August Newsline: Senate panel cuts EPA budget, update on sewer debt crisis

August 2009 Vol. 64 No. 8
David Haynes
  • it requires MDE to update the measures that must be taken on construction sites to prevent water pollution;
  • it requires MDE to ensure expanded opportunities for the public to review and comment upon planning documents for construction sites; and
  • it improves protections for water bodies that are already overwhelmed by stormwater.

Stormwater usually leaves construction sites in the form of mud and sludge during periods of heavy rain and runs into storm drains or directly into water bodies. In some locations, such as Cumberland and Washington, DC, the mud and sludge drains into combined sewers (that hold both rainwater and raw sewage) and, if it rains (in some areas more than 1/10 of 1 inches), overwhelm the combined sewers and flow directly into the Potomac River and its tributaries without first being treated.

Construction and land development activities are some of the main reasons why the Chesapeake Bay is choking on sediment and other pollutants. In Maryland, 90 rivers and streams have been officially designated as “impaired” due to excessive sediment.

Oil/gas industry, unions form partnership

Representatives from 15 construction unions and the oil and natural gas industry announced the formation of a labor and management committee to discuss ways to increase domestic energy production, initiatives they said could lead to an estimated 160,000 new jobs.

Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, President Mark Ayers and Carpenters and Joiners of America President Douglas McCarron, joined American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard, and API Chairman J. Larry Nichols in a press teleconference to announce the partnership. They said they plan to encourage key constituencies to send “a cohesive and clear message” to officials engaged in public policy that the energy ventures will create jobs and expand energy resources.

Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, President Mark Ayers said efforts to increase domestic energy capacity would increase demand for construction to build new pipelines and refineries. “Americans want to work,” he said. Moreover, training new workers in skills specific to the types of work needed for oil and gas industry construction would aid in developing the work opportunities once the country emerges from the economic recession and in rebuilding skilled-crafts as current workers retire.

Douglas McCarron, president of Carpenters and Joiners of America, said the unions and contractors may negotiate for project labor agreements for some of the projects.