Foundry industry makes strides in Washington in 1993.
AFS just wrapped up a banner year of legislative and regulatory accomplishments on behalf of the foundry industry in Washington, D.C. As Congress adjourned for winter recess, AFS moved into high gear planning the new year's strategy to put the foundry industry out in front of critical issues before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies.
This coming year promises to be a challenging and exciting one for the entire industry. The foundry industry's presence is stronger than ever and ready to continue building in 1994.
Each year federal agencies generate thousands of pages of new regulations. Likewise, congressional lawmakers introduce thousands of bills and resolutions. In 1993 alone, 5505 bills were introduced and 150 became law. Foundries know all too well that many of these regulations and laws can pose severe consequences for the industry.
Gone are the days when the foundry industry can sit back and watch as bills become laws and regulations move from draft to final form. It is no longer tolerable to wait for the compliance hammer to fall. Realizing this, AFS has pursued a deliberate course of action to move the industry from a passive to proactive role in government affairs.
Through its affiliation with Waterman & Assoc., the foundry industry's voice is loud and clear. With seven staff members on Capitol Hill, AFS Government Affairs:
* educates key decision-makers about the industry and its importance to U.S. manufacturing;
* elevates the visibility of the industry in congressional offices and with a wide variety of federal agencies;
* educates regulators about the industry and specific ramifications before they draft regulations;
* works side by side with congressional staff to promote issues that benefit the industry and to oppose initiatives that threaten its viability;
* in some cases, drafts legislative language for consideration by Congress.
At a steady rate, congressional offices and federal agencies are seeking advice and input from foundries. AFS' dedication of staff, energy and resources to a comprehensive government affairs effort is showing positive results for the entire industry. Here is an overview of major accomplishments in 1993. Air Toxic Standards
Toxic air emission standards under the 1990 Clean Air Act are a high-priority issue for AFS. For nearly two years AFS members and staff from both the Chicago and Washington offices have worked with officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the regulatory burden on foundries as the agency develops new technology-based (MACT) standards for hazardous air emission.
AFS' work on this issue is comprised of four critical elements;
* collecting information on stack and other emissions from foundries;
* establishing a cutoff point for small foundries to minimize control burdens, as well as testing, monitoring and reporting requirements;
* avoiding unnecessary EPA data collection requirements for foundries (the agency's long survey from would have required 60-100 hours to complete, according to some estimates);
* delaying issuance of foundry MACT standards of an additional three years to allow time for more accurate standards to be developed.
AFS is pressing the industry's case with EPA regulators at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, while also meeting with top EPA policy makers in Washington, D.C. Congressional allies of the industry also are continually kept informed of progress, at their request.
A major victory for foundries was scored when EPA revised its schedule for regulating toxic emissions from the industry. Under the new timetable, the agency won't impose MACT standards for iron and steel foundries until the year 2000. Once final regulations are issued, foundries will have three years to comply. Foundry emission standards were originally scheduled for release in 1997.
From more than 170 industry categories, only 29 industries were shifted from the seven- to 10-year compliance deadline--and foundries were included in this shift. A handful of other industries was even given earlier compliance dates. This success was driven by the efforts of AFS to aggressively work with EPA and provide input as the agency developed emission standards. AFS pointed out EPA's flawed rationale for putting foundries in the earlier seven-year regulatory "bin." As the agency further developed its database to set standards, AFS argued for the collection of accurate data and for tailoring regulations to reflect the different segments of the industry.
AFS continues to assist EPA in developing an emission cutoff point based on production parameters so most foundries won't be considered "major" sources under Title III. Top EPA officials indicated they find merit in AFS' arguments for relief for small facilities. Meanwhile, the agency has held off collecting more industry data until AFS can comment on whether the EPA survey would provide relevant information and not be overly burdensome.
AFS also is helping the agency fill gaps in EPA emissions data to ensure the industry will get a fair shake in the development of final regulations. Foundries have made solid progress this year and EPA is responding to AFS' willingness to work hard to get meaningful standards. More remains to be done in 1994.
In 1993, as part of the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC), AFS helped secure congressional approval of $3.75 million for a Dept. of Defense (DOD) metalcasting program.
This unified industry effort was dramatically strengthened due to the dedication and support of AFS nationwide. Likewise, AFS technical staff devoted time, energy and expertise in creating and promoting the AMC plan. Comprised of all major casting associations on a unified front, the AMC accomplished a great deal in its first 18 months:
* and 85-page comprehensive strategic metalcasting plan;
* sophisticated briefing materials used with Congress and the DOD;
* more than 150 meetings and briefings promoting the industry;
* approval of the industry concept by six House and Senate committees;
* a full hour of debate on the U.S. Senate floor, focusing on metalcasting;
* the involvement of hundreds of grassroots metalcasters across the U.S. as they met with their congressional representatives;
* visibility in trade and public press;
* relationships with the Critical Technology Institute and assisting in planning the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Metalcasting Workshop;
* first-year funding for DOD Metalcasting Pilot Program ($3.75 million).
With AFS as a leading contributor, these successes will promote greater opportunities in the future.
DOE Research Funds
Another industry coalition that was formed through AFS leadership is the Cast Metals Coalition (CMC). Established in 1989 to promote metalcasting research legislation, CMC was successful enacting its program into law. AFS helped secure another $2 million for metalcasting research funds in 1993 from the Dept. of Energy.
Since 1990, the CMC has secured $8 million of federal funds for metalcasting research. These funds are matched by other sources and a competitive process determines research projects worthy of funding. Accordingly, through the efforts of AFS and CMC, $16 million has been made available to advance metalcasting research.
Last spring, AFS engaged in an intensive, short-term effort to vigorously oppose the administration's and the Ways and Means Committee's Btu tax package included in the larger budget reconciliation bill.
With the initial release of the Btu tax proposal, AFS alerted industry representatives regarding its potential impact. The Btu tax would have increased overall energy costs for the industry and imposed a heavy toll on operations using coke as a feedstock in cupola furnaces.
During House deliberations, AFS wrote amendments and collaborated with the coke/coal industries in pressing for changes to the House Ways and Means package that modified coke provisions applicable to foundries. Treasury Dept. staff was also approached on possible changes to the committee language.
As action in Ways and Means heated up, Washington staff met with key committee members to gain support for foundries. While the Btu tax narrowly passed the House, it was defeated in the Senate. Foundries will be ready if the Btu tax reemerges.
In July, AFS President Dan Goodyear, Pennsylvania Steel Foundry & Machine Co., and AFS Washington staff attended a business rally at the U.S. Capitol, where employers and business associations demonstrated against the striker bill and met with key senior Senate leaders.
Goodyear also met with congressional staff in Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) office to voice the association's opposition to the striker replacement legislation. AFS prepared and mailed legislative alert and sample letter to select AFS members and foundry groups in key states.
During the August recess, AFS-Washington contacted its targeted Senate offices, expanded efforts to additional foundry states and worked with AFS members to schedule meetings with their senators during the recess period.
AFS also is fighting the legislation through the Alliance to Keep Americans Working, a broad-based coalition of 300 organizations.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has identified metalcasting as a critical technology. AFS staff and AMC are working with OSTP to prepare for a two-day federal workshop on metalcasting to be held January 19-20 in Cleveland, Ohio. The workshop will be the first of its kind where the Clinton administration holds a forum for federal agencies, industry experts and leaders, and researchers. It will examine major technical and policy issues facing the metalcasting industry today.
Tom Woehlke, Lawran Foundry Co., Inc., and Al Bodnar, Intermet Foundries, Inc., AFS 1st and 2nd vice presidents, respectively, have been invited to make presentations at the workshop.
Government Affairs Conference... A Springboard for 1994
With more than 150 metalcasters from 21 states, the 1993 Metalcasting Industry Government Affairs Conference was a significant event.
In addition to informative briefings, the conference culminated with a day of visits by foundrymen to Capitol Hill with their congressmen and/or staff to convey the concerns of the foundry industry. More than 100 meetings with metalcasters and lawmakers took place at this AFS-sponsored event.
Once again, 1994 promises to be an active legislative session for AFS and Congress. Key legislation pending on health-care reform, clean water, product liability, OSHA reform and other issues is moving forward and will soon by ready for floor action.
Lawmakers must be further educated about the foundry industry and its importance to the U.S. economy. You can help by attending the 1994 Metalcasting Industry Government Affairs Conference on March 13-15 at the Hyatt Regency, Washington, D.C.
With so much on the congressional agenda, you can't afford to not get involved in federal affairs.
There is a new and dynamic momentum building with AFS' government affairs program, and we want you to be a vital part of what is happening in Washington, D.C.
Key AFS Efforts in Washington: 1994
* Air toxics;
* Clean Water Act Reauthorization;
* OSHA Reform;
* Striker Replacement;
* Toxics Release Inventory;
* Risk Assessment;
* Health-Care Reform;
* Tax Relief for Subchapter S Corp;
* Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
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|Title Annotation:||Management Report; includes related article; foundry legislation and regulation|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1994|
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