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Florida Voices: Wrong Call on Fly Ash Amendment

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Florida Concrete & Products Association and its coalition partners have joined the National Federation of Independent Business – Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations group in order to increase the voice of duplicative, over-arching regulation. Last week the federal transportation committee elected to move forward with the transportation bill. FCPA has been watching the debate on the federal transportation bill closely and were disappointed to learn the fly ash amendment would not be included.

The amendment was a common sense way to regulate an already secure standard. In fact, the ready mixed concrete industry is the largest beneficial user of fly ash. Our industry, which comprises more than 1,300 manufacturers of concrete, believes that CCRs, such as fly ash, should continue to be federally regulated as a non-hazardous waste. Dozens of federal and state policymakers, including groups like the National Governors Association and the Environmental Council of the States, plus the state transportation department agree.

The federal fly ash amendment would have established firm standards for handling coal ash, providing strong public health and environmental protection, while preserving beneficial use and associated jobs. Approximately 85 percent of our industry is made up of small businesses—many of them family-owned companies. An estimated 30,000 people directly derive their livelihoods from the ready mixed concrete industry in Florida.  The last thing we need during these troubled economic times is over-reaching federal regulation that threatens jobs.

Additionally, if fly ash recycling were restricted it would increase costs for many businesses, which would be forced to turn to more expensive alternatives in manufacturing their products. With unemployment figures in the concrete products industry more than double the state average — any increased costs due to regulation will force some small businesses to shed jobs or close their doors entirely.

When combined with the ingredients that make up ready mixed concrete, fly ash works to create a stronger, more durable end product. Because of this, fly ash concrete is responsible for our ability to construct roads, bridges, homes, commercial buildings, and much, much more.  It is a very important part of our nation’s foundation. Without this important material our current and valued way of life would be very different. FCPA will continue to work to correct this issue and the Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations effort will help our state get back on track.

Mike Murtha is president of the Florida Concrete and Products Association.

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