24 E Blasts

PACA Announces PELA Class of 2023

Thank you to all who submitted applications for the PACA Emerging Leaders Academy Class of 2023. We are pleased to announce the final class roster as follows:

  • Tyler Brubaker, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc.
  • Lou Bruzda, Murrysville Machinery, LLC
  • Dylan Chase, Pennsy Supply, Inc., a CRH company
  • Kevin Claycomb, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc.
  • Zachary Creech, Pennsy Supply, Inc., a CRH company
  • Michael Hopkins, R-E-D Industrial, Inc.
  • Chris Imbrogno, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
  • Tim Ingram, Specialty Granules, Inc.
  • Madison Kistler, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc.
  • Jeremy Landowski, Conewago Ready Mix
  • Caleb Martz, Heidelberg Materials
  • Tonia Masciotti, Rahns Construction Material
  • Paul McAndrew, Masters RMC, Inc.
  • Bailey Mills, Mellott Company
  • Jordan Rodgers, Allegheny Mineral Corporation
  • Jim Seidle, EADS Group
  • Adrian Snyder, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc.
  • Ben Welch, Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc.
  • Daniel Yoder, Centre Concrete Company

It is not too late to donate to this year's PELA class. Our goal is to reach $25,000 in donations and we are almost there! Help us reach our goal by donating HERE. Donations are used to add additional content to the curriculum each year. This year, we are so pleased to announce all the new additions we've been able to make so far. Please review this year's academic curriculum HERE.

We also wish to sincerely thank all of our host sites for 2023: Allan Myers, Fort Indiantown Gap, Dyer Quarry, Keystone Cement, and Specialty Granules.

Last, but definitely not least, thank you to those companies who have already donated to the PELA Class of 2023 as follows:

  • Allan Myers
  • Allegheny Mineral Corporation
  • Centre Concrete Company
  • Highway Equipment & Supply Company
  • Martin Stone Quarries, Inc.
  • Masters RMC, Inc.
  • Mellott Company, LLC
  • New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc.
  • PACA Staff
  • Rahns Construction Material Co.
  • Rohrer's Incorporated
Environmental News

EPA Continues to Focus on Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives

On January 12, EPA provided notice in the Federal Register that they are soliciting public comment and recommendations on the National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (NECIs) for fiscal years 2024–2027 (formerly called ‘‘National Compliance Initiatives’’). EPA also recently released their updated policy for enforcement and compliance initiatives. EPA has renamed this from “Compliance Initiatives” to “Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives” (NECIs) signaling their efforts to hold polluters accountable and compelling regulated entities to return to compliance. EPA’s main focus with respect to enforcement and compliance initiatives addresses the following issues for 2024-2027:

  • Creating cleaner air for communities by reducing excess emissions of harmful pollutants.
  • Reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.
  • Reducing significant noncompliance in the NPDES program.
  • Reducing noncompliance with drinking water standards at community water systems.

EPA is proposing to add these two new NECIs in the 2024-2027 cycle:

  • Mitigating climate change.
  • Addressing PFAs contamination.

We continue to keep an eye on the activities around the enforcement arena, as we are unsure how they will be implemented. If you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

EPA and Environmental Justice

In EPA’s FY 2022–26 Strategic Plan and EO 13985 Equity Action Plan, EPA has established goals and priorities specifically directed at addressing cumulative impacts in its actions in order to advance these federal environmental justice, equity, and civil rights policies. Furthermore, EPA’s Office of Research and Development has developed a definition of ‘cumulative impacts’ as ‘the totality of exposures to combinations of chemical and nonchemical stressors and their effects on health, well-being, and quality of life outcomes.’

As background, there are three Executive Orders that refer to ‘cumulative exposures’-- EO 12898, EO 14008, and finally, EO 13985 while not directly mentioning cumulative impacts, establishes federal equity policy indicating that understanding cumulative impacts is essential to addressing inequities in the implementation of laws, policies and programs in promoting equal opportunity for underserved communities.

In June 2022, EPA’s Office of General Counsel released an updated legal ‘toolbox’ to assist the agency in protecting marginalized communities from pollution. The 206-page document, entitled ‘EPA Legal Tools to Advance Environmental Justice’, was to be used to ensure compliance with the Biden Administration’s environmental justice efforts.

EPA just released a 52-page Cumulative Impacts Addendum that builds on the discussion of cumulative impacts in EJ Legal Tools, providing further detail and analysis on EPA’s legal authority to address cumulative impacts, and providing examples that look at the scope of EPA’s authority to address cumulative impacts in specific scenarios for each major EPA program.

EPA believes that by using the authorities in these rules and regulations, they can lay the groundwork for future governmental actions and stakeholder engagement to address cumulative impacts in communities with environmental justice concerns. It is their belief that these cumulative impact assessments can support actions under state, local, or tribal governments who have legal authorities to address matters such as zoning, land use, and local transportation that go beyond those provided by federal environmental laws, and stakeholders (including residents and community groups, local business, and the regulated community) who can voluntarily address cumulative impacts. The document is intended to cultivate additional discussions amongst these groups.

Should you wish to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact me. If this issue is raised by any of those opposing your permit actions, please contact Josie Gaskey.

DEP Bond Rate Guidelines

At the January 12th MRAB (coal Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board) meeting, DEP presented to the MRAB, their proposed changes to the Bond Rate Guidelines found here: https://files.dep.state.pa.us/Mining/BureauOfMiningPrograms/BMPPortalFiles/MRAB/Agendas_and_Handouts/2023/January_12/2023_Coal_Bond_Rate_Guidelines.pdf

Note that nearly every category has increased in cost. DEP expects this to be published in the PA Bulletin sometime in February.

Should you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS)

On December 30, 2022, EPA and the Corps of Engineers released their final WOTUS (Waters of the United States) rule which will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The 514-page pre-publication version can be found here. EPA’s website on this issue with all relevant documents can be found here.

The name itself is important in light of the Clean Water Act (CWA) because the rule determines which water bodies receive CWA protection. While EPA believes it has used all relevant information and agency expertise in developing this rule, the rule reverses the Trump Administration changes which we liked, expands the use of the significant nexus test, and returns to pre-2015 standards while introducing several new exclusions from federal jurisdiction, including new waivers for agricultural lands.

The timing on this is not good. EPA released this rule without waiting for the Supreme Court to render their decision on the Sackett v. EPA case, which the Court heard in October 2022, and is expected to have major implications on the CWA’s scope and enforcement. This means the agencies may need to rewrite the rule again once the Supreme Court issues its decision.

We will keep you updated, but if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Josie Gaskey.

Regulatory News

Federal Unified Agenda Includes New Updates of Concern

The federal fall Unified Regulatory Agenda was late this year. There are several updates on issues that will concern us.

  • MSHA’s silica rule NPRM (notice of proposed rulemaking) is now scheduled for April 2023 ahead of OSHA.
  • MSHA’s Safety Program for Surface Mobile Equipment final rulemaking is scheduled for July 2023.
  • OSHA’s lockout/tagout update NPRM is scheduled for July 2023.
  • OSHA’s silica NPRM is scheduled for September 2023.
  • OSHA will also be proposing an Infectious Disease rulemaking in September 2023.
  • EPA is working on a NPRM for NESHAP for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Portland Cement Manufacturing, as a result of green group comments and litigation, scheduled for May 2023.
  • EPA is also scheduled for a final rule on asbestos reporting and recordkeeping requirements under TSCA for May 2023.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife has about 140 NPRM for various species with varying timeframes. We’ll look at those to determine which might affect your facilities.

The link to the Federal Unified Agenda website is here. Should you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

Safety & Health News

MSHA Highwall Safety Alert

According to MSHA, since 2012, falling rocks and materials from hazardous highwalls have resulted in 9 mining fatalities and 27 serious injuries.

Subsequently, MSHA has issued a Highwall Safety Alert outlining best practices. These practices include:

• Develop and follow a plan for the safe control of all highwalls where miners work and travel near the highwall, and train miners to recognize highwall hazards.

• Conduct highwall examinations and assure hazards (loose rocks, overhangs, trees, etc.) are taken down or supported prior to work or travel near the highwall. Examine more frequently after rain, freezing and thawing.

• Scale highwalls to eliminate hazards, e.g. loose rocks or overhangs. Perform scaling from a position that will not expose miners to injury. Until hazards are corrected, place warning signs or barricades to prevent entry.

• Restrict highwall height to allow available equipment to safely scale the highwall. If benching is necessary, provide adequate bench width based on the type of equipment used for routine clearing or scaling operations.

• Examine highwalls after blasting.

• Remove trees, vegetation, and unconsolidated material a safe distance from the top edge of highwalls.

• Never park equipment, perform maintenance or store materials beneath highwalls.

• Use diversion ditches or slope the ground so that surface water drains away from highwall.

MSHA Proposed Silica Rule

MSHA is moving forward on the proposed respirable silica rule. MSHA’s proposed silica rule has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and is now under review. This signals that MSHA has completed writing the proposed rule.

All proposed rules go to OMB for their review before the rule can be published in the Federal Register. OMB has 90 days to review the rule. MSHA has noted in the latest Unified Regulatory Agenda that this will be published in the Federal Register in April 2023.

Should you have any questions, contact Josie Gaskey.

Members in the News

Howard Named Vice President of GTA

With 33 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry, including 21 years with GTA, Rob has been named a Vice President of GTA. Rob is responsible for overall management of construction observation and material testing (COT) / Special Inspection services performed in the eastern Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia regions. Additionally, he serves as the Chair of GTA’s COT Services Leadership Group which provides increased safety awareness; uniform hiring, training, and testing guidelines; a forum for group discussion and problem solving; team building strategies; and training for future leadership for our 21 offices. Rob champions GTA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and holds a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from the HR Certification Institute. Rob also works closely with our specialized on-boarding and recruitment teams.

Rob is a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania and oversees quality assurance and quality control on a variety of commercial, residential, institutional, and industrial projects. Specifically, Rob is responsible for specialized inspections in the field and laboratory including soil stabilization and ground improvements; shallow and deep foundation systems; masonry, concrete, and steel reinforcement observations; structural steel, cold formed steel, and wood framing observations; spray-applied fire-resistive materials (SFRM); exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS); roadway stabilization, and observation of subsurface explorations. Rob also leads our regional maintenance services including asphalt and concrete pavement evaluations, crack monitoring, water intrusion observation, slope restoration, and sinkhole observation and stabilization consultation services.

Rob earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Drexel University, and he is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Concrete Institute (ACI), International Code Council (ICC), National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Business Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA), Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), and Pennsylvania Aggregate and Concrete Association (PACA).

As a member of GBA, Rob serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and contributed to GBA’s recently published DEI Best Practices document. As member of the PACA, Rob is an active member of the concrete, cementitious materials, and aggregate technical communities and a contributing member of ACI’s Pennsylvania Code Advocacy Group. Mr. Howard provides class instruction for the ACI Concrete Field-Testing Technician - Grade I Certification, ACI Strength Testing Certification, and Post-Installed Concrete Anchor (PICA) Installer and Installation Inspector Certifications.

Moreover, Rob is also an active member of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. where he has held many positions including Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Business Development Committee; Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Lehigh Valley Council; Board of Directors; as well as participation with the Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, and Northeast PA Councils.

Rob is currently overseeing several retail, office, industrial, and mixed-use projects in Pennsylvania including the 1.267M GSF, mixed-use Piazza Alta hi-rise complex in City of Philadelphia. Piazza Alta is a series of steel stud framed buildings over a two-story concrete podium. The tallest tower elements, at 16 stories tall, form a backdrop to a central courtyard plaza edged by retail occupancies in the smaller scale buildings that surround the plaza.

One of Rob’s biggest fulfilments includes Men’s Small Group leadership which provides spiritual growth, relational support, accountability, and physical challenge while providing opportunity to serve our local community and church with spring clean-up and clean-out projects; serving breakfast to our sidewalk neighbors, and annual clothes and food drives to assist our local shelters.

Rob also assists PACA is many capacities through our certification programs for which we are extremely grateful. Congratulations, Rob!

Did You Know?

National Park Service Adding Area to National Register of Historic Places

The following property in Allegheny County is being considered by the National Park Service for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Mellon Park, Roughly bounded by Shady, 5th, and Penn Aves.; Beechwood and Bakery Square Blvds.; and, Mellon Park Rd., Pittsburgh, SG100008596

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