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RCC: Asphalt Pavement’s Good Cousin

We close this year Illinois centric: a December cover story on Prairie Material Sales’ roller compacted concrete pavement program follows a November cover feature on Ozinga Brothers Inc. and its fleet-wide conversion from diesel to compressed natural gas fuel. Synonymous with Chicago concrete, both producers warrant the attention.

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A candidate who feels industry’s EPA pains

Should he prevail next month, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can be held to his five-point Plan for a Stronger Middle Class. One bullet under the Energy Independence point would test a Romney administration’s willingness to help construction interests by reigning in the Environmental Protection Agency: “Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry.”

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Teamsters test insidious bargaining unit standard to split dump, mixer driver pool

By recognizing a petitioned-for bargaining unit in an integrated ready mixed and aggregate producer’s driver ranks, the National Labor Relations Board has applied a standard it set in a contentious August 2011 decision, Specialty Healthcare, now under challenge in federal court.

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Prospering in precast/prestressed

We focus this month on precast/prestressed in advance of the PCI Convention and National Concrete Bridge Conference, September 29–October 2 in Nashville. Plant and project visits remind us how the segment has fared during the recession: Producers tied to the transportation market, fair to strong; those in commercial building, fairly weak. Among the companies we examine are Florida’s Finfrock Design-Construction-Manufacture (pages 26–29) and Texas Concrete Partners (pages 30–33).

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Fly ash, chemical interests hold their ground in highway bill, LEED debates

Leading up to the MAP-21 legislation that will stabilize federal highway and bridge funding through fall 2014 (note page 8), Capitol Hill saw another sound challenge to the languishing coal ash rule the Environmental Protection Agency proposed two years ago. As concrete producers and allies know all too well, the agency’s “Identification and Listing of Special Wastes: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) from Electric Utilities” includes an option that would classify impoundment- or landfill-bound coal ash as hazardous waste. Opponents correctly point to the highly negative effect that would have on market prospects for recyclable coal ash products, especially fly ash.

Read more: Fly ash, chemical interests hold their ground in highway bill, LEED debates