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Definitive waters rule rises in wake of Obama EPA ambiguity

With the backdrop of the 2020 National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Clearly defining “waters of the United States,” it lays to rest one of the most contentious EPA actions—a 2015 Clean Water Act reinterpretation expanding federal authority over bodies of water small and large—attempted under the Obama administration. The new definition will see fewer residential and commercial building development projects subject to federal Clean Water Act (CWA) permits.

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Construction Industry interests salute Environmental Policy Act streamlining

The Portland Cement Association and National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association are among 35 members of Unlocking American Investment, a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led coalition supporting National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) revisions that will help cut typical infrastructure project permitting phases by more than 50 percent against current metrics.

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Design-build solution tames combined sewer overflow discharges

The $78 million Southwestern Parkway Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Basin project, a component of Louisville and Jefferson County (Ky.) Metropolitan Sewer District’s federal Consent Decree to mitigate CSO discharges to local waterways, received the Design-Build Institute of America’s 2019 Best in Engineering Design Award and National Award of Excellence (Water/Wastewater) recognition.

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Energy Department laboratory hosts 3D-printed turbine foundation tests

A $250,000 infusion from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program will position Boulder-based concrete construction specialist RCAM Technologies and technology integrator Accucode Inc. to develop wind energy components using 3D printing methods. The grant supports RCAM work on a concrete wind turbine foundation with the potential to reduce offshore deployment costs by up to $4 million per structure and $400 million per plant. The firm will use the funding to expand its 3D concrete printing capabilities at two Colorado partner locations: the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, and Accucode’s new Colorado Springs facility.

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Labor Board walks back union election rule’s ‘ambush’ aspects

A lengthy, late-2019 notice in the Federal Register outlines modifications to the National Labor Relations Board’s Representation–Case Procedures rule, which saw 25 amendments in 2014-2105 as a part of a significant policy shift under President Barack Obama. Changes effective April 2020 sunset certain provisions enabling what opponents dubbed “ambush elections” by narrowing the window between a union petition for bargaining unit representation and rank & file voting from a 38- to 28-day average.

Read more: Labor Board walks back union election rule’s ‘ambush’ aspects