Washington Watch

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has picked up the pro-union cudgel from Democrats in Congress. In the last session of Congress, Democrats had tried and failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) which would have expanded union organizing rights.

Proposed 4G satellite service raises GPS Interference questions
A critical report from a Federal Communications Commission advisory committee on June 30 was the latest hitch in the plans of a company called LightSquared to offer new 4G wireless service to broadband users.

On Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee debated whether to accelerate a decision by the Obama administration on the Keystone XL Pipeline and the plan to send oil from western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

In a meeting held in May with Senators at the U.S. Capitol, Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), called on Congress to address the urgent need to rebuild America’s infrastructure and to actively pursue innovative funding approaches to finance this critical investment without increasing the deficit.

The fracking debate is moving forward on two separate stages in Washington. The Department of Energy's natural gas subcommittee is expected to make recommendations on fracking liquid disclosure in August.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) appears ready to propose a new standard on silica exposure which would have a major impact on underground construction companies.

Officials from the Obama administration are discussing whether the administration should review the data being used to support a forthcoming Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) assessment that could label formaldehyde as a carcinogen in the wake of industry and other concerns, including a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that criticized similar EPA claims.

The EPA sewer and drinking water construction budgets for the current fiscal 2011 year dropped precipitously in the final budget passed by Congress. Fiscal 2011 actually started last Oct. 1 but Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate had been unable to agree on a budget.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s water infrastructure congressional appropriations are destined to sink, maybe like stones, this year. Republicans and some Democrats want to severely cut the appropriations for both the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds in fiscal year 2011, which started last Oct. 1.

Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, issued the following statement in response to the President’s call for new infrastructure investments during the State of the Union address.

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