'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
Comments from the Chairman
   Owen Daniel  |  July 21, 2017

Dear Members and Fellow Cast Metals Travelers,

As many of you are aware, your TCMA Chapter sent two delegates (Dr Clifford Smith and myself) to the AFS Government Affairs Fly-in in Washington DC commencing on June 21. In this issue I would like to ‘recap’ that meeting (I mention in passing that this years’ attendance was reportedly DOUBLE that of last year).

The ‘General Sessions’ began on Tuesday Morning and the attendees were addressed by knowledgeable (even ‘expert’) speakers on a variety of topics; which was intended to prepare the Delegates for visits to their respective Congressional Representatives on Capitol Hill the following day. Several hot topics affecting Our Beloved Cast Metals Industry (with relevant talking points) are listed below:

Trump Administration Water Infrastructure Plan Congress will be considering legislation that will provide critical funding and provisions to re-build Our Nation’s Water Infrastructure; urge your reps to:

• Include a PERMENANT ‘American Iron and Steel’ procurement clause
• Remove the Cap on Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bonds
• Fully-fund the State Revolving Loans Funds Programs
• Fully-fund the WIFIA Act

In tandem with the above:

Trump Administration ‘Hire American/Buy American’ Water Infrastructure Initiative

• This speaks for itself. Urge your Reps to adopt a ‘Buy American’ Procurement Regulation/Clause that includes meaningful Registration, Audit and Penalty for Non-Compliance Provisions. The glaring lack of such provisions is what caused the ‘recovery act’--enacted by the previous Administration--to effectively fail to significantly help American Foundries/Workers.

Commonsense Regulatory Reform There is not enough time or space to cover this topic entirely, see ‘bullet points’ with brief talking points/editorial below:

• Urge your Lawmakers to support the Regulatory Accountability Act (eg, SB. 951/ HR 5)

• Beryllium Copper Rule (most foundries will be minimally affected). Your Chair can provide further details upon request (bigo@midland-midco.com).

• OSHA’s New Silica Rule: The elephant in the room. Despite encouraging words like ‘regulatory roll-back’ from the Trump Administration, without favorable litigation outcome or Direct Congressional Review/Intervention (something that happens very rarely), this Rule WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN SOME FORM on/about June 2018 (at the very least, affected Foundries will need to have done their feasibility study and have a Written Exposure Control Plan available for review/audit). We are told to understand that the only Office that can unilaterally give any relief in time to mitigate the resultant harm (not only to foundries but other Sectors--e.g., Construction, cement, agriculture, aggregate processors, etc.) is the Office of Secretary of Labor.

One of the (many) glaring flaws in the Promulgation of this Rule is the gross under-estimation by the Agency of the annual Implementation Cost to the Industry (their estimate is $53 million per year; the Industry Estimate is closer to $2.2 BILLION per year). As you conduct your Feasibility Study (and have extrapolated it in terms of dollars in cost) be prepared to provide those numbers (to the TCMA or National AFS) and ask your Reps to contact the Secretary of Labor and urge him to delay, re-open, revise or nullify the Silica Rule.

Despite that ominous preamble, I am urging TCMA Members to engage a trusted PE to help you understand the New Rule and conduct your feasibility study (a PE seal lends mucho credibility to the feasibility statements made regarding the project), and to invest in engineering controls cautiously and wisely. And don’t go to sleep on this! Your TCMA Board and Staff intends to help you stay apprised of developments/changes related to the New Silica Rule.

Meaningful & Comprehensive Tax Reform tell your Lawmakers that you support:

• Lower Tax Rates for Business of all sizes (we currently have the highest corporate rate of any ‘westernized’ nation)

• Repeal of the Estate Tax

• Strengthen R & D Incentives

• Full expensing of capital equipment/expansion (including R & D)

Fair Trade Agreements tell your Lawmakers that you support Trade Initiatives that:

• Strictly enforce existing Trade Laws and Agreements (until they are nullified or repealed)

• Make existing law/agreements more accessible to supply-chain Industries

• Ensure that any Broad Trade Revisions/Remedies include US Metal-casters as a ‘Critical Domestic Industry’ (vis-à-vis Trade Expansion Act of 1962).

• Rigorously inspect incoming freight & carriers; harsh penalties for non-compliance (‘cheating’)

• Continue to address China’s Unfair Trade and Monetary Practices, and continue to treat them as a ‘non-market’ economy.

I will now quote Sir Winston Churchill: “Americans always try to do the Right Thing; but only after they have tried everything else first.” Well, he was a Great Man and that quip is very clever. But we all know the truth: that without American ingenuity and intervention, his heirs would probably be speaking German right now. I say: “Americans can get things done, and let’s get this done right the first time!”

Regards and Clear Sailing,

Owen Daniel

GM, Midland Mfg.
TCMA Chair
Texas AFS Scholarship Chair
Gov Affairs Director Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society