Congress moved one step closer to enacting infrastructure legislation yesterday when Senate lawmakers voted to begin debate on the latest version of their bipartisan deal with the Biden administration, writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. While the text has not been released yet, all indications are that the plan continues to include $13 billion in new Superfund taxes on 42 chemicals, critical minerals, and metallic elements. Much of the cost will be borne by American chemistry, with likely ripple effects to businesses and consumers in the form of higher costs for goods that rely on chemistry components and increased pressure on supply chains already squeezed by the effects of the pandemic. Americans at every income level will be affected.
The Chemical Safety Board needs more members to continue its mission-related work and "[w]hile the nominees currently being considered by Congress to serve on the CSB may be accomplished in their own respective fields, they unfortunately lack the critical and necessary expertise specific to chemical manufacturing and industrial safety," writes American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn. "Congress and the Biden administration must seek out new candidates who are well-versed in process safety, chemical facility operations and how to keep them running safely," writes Jahn.
The Surface Transportation Board must take steps to improve rail service and reduce shipping costs, and one way to achieve that is through reciprocal switching, wrote the Rail Customer Coalition, which includes the American Chemistry Council, in a letter last week. "Reciprocal switching would help empower rail customers such as farmers, manufacturers and energy providers to choose a carrier that provides the best combination of rates and service," wrote the RCC.
The House of Representatives on Thursday advanced a spending package for fiscal 2022 that includes seven of the 12 yearly appropriations bills, including Interior-Environment and Energy-Water spending measures. A stopgap funding measure may be required if House and Senate appropriators don't reach an agreement by Oct. 1 on all 12 spending bills.
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Firstar Fiber have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an integrated recycling project adjacent to Firstar's material recovery facility in Omaha, Neb. "The Alliance is supporting pioneers like Firstar in creating value for hard-to-recycle plastic at the municipal and regional level," said AEPW's Steve Sikra.
Siemens and Dow are partnering on an initiative to enable digital twin applications and other innovations in chemical process manufacturing. The project will harness the input of Dow's frontline workers, including technicians, site engineers, maintenance managers, reliability engineers, equipment operators and managers.
Hybrid work will ultimately evolve into human-robot collaboration, and today's environment is an early test of our readiness for that workplace future, says Tsedal Neeley of Harvard Business School. While there's a reason for in-person work, "when you bring people into the office, it better be for collaboration efforts where you're working together, standing side-by-side, looking at a smart board together," Neeley says.
Through today's passage of the FY2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and FY2022 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies and as contained in H.R. 4502, a seven-bill federal spending package and language contained therein, the American Chemistry Council applauds the House of Representatives' continued multi-year appropriations recognition of the essential and growing role of lightweight plastics and polymer composites in improving automotive safety and fuel efficiency, delivering alternative fuel vehicles, and creating highly skilled American jobs. Read more.