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ICPI Establishes Government Relations Special Committee  September 10, 2006

The ICPI Board of Directors established a Government Relations Special Committee at the February Annual Meeting. The Committee had their first meeting in May and below you will find a summary of their activities to date. Steve Oberfield chairs the committee and Larry Nicolai, Fred Adams, Angel Abeleria, Bobby Staten, Steve Berry, Marshall Brown, Russ Heitman and Meade Freeman serve as members. Charles McGrath and David Smith are staff liaisons to the committee along with outside government relations counsel, Randall G. Pence, Esq. of Capitol Advocates.

The ICPI Board of Directors approved the committee's recommended government relations priorities at their meeting on August 26th.

Selection of ICPI priorities. ICPI settled on the following issues for monitoring:

1) Access Board amendments to its ADA Guidelines affecting paver use.

2) Immigration policy: impact on the labor pool/punitive actions against employers.

3) A major OSHA regulation on silica.

The Committee identified the following issues as ripe for advocacy at present:

1) Recognition of pavers/porous pavements for environmental programs in EPA.

2) Worker training initiatives to improve the labor pool for paver installers.

3) Military/Corps of Engineers use of paver technology in military construction.


Silica regulation: a silica regulation remains on top of OSHA's agenda. OSHA's detailed "risk analysis" is under way, but the date for completion of the peer review of the Health Effects/Risk Assessment document is delayed to November 2006. OSHA is moving forward on a silica regulation but we know it will not be able to publish in 2006. However, there is a strong possibility that OSHA will publish in 2007; ICPI should expect heavy action in 2007.

Meanwhile, the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has issued a new lower Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for silica. Under the Hazard Communication regulation (HazCom), this damaging new TLV must be referenced in concrete product MSDS sheets. ICPI takes exception to this action because the new TLV was produced by non-consensus-based action by ACGIH. In response, ICPI has 1) updated its template MSDS sheet for use by its members, 2) contacted the U.S. Secretary of Labor to seek an administrative suspension of the HazCom rule in this case, and 3) submitted testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections supporting a bill that would block the DOL from enforcing HazCom regarding the new ACGIH TLV. ICPI members should also be aware that OSHA is being sued over the ACGIH/HazCom matter as well. With the heavy pressure brought against OSHA in multiple forums, we await OSHA's next move.

ICPI establishing a relationship with EPA: ICPI arranged to meet with key EPA staff to establish a rapport, commonality of purpose and a long-term working relationship to highlight the broad use of pavers to meet national water quality and flood control goals.

ICPI and EPA have substantial identity of interest on specific issues such as restoration of 104(b)(3) monies for targeted demonstration projects and research, and updating the national BMP database (which will require an organizational framework going forward.

EPA's funding for programs that could demonstrate uses of pavers has been cut sharply. ICPI has requested template budget language that was used in the past to secure funds for this purpose as a prelude to seek Hill support to restore funding for projects involving pavers. Re: the national BMP database update, it is likely in ICPI's interest to support EPA leadership among the federal agencies based on the premise that EPA's interests are most similar to ICPI's (versus other agencies with competing priorities).

Worker training initiative: CHA has prepared a draft letter to Department of Labor Secretary Chao requesting that DOL engage a new initiative to promote highly skilled workforce opportunities to high school juniors and seniors. The goal would be to portray careers in the highly skilled trades in a positive light and educate high-quality training candidates as to the financial rewards and job security available. The letter would specifically mention paver installers in the class of occupations that should receive favorable mention to students.

ICPI establishing a relationship with Pentagon/USACE: We have initiated contact with the Pentagon/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek an introductory meeting to establish ICPI as the voice of the concrete paver industry and to set up an ongoing working relationship. Pavers can have substantial use in military applications under the new Pentagon Transformation Initiative that places a premium on ease of installation, operation, maintenance and quick replacement when needed. ICPI seeks an industry outreach meeting with the appropriate design, draft specification and R&D staff under Pentagon control to brief them on concrete paver technology and applications, and for ICPI to learn of design, research, demonstration and related initiatives in which ICPI and its members might participate. Because of the strain on Pentagon resources at the current time, we have not had a response to the request as of yet but we expect action on the meeting request in September. If efforts to obtain the meeting through a direct request do not yield results in a reasonable timeframe, we will recommend seeking support on the Hill to urge the meeting.

Access Board: we expect the Access Board to update its ADA Guidelines affecting paver use later this year. U.S. DOJ and DOT and will follow-up with another notice and comment period before finalizing adoption of new standards. Until then, the current ADA standards remain in effect. We are monitoring for the expected announcements.

Immigration policy: two draft ICPI position letters to Congress and subsequent email traffic indicated insufficient consensus in the association to proceed on a letter to Capitol Hill. This reflects the clear lack of consensus across the country. ICPI suspended action on a position letter pending further clarification of Hill action.

Announcement of a new update to OSHA Respiratory Standard: On 8/24/06, OSHA issued a new update to its respiratory standard. The document adds definitions and requirements for Assigned Protection Factors and Minimum Use Concentrations. The rule becomes effective November 22, 2006. Click here to view a PDF version of the report.

ICPI to co-sponsor Canadian Cement Association Lobby Day
ICPI will co-sponsor a reception on Wednesday, October 25th for Canadian members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers and participate in the Lobby Day on Thursday, October 26th in Ottawa. Contact Rob Burak for more information.

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