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April 30, 2018 – VOLUME 15, ISSUE 4

Mr. Leathers Goes to Washington:
ACPPA Storms the Hill at 2018 NACA Fly-In

ACPPA Counsel and Lobbyist Christian Klein (left) and ACPPA Vice Chairman Mike Leathers of Thompson Pipe Group made sure the interests of concrete pressure pipe producers were well represented at the 2018 NACA Fly-In. To learn more about Leathers, read the interview featuring him in the November 2017 Actionline.

In April, ACPPA continued to build its reputation as a leading member of the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA), participating more visibly than ever before at the 2018 NACA Washington Fly-In.

NACA, which is managed by the Portland Cement Association (PCA), is a coalition of a dozen concrete and cement industry trade associations.  Among other things, NACA coordinates an annual spring conference to bring the power of the 600,000 employee, $100 billion industry to bear on the policy process and give association members the opportunity to engage personally with lawmakers.

This year’s Fly-In, held on Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25, focused on infrastructure investment and, in particular, motivating congressional action on a permanent fix for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (which includes billions of dollars for airport construction programs), and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

Although ACPPA counsel and lobbyist Christian Klein is a consistent NACA participant, this year’s Fly-In was the first attended by an ACPPA member.  ACPPA Vice Chairman Mike Leathers, executive vice president of Thompson Pipe Group (TPG) and president of TPG Pressure was on hand for all parts of the event.  Over the course of the two-day meeting, Mike and Christian supported the coalition’s broader objectives while ensuring the interests of ACPPA members (e.g., encouraging Congress to include funding for drinking water infrastructure in the WRDA bill) were represented.  Christian, who has more than two decades of experience as a congressional lobbyist, participated in a panel discussion on how to conduct effective congressional visits and led a delegation of conference attendees (including Mike) through their Hill meetings.

To say it was a busy two days is an understatement.

The conference began on Tuesday afternoon with briefing sessions about hot issues, a discussion of Fly-In objectives, and the panel on which Christian participated with lobbyists from PCA, the American Concrete Pavement Association, and American Concrete Pumping Association. The group also heard from former presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who immediately endeared himself to attendees with his industry-specific joke (“A man walks into a bar with a chunk of concrete.  ‘What’ll you have?’ the bartender asks.  ‘One for me and one for the road,” the man replies.”)

Rep. Jeff Denham, one of two leading candidates to be the next chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, also spoke to the group that afternoon.  Receptions and dinner Tuesday evening featured remarks by senior Trump administration regulatory officials, Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) (the lead sponsor of NACA-supported life-cycle cost analysis legislation) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) the other leading candidate to chair T&I in the next Congress.

During a meeting with Samara Ressler, a member of Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) legislative team (right), Thompson Pipe Group’s Mike Leathers (left) explained how the benefits of an agricultural water pipeline project in Washington State rippled through the local economy.

Wednesday began bright and early with breakfast and additional policy briefings. By 10am, NACA delegations were fanning out across Capitol Hill to spread the coalition’s message.  Over the course of the day, Mike and Christian’s delegation met with eight congressional offices, including with staff in those of Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Chuck Fleischman (R-Tenn.) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.).  The group met personally with Reps. Bill Johnson, Brian Babin (R-Texas), Jared Polis (D-Col.), and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa).  In all, Mike and Christian’s delegation walked more than four miles back and forth across Capitol Hill and between House and Senate meetings (according to Christian’s iPhone fitness tracker).  Thank goodness for Dr. Scholl’s gel shoe inserts!

The day ended with a well-earned networking reception with congressional staff and conference attendees in the Cannon House Building at which two long-time infrastructure advocates – Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Charlie Dent (R-Penn.) – received lifetime achievement awards.

“This was a great conference,” Mike said upon conclusion of the event.  “The opportunities to hear from – and engage directly with – policymakers, learn more about the issues and network with senior industry colleagues all exceeded my expectations.”

“As a first-time attendee, I was particularly impressed by the great job NACA did to prepare me for our meetings, including explaining how to talk to members of Congress and staff, navigate the Hill and frame our issues. Having that background was extremely valuable and made us sound much more eloquent.”

“I’m not going to kid you; it was a lot of work,” Mike said. “Almost every minute of the two days was filled with activity.  But we accomplished a lot, learned a lot, made new allies in Congress and even had some fun along the way.  I was happy to show the flag for our industry, but it’s also clear that when it comes to an event like this, our impact is directly connected to how many companies participate.  I hope even more ACPPA members will be there next year to further strengthen our NACA alliance.”

2018 NACA Fly-In: The Day in Pictures

Mike (left), Duit Construction Co. Vice President of Operations Mike Lipps, Interstate Highway Construction Corporate Quality Manager Martin Holt and McCarthy Improvement Project Manager Maureen Bush prepare for a busy day of Hill meetings outside the offices of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Among the many members of Congress with whom Mike and Christian’s delegation met was Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) (second from right), a member of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee (which has jurisdiction over drinking water infrastructure).

Not every congressional meeting takes place in a congressional office. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee member Brian Babin (R-Texas) (left) was rushing to get to a vote on the House floor, so his staff set up an impromptu meeting for Mike with Rep. Babin outside the Cannon House Office Building.

While Mike and Christian’s delegation took a quick break in the Russell Senate Office Building’s historic Kennedy Caucus Room, Mike briefly considered announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Thankfully for all of us, he didn’t! (His talents are much better utilized in our industry.)

Pressure Pipe Post

ACPPA’s Monthly Source for Industry News
April 2018

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.



Flint Still Remembers
Despite the new influx of water infrastructure funding, research sponsored by the American Concrete Pressure Pipe Assn. and conducted at the College of William & Mary’s Public Policy Program in the fall of 2017 estimated that $1 trillion toward water infrastructure is necessary to properly keep pace with a growing society and to repair the failing systems currently in place. That study declared a much higher price tag than funds currently set aside for such projects, even with consideration of funding expected to come in following years.


Changes to State’s Water Infrastructure Assistance Would Better Assist Localities
When the faucet is turned on, we take it for granted that clean, safe water will come out of the spigot.


Rehabilitating Stormwater Pipe
In the booming 1990s, Orange County took a close look at its growing—and aging—water infrastructure to make decisions about maintaining and upgrading it. Officials knew they had to get the older infrastructure inspected and that repairs were necessary.


Op-Ed: Bill Would Undermine Local Professionals, Control
Out of sight out of mind could easily describe the thought process of most Michigan residents when it comes to underground infrastructure. Unlike roads, we cannot easily see the deterioration and wonder why or how this could happen. Many individuals, when they turn on their faucet or flush their toilet, never think about how it gets there or where it goes, but if you are the community operating that system that is all you think about.


Sewage Capacity Temporarily Affecting Housing Development in Reno
The race is on to fix northern Nevada’s housing shortage and it hasn’t always been a smooth road.


April is Safe Digging Month
The New York State Public Service Commission announced it is participating in the nationwide effort to recognize April 2018 as “Safe Digging Month.” This is a way to remind excavators and contractors that state law requires them to call one of the state’s toll-free one-call centers before starting any excavation or digging project.


Research Looks to Improve Rammed Earth
Researchers at the University of British Columbia are researching putting a modern twist on an old building method.


Early Age Strength Enhancement
While the ultimate strength of concrete (or compressive strength at 28 days) is the main parameter for the design of concrete structures, it is the strength that the concrete achieves up to 24 hours after placement that will typically define the speed of the construction. Therefore, early age strength enhancement is a much sought-after performance parameter by both the cement and the concrete producers.


The Future of Concrete in Sustainable Construction
Balancing the need for economic growth with sustainability remains one of the most pressing challenges facing the modern construction world – cue an abundance of green and renewable technologies. But what is less well-known, perhaps, are the advances in the environmental performance of concrete and the impact they will have on the green credentials of tomorrow’s buildings.


Cement Firms Warned on Climate Change Targets
A new report Building Pressure by the CDP analyses 13 of the world’s largest publicly-listed cement companies.


Fight Against Asphalt, Concrete Plant Over for Now as Weld County, Martin Marietta Confirm They Won’t Appeal
A nearly three-year legal fight over a concrete and asphalt plant near residential homes, an organic farm and a wedding venue in Johnstown has ended, as neither Weld County nor Martin Marietta Materials will appeal a Colorado Court of Appeals decision to reverse the Board of Weld County Commissioners approval of the plant.


What Lies Beneath: “Cognitive” Ground Penetrating Radar Could Vastly Speed Construction Site Inspection in Cities
Univ. of Vermont-Developed Technology Earns “Smart 50” Award, Is Featured at National Smart Cities Conference.


[Delaware] Water Work for Rehoboth Outfall Nearly Complete
In-water work on Rehoboth Beach’s ocean outfall is just about complete, city officials say, with the entire project set to wrap up in late May.


[Pennsylvania] Salisbury Awards Bid for Water Main Replacement
The Oley, Pa., company will replace a water main at Paxford Road, Maumee Avenue and Montgomery Street.


[Idaho] Bids Awarded for Ella, CIPP Projects
In addition to its many downtown projects this year, the city will be doing a maintenance and rehabilitation project on Ella Avenue.


[New Hampshire] Hampton Mulls Special Town Meeting to Replace Broken Sewer Pipe
Selectmen discussed the possibility of a special Town Meeting on Monday to replace a pipe under the marsh in which the public works director said he has “lost confidence.”


[California] City of Redding Replacing Sewer Mains
The City of Redding will be replacing the sewer mains and portions of the sewer laterals along portions of Churn Creek Road, Hartnell Avenue, Le Brun Lane, Del Sol Place, School Street, Linda Lane, Adams Lane, Camino Court, and Alexander Drive.

Workforce Development

[Canada] Contractors dig into breakfast, safety tips
Dozens of contractors chowed down on a warm breakfast as they got a refresher course on worksite safety last Wednesday morning.


Water Infrastructure

Environmental Protection Agency | Notice | Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Applications for Credit Assistance Under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that this budget authority may provide approximately $5.5 billion in credit assistance and may finance approximately $11 billion in water infrastructure investment, while covering increased costs associated with implementing a larger program.

Water Supply

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Notice | Intent To Prepare Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Allatoona Lake Water Supply Storage Reallocation Study and Updates to Weiss and Logan Martin Reservoir Project Water Control Manuals in the Alabama-Coosa- Tallapoosa River Basin
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District, intends to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to evaluate potential changes to the Water Control Manuals (WCMs) for three reservoirs in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River Basin and to the Master WCM for the ACT River Basin.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Notice | Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the City of Abilene, Texas, Cedar Ridge Reservoir Water Supply Project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of a proposed water supply project, the Cedar Ridge Reservoir, proposed by the City of Abilene, TX.


Water Infrastructure

H.R. 5596 | Introduced by Rep. Carbajal, Salud (D-Calif.) | Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2018
To authorize the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program of awarding grants to owners or operators of water systems to increase resiliency or adaptability of the systems to any ongoing or forecasted changes to the hydrologic conditions of a region of the United States.


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