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GMA advisors provide election recap

November 15th, 2010 / By: / Updates

FROM: Kemp Partners / Whitmer & Worrall (KPWW)

SUBJECT: 2010 Election Briefing

DATE: 11/10/10 2010 Election Briefing

This document is intended to provide a snapshot of the Congressional elections that took place Nov. 2, 2010. It also provides insight into changes that will be taking place in relevant Congressional committees and insight into upcoming legislative initiatives for the 112th Congress.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee / Senate Environment & Public Works Committee

As the leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee changes, the Committee’s top priority of passing a surface transportation reauthorization bill will remain unchanged. At the same time, the likely chairman of the Republican-led panel, John L. Mica of Florida, is expected to propose a transportation policy that differs in important ways from the draft produced in 2009 by current Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.).

On the Senate side there will likely be no change in the leadership. We expect that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will continue as Chairman and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as Ranking Member. These committees will be working to complete a new transportation reauthorization bill and Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in the new Congress.

Coal Ash

Currently, the EPA comment period for the proposed coal ash regulation—HAZARDOUS AND SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM; IDENTIFICATION AND LISTING OF SPECIAL WASTES; DISPOSAL OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS FROM ELECTRIC UTILITIES—is open through Nov. 19, 2010. It is projected that a final decision on the regulation may not come for at least one year after the comment period has closed.

We believe that if a non-hazardous designation is chosen, [then] Congress and its new Republican majority in the House will not force the EPA’s hand to make any changes to, or repeal, the ruling. Should the EPA classify coal ash a hazardous material we believe Congress will react negatively and plot a course to reverse the decision. GMA has currently positioned itself very well for this issue through constant communication with Capitol Hill, a signed letter from three Members of Congress to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson highlighting the value of geosynthetics related to this issue, and official comments submitted to the EPA regarding the proposed regulation. As the new Congress convenes and committee assignments are distributed, GMA will immediately work to educate new Members of Congress on the issue, GMA’s role to-date related to the issue, and its importance to the geosynthetic industry.

2012 Farm Bill

The “Farm Bill” is the major agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The current Farm Bill—the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008—is set to expire in 2012. In an attempt to avoid the delays in passage that have characterized consideration of previous Farm Bills, Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, began work early on the legislation, starting this past spring with a series of “listening sessions” across the country to take the pulse of stakeholders. The Senate also began hearings early in the summer in preparation for the 2012 Farm Bill. Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is expected to assume the chairmanship of the House Agriculture Committee. Although the Democrats retained control of the Senate, the Senate Agriculture Committee will also have new leadership, as Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) was defeated by Republican John Boozman. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is viewed as the likely successor as Chairman. Consideration of the bill is expected to start shortly after the 112th Congress convenes.

Updated by Ron Bygness, editor of Geosynthetics magazine, and Andrew Aho, executive director of the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA).

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