July 31, 2018 – VOLUME 15, ISSUE 7
Water Infrastructure Funding Bill Takes Center Stage
Legislation to provide funding for drinking and waste water investment has been front and center on Capitol Hill this month.
On July 19, the House passed the FY 2019 Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 6147) by a vote of 217 to 199. The bill increases funding for the State Revolving Loan Funds (SRF) (the primary vehicles for federal drinking water investment) by $300 million above the FY 2018 enacted base funding level. The Clean Water SRF would receive a total of $1.544 billion and the Safe Drinking Water SRF would receive $1.013 billion.
The bill also provides a total of $75 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program, which the House Appropriations Committee estimates may translate into a potential loan capacity in excess of $8 million to eligible entities for water infrastructure projects.
The Senate began debate on its interior-environment approps bill (S. 3073) on July 23. That legislation provides more than $2.86 billion for SRF programs and $63 million for WIFIA.
While appropriations are generally considered must-pass legislation (federal agencies shut down if the bills don’t get done), what form the final interior-environment approps bill will take is still anybody’s guess. The Senate version reflected bipartisan priorities and passed the subcommittee unanimously for the first time in eight years. The House bill, on the other hand, includes several riders likely to draw opposition from Senate Democrats, including provisions repealing the EPA’s controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, requiring federal agencies publish information on legal fees paid as a result of environmental litigation and prohibiting certain spending relating to wildlife protection.
There aren’t just significant differences between the House and Senate bills. Both diverge significantly from White House priorities, particularly in the area of spending. The House bill, which is more closely aligned with President’s Trump’s policy goals, provides $7 billion more for the agencies covered by the bill than the administration’s budget request.
Whether and how the appropriations process will play out remains to be seen. It’s likely that, as in past years, short-term extensions will be necessary to keep the government’s doors open past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Ultimately, another omnibus bill later this year or in early 2019 may be the way next year’s appropriation’s get done.
The chaos of the process aside, ACPPA members should take heart in the fact that funding for SRF programs is one of the few areas where there seems to be a consensus between the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, and Congress and the White House. ACPPA and its allies in the infrastructure community will keep the pressure on until it’s over the finish line.
Perkins is Done … We Won!
On July 25, the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act, moving quickly to approve the Senate’s version of the bill. President Trump kept up the quick pace, signing the measure into law on July 31.
The “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act” (H.R. 2353) was largely unchanged from the version passed by the House in June 2017. Having awaited Senate attention for more than a year, the upper chamber approved the measure within a month of its unanimous passage by the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee.
In general, the bill will give states more flexibility in designing CTE programs, while establishing tighter timelines and performance indicators to measure the success of state efforts. The legislation also broadly enhances coordination between schools, businesses and government to ensure students graduate with skills local employers actually need, increasing student participation in work-based learning opportunities and promoting the use of industry-recognized credentials.
ACPPA was among the first organizations to raise concerns about how the shortage of skilled technical workers would affect the construction and engineering sectors. As a result, the association has been a leading voice within the construction industry for Perkins Act reauthorization. As part of its ongoing efforts, ACPPA joined a June 14 letter coordinated by the National Association of Manufacturers urging HELP Committee leadership to move quickly to enact a Perkins bill.
Once Congress completed its long work on the bill, its signature by the president was certain. After House passage, the White House doubled down on an early tweet celebrating the bill, applauding Congress for its “tremendous, bipartisan effort.”
“By enacting [the bill] into law,” President Trump said in a July 25 statement, “we will continue to prepare students for today’s constantly shifting job market, and we will help employers find the workers they need to compete.”
The long-overdue reauthorization of the Perkins program represents a significant step towards providing states and communities with the resources needed to address the growing issue of a shortage of skilled labor across all industries.
Pressure Pipe Post
ACPPA’s Monthly Source for Industry News
To keep members aware of the activities of government and standards organizations, we regularly sweep public databases and publications for the industry-specific terms indicated below. We then provide our members with links to documents identified in the search. Please note that in some cases the URLs may link to subscription-only databases. The purpose of this service is to identify emerging threats and trends as well as opportunities for collective action by ACPPA.
Member Activities and Industry Resources
|Northwest Pipe Co. Buys Ameron|
|Northwest Pipe Company, a Vancouver-based manufacturer of water and wastewater infrastructure, acquired Ameron Water Transmission Group LLC in a $38.3 million cash sale.|
|Pipeline Services Team Aids in Successful Repair of Hurricane-Damaged Water Supply|
|In September 2017, Hurricane Irma caused a major storm surge along the Atlantic coast of Central Florida. A 36-in. water transmission main in Cocoa, Fla., was damaged, interrupting normal water service to 250,000 residents and a number of government and military installations along the coast and barrier islands. Because of its expertise and experience in PCCP, the Thompson Pipe Group (TPG) Pipeline Services team was brought in.|
|Forterra Announces Organizational Realignment of Water Pipe & Products Segment|
|Forterra, Inc., a leading manufacturer of water and drainage pipe and products in the United States and Eastern Canada, has announced an organizational realignment of its Water Pipe & Products segment. Rich Hunter, chief operating officer, will direct the operations team and Vik Bhatia, executive vice president, will lead the commercial team.|
|Transforming Non-Welders into Skilled Pipe Welders|
|Scottie Smith, a welding instructor from Northwest Florida State College, is The WELDER’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.|
|Is Your Water System Prepared for an Emergency?|
|Water and wastewater utilities must take steps to protect their infrastructure from damage during natural disasters and ensure they have a recovery plan should the worst occur. The EPA provides excellent resources for emergency response planning, including the All-Hazard Consequence Management Planning for the Water Sector.|
|Proposed Infrastructure Plan Would Increase WIFIA Appropriations|
|As part of a draft infrastructure bill released last week by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program would be reauthorized at $250 million over five years. See ACPPA coverage in this edition of Actionline.|
|Four Ways to Make Wiser Infrastructure Investments|
|America’s public infrastructure, particularly its transportation and water systems, is decaying, underperforming our nation’s needs and goals. But the solution to our infrastructure problem is relatively straightforward. America, at all levels of government and in conjunction with the private sector, needs to: Invest. More. Wisely.|
|[Michigan] Cleaner Water but Dirtier Prospects|
|After delays, Port Huron has announced a deal with the Michigan Department of Transportation to finally separate the last of its combined sewers and stop the discharge of untreated sewage to the Black River and points downstream.|
|Who Owns the Space Under Cities? The Attempt to Map the Ground Beneath Our Feet|
|This pet project – to test a private mass-transit system based on Hyperloop technology that would magnetically propel small pods and cars through LA’s underbelly – has now become a serious challenge to the famously traffic-snarled city’s failure to create viable public transit.|
|[North Dakota] Wimbledon Water Project to Start Soon|
|The South Central Dakota Regional Council and the city of Wimbledon conducted a pre-construction conference on Monday to initiate the construction of a new stand pipe within the city’s water storage tank.|
|War for Water? Syria, Iraq and Turkey Will Next Fight for Rivers, Report says|
|The next war in the Middle East could be fought over water as Iraq, Syria and Turkey scramble to assert claims to two vital rivers that run through the region, according to a new report.|
|Winnipeg Testing New Concrete Road Repair Material on Streets|
|Researchers at the University of Manitoba have developed a cementitious material that combines two important features, strength and quick hardening, that can be used for the partial depth repair of concrete pavements.|
|Successful Close to Singapore International Water Week With High-Value Business Deals|
|The event ended on a high note with more than 24,000 participants from across the world and S$23B in total value for announcements on projects awarded, tenders, investments and MOUs, underscoring its role in driving industry growth.|
|Influence of Nano-TiO2 on Mechanical Property and Hydration Characteristic of Cement High Volume of Fly Ash System|
|China is a coal-fired country. Both at present and for a rather long time to come, coal is and will remain the country’s main source of energy. Fly ash is an inevitable product of coal-fired power generation, with every four tons of coal consumption producing one ton of FA.|
Materials and Technology
|Cement: The Material that Holds the World Together|
|Cement is the most commonly used building material worldwide and is continuously growing. Cement manufacturers are however faced with challenges: complying with ever stricter environmental regulations, in an industry with some of the highest carbon dioxide emission|
|[Kentucky] There’s a Robot in Your Water Pipe (To Look for Cracks)|
|A 6-foot-long, high-tech robot snaked its way through 1.2 miles of a 48-inch diameter water pipe near Holzheimer Lane Tuesday morning, pinging electromagnetic pulses off metal in the concrete to detect structural weaknesses.|
|Concrete Production Uses a Ton of Sand and Emits a Lot of Carbon. Here are Some Greener Alternatives|
|Concrete has built our modern world. It makes our homes, offices, sidewalks, roads and bridges. But its production also spews carbon dioxide into the air. And as developing countries urbanize, global markets for the sand used in concrete are being stressed.|
|Making Concrete with Trash Instead of Cement|
|Researchers at Washington State University are working on a new form of concrete, re-engineered from the molecules up, using coal fly ash, a waste product that stems from coal-based electricity generation.|
|Cement Producers Are Developing a Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions|
|The World Cement Association recently held its first-ever global climate change forum, where industry leaders and scientists discussed strategies to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. It will help inform the development of a climate action plan, which the WCA intends to release in September, aimed at outlining pathways for low-carbon cement production.|
|What You Need to Know About Concrete: The Basics|
|Although it is used everywhere in modern construction, Concrete is by no means a modern invention. The Romans used it to build structures such as the Pantheon, and a 12-million patch of natural concrete was discovered in Israel in the 1960s.|
|Stormwater Pipe — Stories of Success and Challenge|
|Pipes of all kinds are mostly out of sight, out of mind. People know and appreciate the danger of a leak from a gas pipe. They understand the difficulties that come from a break in a sewer line. But they seldom consider or have a passing thought about pipes that carry stormwater from our streets.|
|Supreme Court Roundup: A Look Back – and Ahead – for Employment Law|
|As the Supreme Court ended its 2017-18 Term, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation; the Court did away with “agency fees” for public employees; and in other decisions favorable to employers, the Court solidified the use of class waivers in arbitration agreements and eased up on the standards for analyzing exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.|
|Department of Defense | Notice of Availability | Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northern Integrated Supply Project, Larimer and Weld Counties, Colorado|
|The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Omaha District has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of a water supply project called the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP or Project) in Larimer and Weld Counties, CO. The purpose of NISP is to provide|
|Environmental Protection Agency | Proposed Rule; Notification of Intent | National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Partial Deletion of the Peters Cartridge Factory Superfund Site|
|The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 is issuing a Notice of Intent for Partial Deletion of the Former Process Area (FPA) of the Peters Cartridge Factory Superfund Site (Peters Cartridge Site) located in Kings Mills, Ohio from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comments on this proposed action.|
|Department of Commerce | Notice | National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Partial Deletion of the Peters Cartridge Factory Superfund Site|
|On July 9, 2018, the United States Court of International Trade (the Court) entered final judgment sustaining
the final results of the remand redetermination by the Department of Commerce (Commerce) pertaining to the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe (CWP) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
|Department of Commerce | Final Review | Stainless Steel Butt-Weld Pipe Fittings From Italy: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016–2017|
|The Department of Commerce (Commerce) finds that Filmag Italia Spa (Filmag) did not sell stainless steel buttweld pipe fittings at prices below normal value during the period of review (POR) February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017.|
|Department of Defense | Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking | Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’ — Recodification of Preexisting Rule|
|The purpose of this supplemental notice is for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (agencies) to clarify, supplement and seek additional comment on an earlier
proposal, published on July 27, 2017, to repeal the 2015 Rule Defining Waters of the United States (‘‘2015 Rule’’), which amended portions of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Cast Iron Pipe
|Department of Commerce | Notice | Cast Iron Soil Pipe Fittings From the People’s Republic of China: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination|
|The Department of Commerce (Commerce) determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of Cast Iron Soil Pipe Fittings (soil pipe fittings) from the People’s Republic of China (China). The period of investigation is January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.|
|S. 3202 | Introduced by [Sen. Cruz, Ted (R-TX)] | North Texas Water Supply Security Act of 2018|
|To limit claims under Federal law seeking judicial review of any environmental impact statement, environmental review, or authorization for the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir Project in Fannin County, Texas, and for other purposes.|
|S. 3192 | Introduced by [Sen. Markey, Edward J. (D-MA)] | Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements (CLEARR) for Drinking Water Act of 2018|
|To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to update and modernize the reporting requirements for contaminants, including lead, in drinking water, and for other purposes.|