Uncategorized

Seeking Input from the Construction, Demolition and Building Material Reuse Industries for Hennepin County’s Zero-Waste Plan

Hennepin County is in the process of developing a Zero-Waste Plan. Once adopted, the operational plan will map Hennepin County to a zero-waste future where 90% or more of the County’s discarded materials are diverted from disposal in landfills, incinerators, and the environment.

Your input as a contractor, architect, or building material reuse reseller is integral in the development of this plan!

The county is committed to conducting an inclusive, collaborative, and transparent stakeholder process during which both experts and concerned residents can come together to provide input on what is needed to realize a zero-waste future.

We are seeking your participation in a 90-minute targeted stakeholder meeting on May 4 from 1:00-2:30 pm. This listening session seeks your input on the following topics:

  • Major obstacles to reaching zero waste
  • Identification of gaps that the county’s zero-waste approach will need to fill
  • Opportunities for Hennepin County, cities, residents, and businesses to transition to a zero-waste future in a manner that advances racial equity and mitigates unintended negative consequences

Please click on the link below to register for the construction and demolition and building material reuse Industry stakeholder meeting:

https://recycle.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqc–qqzMuHNbmUb-jZhY9vZUDzodRIN1o

If you have questions about the stakeholder meetings, the zero-waste planning process, or if you cannot participate in the meeting but would still like to share input, please contact Carolyn Collopy at Carolyn.Collopy@hennepin.us.

We look forward to meeting with you soon!

 

Olivia Cashman (she/her)

Environmental Protection Specialist

Hennepin County Environment & Energy

Phone: 612-235-1284

Email: Olivia.Cashman@hennepin.us

www.hennepin.us/deconstruction

 

New GSA Carbon-Based Construction Materials Requirements

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued new carbon standards under its facilities standards for the Public Buildings Service (P-100).

On March 30, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued new carbon standards under its Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service (P-100) to require the use of lower carbon concrete products and asphalt paving practices for all GSA design and construction contracts that involve at least 10 cubic yards of those materials. The general contractor now must source concrete that meet specific carbon requirements; collect and maintain documentation associated with both materials; and, in the case of asphalt, employ carbon reduction practices such as recycled content or reduced mix temperatures. AGC is analyzing these new requirements and will provide further updates.

These requirements must be included in the scopes of work for all new projects effective March 17, 2022. If the contractor is not able to meet the new requirements, they must request a P-100 waiver for each mix. The standard does not require the contractor to source outside the maximum transport range for the mix design. However, the contractor will need to provide alternative strategies to reduce global warming potential (GWP) for concrete waiver requests. The contractor also will need to include GWP estimates for each approved waiver (applies to concrete and asphalt).

The new carbon standards are available on GSA’s website. The Center for Engineering will provide training on these new standards on April 20 and May 18, 2022.

 

(AGC Reporting on GSA)

Minnesota to Provide Free at-Home COVID Test Kits

Beginning March 29 state residents can have two rapid test kits (four tests total) shipped directly to their homes through an online ordering system.

ST PAUL, Minn. — While COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped steadily in recent weeks, health officials say testing remains a priority for keeping the virus and its multiple variants from spiking again.

The state of Minnesota wants residents to remain vigilant, and is launching a new online program to provide rapid testing kits at no cost, right to the front door of those who need them.

Beginning Tuesday, March 29, Minnesotans will be able to log on to the state COVID website and order two at-home test kits (a total of four tests) per home through an online ordering system. Gov. Tim Walz says the state has secured 500,000 test kits, adding that the program will be available until all the test kits are ordered and shipped.

Walz says Minnesota will use this program as a model for providing more access to COVID-19 rapid testing in the months ahead, adding if the effort proves successful the state will count on it as part of the response to future case surges.

“Our goal has always been to ensure that when Minnesotans need a test, they can get one quickly and easily,” said Walz in a statement. “Even as case numbers decline, it’s important that Minnesotans test for COVID-19 if they are feeling sick. That’s why we’re continuing to work to make tests easily accessible – now and in the future.”

Rapid at-home antigen tests, like those Minnesotans can begin ordering Tuesday, provide more flexibility to Minnesota families who need to monitor COVID-19 symptoms. The tests can be done at home and results are delivered within minutes, with no lab delivery required.

State and federal health officials warn residents not to get complacent due to falling COVID numbers, and say testing is key to preventing major outbreaks of the virus. They recommend people should use testing if:

  • They have symptoms of the virus.
  • They have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • They are returning from international or domestic travel.
  • They attended a high-risk event.
  • They work in a setting that has regular, close contact with many people.

While starting the new program, the department of health will sunset the Vault at-home testing effort on March 31. Minnesotans who have have Vault PCR tests at home will be able to use them until they expire or through December 31, 2022, whichever comes first. The Vault program required mailing a test in for lab processing, which required days to complete.

(KARE 11)

Biden Budget has Manchin Priorities: Tax Rich, Cut Deficit

President Joe Biden speaks about his proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, March 28, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s $5.8 trillion budget for next year would trim federal deficits and boost taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Both could appeal to Sen. Joe Manchin amid Democratic hopes of reviving talks with him over the party’s derailed social and environment plan.

The question is whether this time, the pivotal West Virginia Democrat can be wooed to craft a scaled-down version of his party’s roughly $2 trillion, 10-year package. Before Christmas, Manchin sank that plan, which had already passed the House, saying it would fuel inflation and deepen deficits.

Biden and his aides touted his budget, unveiled Monday, as focusing on fiscal responsibility, security at home and overseas and investments in social programs to help families afford housing, child care, health care and other costs.

Another highlight: $2.5 trillion in tax increases over 10 years on the highest-income people and corporations. That included $361 billion from a minimum 20% tax on families worth $100 million or more — the top one-hundredth of 1% of earners — though it drew some criticism from Manchin.

“An unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed. A plan to pay for those investments that we need as a nation,” Biden described his budget to reporters.

Republicans rejected Biden’s priorities.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the president’s defense proposal would at best “leave our armed forces simply treading water” because of inflation. He said bigger budgets for agencies like the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency were “bloated liberal nonsense.” And he labeled Biden’s $2.5 trillion, 10-year tax boosts, which the president said would only affect the nation’s highest earners, a “bomb of tax hikes.”

McConnell’s critique was no surprise. Presidents’ budgets are habitually ignored or reworked by Congress and mocked by the opposition party, a moment that lets both sides draw battle lines useful in upcoming elections.

But Biden’s budget can also be viewed as a step toward luring Manchin, probably the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, back to the bargaining table. Manchin on Monday downplayed reports that he’s resumed talks with top Democrats over a new plan.

“No, there’s nothing serious going on there,” he told reporters Monday. But he also said any new package should be completed by early summer because the fall congressional campaigns could make progress later too hard.

While much of Biden’s budget was similar to last year’s, it was also a more centrist repackaging that reshaped some of its emphasis in Manchin’s direction.

Its proposed $795 billion for defense includes an increase for the Pentagon and a plan to help law enforcement hire more officers and improve training. “The answer is not to defund our police departments,” Biden told reporters, a pointed rebuke of a rallying cry embraced by some progressives but disavowed by nearly all Democrats.

Its stream of new revenue helps Biden assert that his plan would reduce deficits by over $1 trillion over the coming decade — a goal that wasn’t emphasized last year. Just over two-thirds of the deficit cuts would come in the plan’s final five years, though, postponing the most painful reductions and suggesting they might never happen.

The new revenue would also be used to lower costs for families, Biden said, as Democrats confront the nation’s bout with inflation that’s become a major political liability.

Reducing budget deficits, battling inflation and raising revenue from the wealthy are also major demands for Manchin.

“He remains seriously concerned about the financial status of our country and believes fighting inflation by restoring fairness to our tax system and paying down our national debt must be our first priority,” his spokesperson, Sam Runyon, said Monday.

Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly said he wants any new package to focus on domestic energy independence. He also wants an “all of the above” policy that combats climate change but helps all forms of energy.

Representing a state that relies heavily on coal and energy production, Manchin and his position have gained political clout because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“What Russia has put out has to be replaced,” he said, referring to the U.S. cutoff of that country’s oil imports.

Of the House-approved $2 trillion bill, $555 billion was for tax breaks and other initiatives for encouraging a switch to cleaner energy. At Manchin’s insistence, that bill dropped the original plan’s biggest effort to do that by offering financial rewards or penalties for energy producers.

Manchin has also voiced support for including provisions lowering the costs of prescription drugs. The earlier bill would have done that by strengthening the government’s ability to negotiate the prices it pays for some pharmaceuticals it purchases, which would save the government money.

Nonetheless, the White House kept some details to itself of what it might offer Manchin in talks.

Budget documents said it was including some revenue proposals like prescription drug pricing in a “deficit neutral reserve fund.” It was not providing details “because discussions with Congress continue,” the documents said in a footnote.

Biden’s new proposed minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans likely faces an uphill fight. Manchin has supported higher taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, but he suggested Monday that Biden’s plan presented complications.

“There’s other ways for people to pay their fair share,” he said.

A somewhat similar tax on billionaires last year by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., never made the final package. And last year’s House-passed bill already had around $2 trillion in savings, suggesting new proposals may not be needed.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., opposed her party’s efforts to raise tax rates on individuals and corporations last year and has apparently not changed her view. Spokesperson Hannah Hurley said Monday that Sinema likes proposals that “target tax avoidance and ensure corporations pay taxes, while not increasing costs on small businesses or everyday Americans.”

Democrats will need all their votes in the 50-50 Senate because all Republicans seem certain to oppose whatever they produce. Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tiebreaking vote.

 

(Associated Press)