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Engine manufacturers take note as EPA revisits NOx emissions threshold

Through its just-announced Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aims to further decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and update a current engine exhaust standard in an early-2020 rulemaking. Set in 2001, the standard culminated in 2010 with a 0.2-gram brake-horsepower-hour NOx threshold for which engine manufacturers deployed selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment and urea-based diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). SCR injects DEF into the engine exhaust stream; the ensuing chemical reaction converts NOx into nitrogen, water vapor and traces of carbon dioxide.

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Injury, illness survey measures concrete, cement production incidents

New U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and estimates show private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017, down nearly 46,000 cases from the prior year and equating to a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

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Council grades states on energy efficiency through building, vehicle metrics

As the federal government loosens environmental rules, states are investing more in energy efficiency and delivering increased power savings. Based on 32 metrics in six areas, including building and vehicle performance, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) 12th annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard cites leaders California and Massachusetts; laggards North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming; and, states with the highest year-over-year improvements, notably New Jersey.

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FMCSA replicates mixer driver exemption for concrete pump peers

American Concrete Pumping Association members have secured a five-year exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirement that short-haul drivers utilizing the records of duty status exception return to their normal work reporting location within 12 hours of clocking in. It enables all concrete pump operators, pumping companies, and truck drivers who run concrete pumps to use the short-haul exception but return to their work-reporting location within 14 hours.

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Concrete Masonry Act opens door to checkoff referendum in 2019

The Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education and Promotion Act, authorizing concrete block and brick stakeholders to pursue an industry-wide referendum on a national commodity checkoff program, was signed into law last month as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. If modeled after other national programs, a concrete masonry unit checkoff could entail collection of one or more cents per building block or brick sold, with a producer-contractor board allocating funds to research, education and promotion activities—all under federal agency oversight.

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