After years of advocating for federal policy incentives to promote broader use of composites in infrastructure, we made major headway in the House infrastructure proposal. Those familiar with ACMA’s signature legislative initiative, the IMAGINE Act, will find a lot of that bill included in the House Democratic package, including interagency coordination on standards development for innovative materials, expanded research and pilot deployment programs for new technologies, and increased federal cost share (up to 100% federal spending allowed) on projects that use composites. None of these provisions would be in play if ACMA did not show up to make our case on Capitol Hill and win supporters among America’s leaders. Even though the pandemic and its associated policy challenges are preventing the massive infrastructure package we all hoped for this year, we have done and continue to do the necessary work to be ready when that train finally rolls into town.
The same goes for our effort to launch a composite standards and research program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). When all of America was focused on what the Senate was not doing, thanks to the unwavering support from key leaders like Senators Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) and Gary Peters (D-MI), the Upper Chamber unanimously passed legislation to create the NIST program. We are optimistic that the House can approve this legislation quickly after the August recess and the program can provide the boost our industry needs to overcoming technical barriers to broader deployment.
Health and safety issues remain a keystone of ACMA’s agenda, too. We continue to advocate with regulatory agencies in favor of cost-effective approaches to reduction of health risk for our employees and plant neighbors, and to provide information that helps our industry efficiently and effectively comply with regulatory requirements. For example, a recently recorded webinar available at acmaeducationhub.org/regulatory-tools explains EPA’s new requirements, effective January 2021, for electronic submission via an EPA portal of information required to be reported under the NESHAP (MACT Standard) for composites manufacturing operations.
In anticipation of an update in the styrene PEL (workplace exposure limit) by OSHA, EPA or state agencies, ACMA’s Regulatory Steering Committee has sponsored a series of ongoing industry discussions on the feasibility and cost of employee exposure reduction methods. ACMA is also working with suppliers on an update for the fire code provisions for storage of organic peroxides that will impact nearly every ACMA member.
At the end of the day, good work is worth doing. Even with difficulties on the surface, a lot can get done when you stay focused on your core mission. Stick with us, and even when the world is full of lemons, ACMA can always seem to find a recipe for lemonade.