Weekly Legislative Update May 23, 2022

TIA Signs USTMA Letter to Biden Administration Calling for Scrap Tire Technology for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation
 
The Honorable Mitchell J. Landrieu
Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
RE: Scrap Tire Technology for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation
 
Dear Mr. Landrieu:
 
As you begin the process of implementing the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we write to share our appreciation for this important work and to offer you the full support and, as needed, technical expertise of America’s tire manufacturers and recyclers. Our organizations work to keep end-of-life tires out of landfills by promoting strong, societally beneficial markets for scrap tires, and we support efforts to rebuild and improve America’s roadways using technologies that will increase driver safety and ensure reductions in environmental impacts.
 
In that spirit, we wish to call your attention to two materials ideally suited to meeting the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to fulfilling the Biden Administration’s mission to minimize waste, advance pollution prevention, support markets for recycled products, and promote a transition to a circular economy:
 
Rubber-Modified Asphalt (RMA) is a mixture of asphalt with ground rubber from end-of-life scrap tires that delivers proven economic, environmental, and performance benefits in building better, longer lasting roads and highways.
 
For example:
 
• RMA is a proven cost-effective option as it increases pavement service life and reduces the need for road maintenance activities. This leads to significant life-cycle cost savings compared to traditional asphalt.
 
• The use of RMA results in a 32% reduction of CO2 emissions and lower energy consumption over the lifetime of a pavement as compared to traditional asphalt.
 
• RMA provides road performance benefits that include longer service life, increased skid resistance, significant noise reduction, and better ride quality.
 
• RMA’s relatively greater water permeability reduces water spray in wet conditions.
 
• Tire rubber is designed to be a poor heat conductor; as a result, RMA retains less heat and can help to control urban heat islands.
• Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials, further reinforcing the circularity of RMA.
 
• The use of ground tire rubber in RMA has increased roughly 50% since 2017 and RMA is already in use in 30 states. Nevertheless, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), in partnership with the University of Missouri and The Ray, published a report evaluating the state of knowledge on modern RMA highlighted a need for additional research and improved sharing of best practices, underscoring the importance of a federal role in advancing the use of this beneficial, circular resource.
 
Tire-Derived Aggregate (TDA) is made from recycled scrap tires and is a cost-effective infill material for roadside embankments, retaining walls, and stormwater infiltration galleries.
 
• TDA allows for cost savings when compared to traditional mined minerals, such as gravel, since the lightweight recycled material costs less to transport.
 
• TDA has a larger void space compared to gravel, offering improved drainage and, in stormwater infiltration galleries, the potential to capture greater water volume with a smaller gallery footprint.
 
• Studies show TDA successfully captures potentially harmful pollutants from roadway runoff, including heavy metals, before they reach groundwater.
 
• TDA has proven effective and cost-efficient in mitigating ground vibrations from rail lines, a significant benefit to neighboring communities.
 
The scrap tire recycling success story – and the challenges ahead
Tires remain one of the most recycled and reclaimed products in the U.S. Since 1990 — through the combined efforts of USTMA, state and federal regulators, recyclers and other stakeholders — 94% of the scrap tires stockpiled in the U.S. have been recovered for new uses. However, USTMA’s 2018 Sustainability Report warned that scrap tire markets needed to grow to accommodate growth in new tire shipments. Data contained in the 2019 USTMA Scrap Tire Summary Report show that scrap tire markets have not kept up.
 
Although the total number of scrap tires going to recycle and reclaim markets has not significantly changed since 2017, the beneficial end use rate for U.S. scrap tires is now just under 76%, down from its 2013 peak of 96%, as scrap tire generation grew 7% (by weight) between 2017 and 2019.
 
USTMA is currently working with stakeholders on multiple fronts to encourage the growth of circular, sustainable markets for scrap tires. The inclusion of RMA and TDA as appropriate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is essential to this effort.
 
RMA and TDA Applications in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The following are specific provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law where Rubber-Modified Asphalt and Tire-Derived Aggregate can play an integral role in achieving program goals:
 
RMA, TDA and the road forward to a sustainable American infrastructure
 
As we have laid out in the table above, we believe materials made from scrap tires can not only play a vital role in meeting the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law but also represent useful tools for Biden Administration priorities such as waste reduction, recycling, and the transition to a circular economy. Members of the scrap tire value chain are willing and eager to support the Administration’s incorporation of these technologies in the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and hope to serve as a resource for technological expertise moving forward.
 
We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the opportunities offered by RMA and TDA and answer questions you may have about the research and utilization of these technologies. We know how important it is for the United States to meet its goals in sustainability and infrastructure resiliency, and we are ready to play our part in that mission.
 
To that end, we will follow up with your office to coordinate a meeting.
 
Sincerely,
 
American Bus Association
Asphalt Plus
CM Shredders
Crumb Rubber Manufacturers
EcoGreen Equipment
First State Tire Recycling
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers, Inc.
Liberty Tire Recycling
Missouri Center for Transportation Innovation
The Ray
TDA Manufacturing
Tiger Eye Engineering
Tire Industry Association
United Motorcoach Association
U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association
 
cc: The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States
The Honorable Pete Buttigieg, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
Katie Thomson, Director of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation, U.S. Department of Transportation
 
     
 
TIA Signs Letter to DOL Requesting Agency Abandon or Postpone OT Rulemaking
 
The Honorable Marty Walsh
Secretary of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
 
Re: Request for Abandonment or at Least Postponement of DOL’s Anticipated Overtime Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act
 
Dear Secretary Walsh:
 
The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO or Partnership) and the undersigned organizations urge the Department of Labor’s (DOL or Department) Wage and Hour Division to abandon or at least postpone issuance of its announced proposed rulemaking altering the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Due to significant concerns with supply chain disruptions, workforce shortages, inflationary pressures, and the shifting dynamics of the American workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic, any rule change now would be ill-advised. Importantly, DOL last updated the overtime regulations only three years ago, which strongly suggests there is no need for urgency in issuing more changes.
 
PPWO is a coalition of a diverse group of associations, businesses, and other stakeholders representing employers with millions of employees across the country in almost every industry. Formed in 2014, the Partnership is dedicated to advocating for the interests of its members in the regulatory debate on changes to the FLSA overtime regulations. PPWO’s members believe that employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes maximum flexibility in structuring employee hours, career advancement opportunities for employees, and clarity for employers when classifying employees.
 
In the Fall 2021 Regulatory Agenda, DOL announced that it planned to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on the “exemption of bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements” (also known as the “white-collar” exemptions). In anticipation of the NPRM, PPWO called on DOL “to follow past precedents and hold meetings with the regulated community to obtain input on the potential impact of any changes to the overtime exemption requirements.” PPWO thanks the Department for holding listening sessions in response to the coalition’s request.
 
As DOL has heard throughout its meetings with the employer community, the economy today cannot support changes to the white-collar exemptions under the FLSA. Industries across the country are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some industries were hit significantly harder than others, including restaurants, the travel industry, and workout facilities. Further, current workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions, economic contraction, and inflation are pushing operational costs ever higher. Inflation is at a 40-year high, supply chains are struggling to keep up with demand, and businesses nationwide cannot hire enough workers to operate at full capacity. At the same time, we are seeing economic contraction in some sectors and face the specter of both inflation and a recession. Many businesses are not well-positioned to absorb new labor costs associated with changes to the overtime pay regulations, and such changes would only exacerbate the difficulties businesses are currently facing.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic also has forced the American economy and workforce to adapt to changing circumstances. One of the most significant changes was the move towards remote, hybrid, or part-time work for a significant number of workers, and many experts – as well as our employer members – understand that many of these workers will want to continue to work in these new arrangements. This “new normal” makes compliance with potential changes to the white-collar exemptions measurably more difficult. To comply with overtime regulations, employers will be obligated to monitor non-exempt employees’ worktime, but that may not be compatible with these new workforce dynamics. Consequently, changes to the white-collar exemptions may leave many workers unable to enjoy the part-time or remote work they’ve come to appreciate.
 
Again, DOL should abandon or at least postpone issuance of its announced NPRM until the current economic situation stabilizes and improves to allow the American workforce, employer community, and DOL itself to more fully understand how the pandemic has shifted the paradigm of work in America.
 
Thank you for considering these comments.
 
Sincerely,
 
PPWO, TIA, and other trade associations
     
 
Certain Passenger Vehicle and Light Truck Tires From the People’s Republic of China: Amended Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review in Part; 2019
 
The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is amending the final results of the administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on certain passenger vehicle and light truck tires from the People’s Republic of China (China) to correct a ministerial error. 
 
 
For further information contact: Nicholas Czajkowski or Richard Roberts, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–1395 and (202) 482–3463, respectively. 
     
 
Senate Vote For Aid To Restaurants And Small Businesses Fails
 
By vote of 52-43 on May 19th, the Senate defeated efforts of a large coalition of supporters, including most Democrats, to enact S. 4008, Small Business COVID Relief Act, providing $48 billion of relief for restaurants and small businesses.
 
Under Senate rules, sixty votes were required to pass.
 
Five Republican senators supported the bill:
 
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
 
Last-minute efforts by Senators Cardin, Wicker, and others to attract more votes failed.
 
TIA will continue to monitor these efforts.