Funding approved to clean illegal dump site

The Ohio Controlling Board approved an additional $3.25 million to help clean up a former East Cleveland, Ohio, construction and demolition (C&D) recycling site turned illegal dumping ground, reports.

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The 6-acre dump site was purchased by Arco recycling in 2015 from the city of East Cleveland. The site was to be used to recycle C&D debris, such as concrete, wood and metal. However, residents began to issue complaints starting in 2016, claiming that illegal debris in the dump was causing health issues for neighboring citizens.

Subsequent inspections of the site found debris piled four stories high and little of the on-site materials showed signs of being recycled. Later tests showed the presence of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas.

In January 2017, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the facility to be closed because toxic contamination was present. In October 2017, the site caught fire, possibly from material decomposition resulting in a hot spot.

The Ohio EPA has already issued $6 million to clean up the contamination. Cleanup began in July 2017 and is expected to finish in the next couple of months. The cleanup project is being expedited to help prevent another fire, the report says.

A lien has been placed on the site.

Contractors urge Trump administration to eliminate government-mandated PLAs

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Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Washington, and a coalition of construction and business associations sent President Trump a letter urging him to eliminate government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal and federally assisted projects. The letter was an effort to allow all qualified contractors and Americans to fairly compete to build and work on these taxpayer-funded projects, ABC says.

In the letter, the coalition calls for “regulatory reform to create a level playing field in the procurement of government construction contracts, increase competition, help small businesses grow, curb construction costs and spread the job-creating benefits of federally funded contracts throughout the entire construction industry.”

The letter also states the construction industry is facing a skilled labor shortage of almost 500,000 people.

According to Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, eliminating government-mandated PLAs would help companies, U.S. citizens and the economy at large.

“If the Trump administration creates an inclusive policy so all Americans and all qualified companies can make America’s infrastructure great again, it would be a win-win for taxpayers and the U.S. economy,” Brubeck says.

ABC and the coalition have repeatedly petitioned President Trump to rescind President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require PLAs on federal contracts to build projects of $25 million or more on a case-by-case basis and replace it with Executive Orders 13202 and 13208, which prohibit PLAs from being required on federal and federally assisted construction projects.

In 2017, ABC members won $3.6 billion of federal contracts worth more than $25 million.

Twenty-four states passed measures restricting government-mandated PLAs, which are designed to ensure fair and open competition on public works projects.