November 2009 – AggBeat
In his closing statement, Nye stressed that “the aggregates industry believes any momentum generated by the ARRA will be lost if Congress fails to act, sooner rather than later, on a well-funded, multi-year surface transportation authorization bill. An 18-month extension of the law just kicks the can down the road, so to speak. Our transportation infrastructure is the foundation of America’s economic stability and growth and has fostered its global competitiveness. Congress needs to make our nation’s transportation infrastructure a priority, and we must work together to build the transportation network of the 21st Century.”
House passes extension, but no rescission
To prevent a shutdown of government offices on Sept. 30, Congress approved a one-month continuing resolution (CR) to fund government programs with no approved FY 2010 spending bill, which includes the surface transportation and transit programs.
According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s eDigest & Washington Watch newsletter, the House had passed a three-month extension of the highway programs on Sept. 23, but it did not include a repeal of the $8.7 billion rescission of contract authority required under SAFETEA-LU. On Sept. 30, Senate Environment and Public Works committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and senior committee Republican Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) proposed a three-month extension of SAFETEA-LU with a repeal of the rescission. They proposed paying for the rescission using unspent funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Several senators objected, prohibiting action on the extension.
The CR cuts highway funding to about $30 billion for 2010, compared to $42 billion under the three-month extension. Senate and House transportation leaders say they will continue working to restore rescission losses and mitigate the impact on state highway programs, but according to the newsletter, talk seems to have cooled since some states are hit harder than others and restoring the lost funds would create losers and winners among the states.
EPA issues final greenhouse gases rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule which is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010. The rule requires large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under a new reporting system. According to the EPA, the new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and guide development of policies and programs to reduce emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and help identify cost-effective ways to reduce emissions in the future.
According to the NSSGA, the following items are especially important to the aggregates industry:
- The final rule does not require facilities to report their electricity purchases or indirect emissions from electricity consumption.
- The rule does not require control of GHGs, rather it requires only that sources above certain threshold levels monitor and report emissions.
- Certain downstream facilities that emit greenhouse gases (primarily large facilities emitting 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide or more of GHG emissions per year) will be required to submit annual reports to the EPA.
- The EPA is not requiring facilities to report emissions from mobile sources at their operations such as fleets.
- The rule allows a facility or supplier to cease annual reporting by reducing its GHG emissions.
- Cement production facilities have to report regardless of whether they meet the 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annual threshold.
- The EPA is not including any facility that has an aggregate maximum rated heat input capacity of the stationary fuel combustion units of less than 30 mmBtu/hr and no other emission sources within their boundary.
- The EPA will provide tools to assist potential reporters to comply with the rulemaking, as well as Webinars and meetings.
- NSSGA members have access to the association’s GHG reporting tool on the Members Only section on its Web site, www.nssga.org.
Neighbors tour Luck Stone quarry
Luck Stone opened the doors of its Ashburn, Va., quarry to local residents on Saturday, Oct. 10. The community open house gave quarry neighbors a chance to see what goes on in the quarry and, hopefully, will help the company get approval for its expansion plans.
According to Leesburg Today, the quarry offered tours of the plant, as well as food, music, and children’s activities that included a chance to climb aboard the quarry’s mining and crushing equipment. Company representatives provided information about the quarry’s mining operations, the products made from the rocks, and the steps taken to limit the impact of blasting and other operations on the surrounding community.