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OSH, Davis-Bacon Acts Bring Taxpayers Divergent Returns

As the Occupational Safety & Health Administration marked its 40th anniversary at the end of April, agency officials pointed to an impressive two-thirds reduction in workplace fatality rates since 1970 (report, OSHA timeline, page 14).

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Metromont, Tindall break new ground

In the first of two 2011 issues on precast/prestressed, we find the strongest story candidates in the Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., market: Metromont Corp., whose Bartow, Fla., plant is our cover feature (pages 20-23) subject, and Tindall Corp., whose proposed Kansas plant for precast wind turbine tower bases (page 12), warrants future spotlight. Both producers have responded to unique market catalysts with two of the more ambitious greenfield operations we’ll see this decade.

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LEED stunt rates as environmentalists’ last hurrah to destroy fly ash viability

Don Marsh, Editor

Fuzzy math is the latest weapon for environmental groups to whom recyclable fly ash is a pawn in the war on coal. Their latest ploy to undermine an energy resource that underpins our economy follows a trajectory from batch plant silo to power generating station via the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] rating system.

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Revolution in trucks on full display at ConExpo-Con/Agg

Ready mixed concrete producers planning post-recession fleet investments will confront the cost of compliance with 2010 Environmental Protection Agency diesel engine emissions exhaust treatment, adding upwards of $10,000 to the price of mixers purchased prior to the 2008 construction market drop. Buying decisions might also factor the potential over the next five to 10 years for EPA or Department of Transportation rules dictating Class 8 truck fuel efficiency or greenhouse gas emissions levels.

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Pro-masonry ordinance withstands NAACP, NAHB federal court appeal

By Don Marsh, Editor

As he promotes “freedom from over-regulation and over-litigation” in his new book, Fed Up, Texas Governor Rick Perry should smile at local government power as exercised just outside his state capital and validated in NAACP v. City of Kyle. Plaintiffs in the case, examined here in June 2009, have failed again in their challenge of Kyle, Texas, zoning standards requiring cement or clay-based cladding for new single-family homes.

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Houston) panel determined a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People- and National Association of Home Builders-anchored coalition lacked legal standing in its claims the city’s ordinances violate the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). In a ruling last month, the Appellate Court essentially affirmed a March 2009 U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Austin Division) decision denying plaintiffs’ pursuit of relief under the Act. The NAACP/NAHB coalition failed to present the latter court evidence of how the Kyle single-family home building standards discriminated against African-Americans or Hispanics.

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