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WASHINGTON ALERT


Stephanie Salmon, AFS Washington Office; Jeff Hannapel & Christian Richter, The Policy Group, Washington, D.C.


EPA Issues Final Rule for Secondary Aluminum NESHAP


INDUSTRY COMMENTS REQUESTING FLEXIBILITY IN MONITORING WERE REJECTED, BUT A REQUEST FOR DEFINITION CLARITY WAS ACCEPTED.


Te U.S. Environmental Protection


Agency (EPA) issued the final residual risk and technology review (RTR) rule for the secondary aluminum national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) on September 18 (80 Fed. Reg. 56700). EPA promulgated several revisions to improve the monitor- ing, compliance and implementation of the rule. In January, the AFS Environ- mental Health & Safety Air Quality Committee (10-E) submitted comments to EPA on the rule regarding specific is- sues impacting the metalcasting industry. AFS had requested EPA to clarify the definition of furnace “clean charge” that is used to determine what require-


ON THE HILL


House Committee Approves Measure Lifting Ban on Crude Oil Exports


On September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation to end the nation’s decades- old ban on exporting American crude oil. The 31-19 vote in favor of the bill included support from three Democrats and all 28 Republicans who voted. The measure, H.R. 702, introduced by Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), has more than 125 cosponsors. Opponents say lifting the ban would benefit oil com- panies at the expense of U.S. consum- ers and national security. The Obama Administration op- poses the bill, arguing that a decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress. A vote by the entire House is expected in the upcoming weeks.


Letter Urges Congressional Action on Tax Extenders


In September, several organizaitons, including AFS, signed onto the Broad Tax Extenders Coalition letter calling on members of Congress to act immediately to extend the expired and expiring tax


20 | MODERN CASTING October 2015


provisions known as “tax extenders.” Following the letter, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation to make permanent the 50% first-year expensing, also known as bonus deprecia- tion. Earlier this year, the Ways and Means Committee and the full House of Represen- tatives approved legislation to make per- manent two other tax extenders important to metalcasters: the R&D tax credit and enhanced Section 179 expensing. In the Senate, the Finance Committee approved a two-year extension of the expired tax provisions in July. It is not yet clear how the House and Senate will ultimately reconcile these two approach- es before the end of the year. These tax provisions expired in 2014.


NLRB Expands Definition of Joint-Employer


On August 27, the National Labor Rela- tions Board (NLRB) issued a new “joint-em- ployer” standard that will make employers responsible for workers they have indirect control over. In a 3-2 decision, the Board in Browning-Ferris overturned the standard for determining joint employment under the National Labor Relations Act that has been


in effect for the past 30 years. Prior to this decision, joint employer status meant both employers exerted significant and direct control over their employees, and conditions of employment.


This change to the joint employer definition fundamentally alters the law applicable to many business-to-business relationships. While the decision dealt only with a facility owner and a staffing agency, the majority opinion says all of its new “control factors” will have to exam- ine on a case-by-case basis. The decision means that many previous relationships metalcasters have with contractors, sub- contractors, vendors, temporary agen- cies and service-providers may trigger joint-employer status, making them liable for virtually all aspects of their employ- ment with the other company. Additionally, employers will likely re-evaluate how they work with local subcontractors, suppliers or subsidiar- ies, for fear that they will now be liable for the subcontractor’s employment decisions.


For additional information, contact Stephanie Salmon, AFS Washington Off ice,


202/842-4864, ssalmon@afsinc.org.


ments of the rule are triggered. Specifi- cally, the comments requested that EPA clarify that the phrase in the definition of clean charge “known by the owner or operator to be entirely free of paints, coatings, and lubricants” applies only to aluminum scrap and does not apply to charge materials such as T-bar, sow, ingot, billet, pig and alloying elements. In response, EPA did make this change to ensure the regulatory definition of “clean charge” is consistent with its current policy and guidance on this matter. Tis will allow metalcasters to continue using best industry practices for introducing clean charge into secondary aluminum furnaces subject to the rule.


AFS also had requested some flex-


ibility in the monitoring of annual air flow rate measurements because the existing regulation is too restrictive and difficult to meet consistently due to the inherent variability in flow rates and the repeatability of the measure- ment method. EPA did not modify the final rule as requested. EPA also rejected a request for additional flex- ibility in monitoring and measuring annual air flow for permanent total enclosures. Secondary aluminum furnaces subject to the rule will have to continue to maintain daily air flow measurements at or above the 90% indicator values.


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