considered changes in the impact limits and notification requirements for certain nationwide permits.  The Corps also sought comment on the relationship between the nationwide permit program and the 2015 revisions to the definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ (which dictates the scope of the federal control and CWA permitting responsibility).  Also high on AGC’s radar, were possible changes in how compensatory mitigation is conducted and changes in the Corps’ use of waiver provisions. Despite a strong push from the environmentalist community to reduce the acreage limits, making less projects eligible for nationwide permits and forcing them into the much more arduous individual permit category, the Corps held the limits steady. The Corps also removed references to the 2015 changes to the definition of Waters of the US, which is currently stayed nationwide by order of a District court while the many lawsuits over this rule proceed.

Nationwide permits are valid for five years; however, if your project is currently under construction, or is under contract to commence prior to March 18, 2017, you can obtain a one-year extension to complete the project under the existing permit authorization.  If that is not the case, you will need to request authorization under a new permit (i.e., renew the nationwide permit during construction or secure individual permit coverage).  Next, AGC Chapters and members may wish to engage in the regional conditioning process that is currently underway at the Corps district level. For more information, look here.

For more information, contact Scott Berry atberrys@agc.org or (703) 837-5321. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
EPA Scales Back Near-Road Emissions Monitoring Requirements
 

AGC members, particularly its highway contractors, may breathe a sigh of relief when learning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule to relax a mandate for smaller cities to install near-road nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions monitoring stations.  Indeed, it would not have been easy to administer a comprehensive monitoring network near roadways and obtain results that can be easily understood.  Bad data could have pushed more areas into “nonattainment,” which puts highway/transit funding and new construction in jeopardy.  AGC was also concerned about the increased use of roadway concentration data in future standard-setting processes or to inform transportation planning and decision making. (For instance, AGC recently responded unfavorably to a U.S. Department of Transportation proposal that contemplates measuring greenhouse gas emissions from on-road mobile sources as a way of evaluating highway performance).

AGC had urged EPA to avoid imposing costly and unsubstantiated requirements on states to monitor and measure NO2 levels near roadways.  EPA chose to finalize a wide-ranging monitoring provision in early 2010, despite AGC’s objections.  Now, EPA is scaling back those requirements.

For more information, contact Leah Pilconis atpilconisl@agc.org or (703) 837-5332 Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC to Host Roundtable Discussions for In-House Environmental Managers
 

If you work on environmental issues at a construction firm, please consider joining your peers in a day of roundtable discussions on March 9 at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The AGC In-House Environmental Managers (IHEM) Meeting creates a forum for environmental professionals at construction firms to have greater peer-to-peer learning and interaction.  The meeting features a series of moderated roundtable discussions without formal presentations or guest speakers.  Meeting participants choose the topics in advance and then spend the day sharing first-hand experiences and discussing solutions to the challenges on their to-do lists.  To ensure active discussion, space is limited.  More information and a link to registration are here.

Note: The March 9 environmental managers meeting will coincide with the dates/location of AGC’s 98th Annual Convention and CONEXPO-CON/AGG-2017, scheduled for March 7-9.  We hope that you will maximize your stay in Las Vegas and join us for multiple AGC events.   

If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org.   Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration Includes Climate Change Calculations in New Performance Rules
DOT Issues Environmental Review Document
 

In an effort to impose new environmental constraints on transportation infrastructure development prior to the start of the new administration on Jan. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued final rules on performance measures for congestion and freight movement that include requirements for states to measure and report CO2 (Greenhouse Gas- GHG) emissions from on-road vehicles for projects receiving federal funding. AGC, along with numerous other groups and Members of Congress, had advised U.S. DOT in formal comments that it lacked authority to expand into CO2 emissions; however the Department did not agree. In one victory for AGC, the performance measures do not require measuring emissions from off-road construction vehicles and equipment as had been suggested by DOT and opposed by AGC.

The 2013 highway authorization legislation, MAP-21, directed the Department to establish performance measures on a variety of different factors to determine if federal investment in infrastructure was achieving its goals and how to target future investments. However, MAP-21 specifically limited the items that the Transportation Department was to include in these measures and did not include GHGs. AGC will urge the new administration to reconsider this rule once the new transportation secretary is confirmed.

In a separate action, the Transportation Department released updated implementation procedures for states to use to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Not only did the Department rush these procedures out for publication with limited (21 days) opportunity for public comment, the document adds a new level of oversight to the environmental review process. This undermines efforts by Congress in the past three transportation authorization bills and previous administrations to streamline environmental review and shrink the time it takes for project approval.

In addition, the document limits the use of “categorical exclusions” which provide an expedited review process for the everyday transportation projects expected to have limited environmental impact. The new procedures also expand requirement for states to consider climate change as part of the review process. U.S. DOT also references in the document that it will be developing additional guidance documents but chose to not wait until these were completed so as to gather additional public comment. AGC provided written comments on these proposed procedures but believes that more informed comments could have been submitted if the normal 60 day comment period was provided as is called for in an Executive Order issued by President Obama.

For more information, contact Brian Deery atdeeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-53149.

  Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Confirmation Hearing Held for Trumpís Pick for Transportation Secretary
Signals Support for Federal Spending and Addressing the Highway Trust Fund
 

The Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation hearing this week for President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao.  Ms. Chao – who previously served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in President George H.W. Bush’s Administration – is expected to help shape an infrastructure plan that has been promised by President-elect Trump.  Her confirmation to the position is all but guaranteed and is likely to occur soon after Trump takes office on January 20. 

Secretary Chao offered no specifics of what a Trump infrastructure plan would include but she did acknowledge that the challenges with any plan lie in how it is paid for. During the hearing she expressed the belief that both direct federal spending and private financing will be a part of the incoming administration’s proposal.  She went on the say that seeing a patch for the Highway Trust Fund – which will be facing insolvency in 2020 – will be a “top priority” for the Department.  Additionally, Chao said one of her first orders of business will be to create an infrastructure task force.

Although the hearing was short on specifics, Secretary Chao made it clear she plans on working closely with Congress as the Secretary of Transportation. AGC supports Secretary Chao’s nomination and looks forward to working with her to promote a pro-construction agenda at the Department of Transportation.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Fights Against Government Mandated Project Labor Agreements
Urges Trump Administration to Repeal and Replace
 

This week AGC, and others, urged President-elect Trump’s administration to repeal President Obama’s executive order that encourages federal agencies to require project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects exceeding $25 million, and replace it with a policy that prevents agencies from forcing contractors to enter into a labor agreement as a condition for winning a federal construction contract.  Last year, AGC requested this PLA reform when it shared its federal agency regulatory, compliance and enforcement plan with members of the Trump Presidential Transitional Team.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs.  AGC strongly believes that the choice of whether to adopt a collective bargaining agreement should be left to the contractor-employers and their employees.  Such a choice should not be imposed as a condition to competing for, or performing on, a publicly funded project.

To view more details on AGC’s Regulatory Road ahead, click here.
To view more details on AGC efforts opposing government mandated PLAs, click here.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Donít Miss a Chance to Save on Registration for the Federal Contractors Conference
Early-Bird Rate Expires Feb. 1
 

Register by February 1 for the 2017 AGC Federal Contractors Conference (FEDCON) and save $50 off the registration fee. FEDCON is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Small Business Administration Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses and may have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. Leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing dialogue and meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.

For more information and to register, go to http://meetings.agc.org/fedcon/registration/ Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.