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Legislative Update: Senator proposes problematic chemicals bill
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., last week introduced legislation that would place significant burdens on the chemical sector and stifle innovations in the marketplace. In a statement, NACD joined 70 other industry sector associations, representing the majority of the value chain, in opposing the legislation. The bill, which has no Republican co-sponsors and is known as the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 (S. 696), would impose numerous and significant new requirements on the chemical sector and EPA. Many of these requirements — such as industry needing to submit "minimum information" sets for all chemicals on the market — would have unrealistically short timelines. This not only would be burdensome to industry, but also would create a situation where EPA was unable to meet the statutory deadlines and erode EPA's credibility as a regulator.
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Legislative Update: NACD submits tax reform comments to House groups
Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., chairman of the House Small Business Committee, invited NACD to submit comments for the record for his hearing examining the potential impact of tax reform proposals on small businesses. Last week, NACD provided these comments to Graves as well as a working group of House Ways and Means Committee members.
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Legislative Update: NACD joins industry letter on improving the selection of experts on science panel
NACD signed a letter with 28 other associations to call for legislation to improve the selection process for choosing science experts for the Science Advisory Board. Currently, there is a bias in the selection process against industry experts on the premise they have a generalized vested interest. But the same vested interest applies to non-governmental organizations, such as environmentalists, and even to some government scientists. Introduced last week, the "EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013" (H.R. 1422) would rectify this problem by ensuring that selections are based on the scientists' qualifications and that any scientists selected would need to recuse themselves from participating in a specific issue in the case of a conflict of interest. Click here for a copy of the industry letter.
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Legislative Update: House Transportation Committee forms special panel to improve freight transportation
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.V., today announced the members of a special panel tasked with examining the current state of freight transportation in the United States and how improving freight transportation can strengthen the U.S. economy. The full committee's vice chairman, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., will chair this "Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation." Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., will serve as the panel's ranking member. The additional Republican members of the panel are Gary Miller (CA), Rick Crawford (AR), Richard Hanna (NY), Daniel Webster (FL), and Markwayne Mullin (OK). The additional Democratic panel members are Corrine Brown (FL), Daniel Lipinski (IL), Albio Sires (NJ), and Janice Hahn (CA). The special panel will serve for a period of six months, beginning with its first scheduled hearing on April 24 — details of which will be announced at a later date. Click here for a copy of the full announcement about the panel.
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Regulatory Update: President's budget would increase funding for chemical industry regulators
Last week, President Barack Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. While Congress never adopts the president's budget as proposed, the document provides a good indication of the administration's regulatory priorities. The 2014 proposal includes funding increases for several agencies that regulate the chemical industry. Among these increases is $24.9 million or 3.8 percent more for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention for a total of $686.2 million. This includes $62.7 million specifically for chemical risk review and reduction activities for chemicals on the Toxic Substances Control Act work plan. These increases demonstrate that chemical reviews are a priority for the administration, particularly in light of a proposed 3.5 percent cut for the EPA overall.
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Regulatory Update: President nominates full NLRB slate
Last week, President Barack Obama sent three nominations for National Labor Relations Board members to the U.S. Senate. Along with the president's two previous recess appointments, these five individuals would make up a full slate of five members for the NLRB. It is highly unlikely that the Senate will confirm the full NRLB slate. The president's two recess appointments, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block, are mired in controversy as they remained in their positions even after a federal court vacated their tenures. The new nominees include current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, whose current term is scheduled to end in August, and lawyers Harry Johnson and Philip Miscimarra. Johnson has represented unions in labor disputes, while Miscimarra has represented business groups in litigation against NLRB decisions such as the recent notice-posting rules. Upon the president's announcement, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which NACD is a member, issued a statement expressing disappointment in the slate of nominees.
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State Regulatory Update: California revises Safer Consumer Products rule
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has released a revised version of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations to implement the state's Green Chemistry Initiative. Changes in this latest version include the elimination of a requirement that manufacturers compensate retailers and others for participation in end-of-life product collection programs and a change to the alternatives analysis process that would make identification of adverse impacts part of the first rather than the second stage of the process. The DTSC has provided a limited comment period for the revised proposal with a deadline of April 25. The DTSC intends to issue a final regulation by October 2013. Click here for a detailed analysis of the latest proposal from NACD Environmental Regulatory Partner Bergeson & Campbell P.C. Click here for a link to the proposal.
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Business Update: East, Gulf coast port workers sign new 6-year contract
Last week, the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) ratified a six-year contract for East and Gulf coast port workers. A ratification vote of United States Maritime Alliance members, representing the employer side, is scheduled for tomorrow. This settlement ends negotiations that lasted for more than a year and that included several threatened work stoppages as contract deadlines approached throughout the ordeal. These threatened work stoppages forced importers and exporters to take steps to implement costly contingency measures. NACD was involved with a coalition of organizations that urged the two sides to reach an agreement to avoid a costly work stoppage and also encouraged the Obama administration to become involved if necessary.
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Tote, ISO, Offshore Tank Container Sales & Rental

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  General Business Interest

Think those chemicals have been tested?
The New York Times
Regulators, doctors, environmentalists and the chemical industry agree that the country's main chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, needs fixing. Federal reform of the toxic substances act may be coming. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced a bill called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which would require the chemical industry to demonstrate that a chemical is safe in order for it to be sold. The bill, which has more than 25 Democratic co-sponsors, would put limits on trade secret practices and requires industry to reduce use of the chemicals designated by the EPA as being of "greatest concern" because they are most toxic.
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Safety Data Sheets for chemical tankers
Hazardous Cargo Business
A group of business associations has completed a comprehensive information paper on the requirements for Safety Data Sheets for chemical tankers. The paper has been put together by Intertanko, Cefic, CDI, IPTA and the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council and pulls together the regulatory requirements and guidance governing the provision of SDSs that need to be carried on chemical tankers.
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    Legal challenge leaves trucking regulations, companies in limbo
    Legal challenges over federal regulations governing hours-of-service for long-haul truck drivers have put Maine trucking companies in a bind: Do they wait for a favorable court ruling on their national trade group's challenge of those rules before the July 1 compliance date? Or do they take on training and implementation costs that could be negated if the regulations are overturned?
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    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        FDA's draft guidance on food facility registration (FDA)
    New CDL-testing provision may raise eyebrows (Fleet Owner)
    Agencies' reports highlight CFATS problems (NACD)

    Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

    Hazmat, Van & Bulk

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    3 things that don't matter to drivers as much as you might think
    The truckload industry has a driver turnover problem that never seems to go away. Many people believe it's because driver pay is too low, and there's certainly evidence that trucking sectors that pay more don't seem to have as big a turnover problem. Yet driver surveys done for the Truckload Carriers Association's Best Fleets to Drive For program seem to indicate that driver pay — and some other issues — may not matter to drivers as much as you might think.
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    Analyst: Chemical pricing strong in Q1
    Chemical pricing in the U.S. and Europe has remained strong through the first quarter of the year, although costs are rising for European specialty chemical producers, U.S. financial analyst Bernstein Research said. According to the firm, chemical prices increased sequentially in February and March this year, with gross margins increasing year on year in both regions.
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    IT becoming part of business plan
    Material Handling & Logistics
    Social media, the public cloud infrastructure and mobile technologies are moving up the purchasing priority list for executives in transportation and logistics. According to PwC's fifth annual "Digital IQ Survey," an assessment of how well companies weave information technology into the fabric of their organization, 61 percent of industry respondents have a single multiyear road map to link IT investments to the overall business plan.
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