Rick Yelton

Sometimes not being a real journalist has its advantages. After more than a decade of being in the front ofthe book, readers can now find my column here. Don't tell the publisher, but I'm happy to be here.

We conducted a reader practice study several years ago when we relaunched The Concrete Producer. We asked our survey group, "In what portion of the magazine do you start reading?" Before we learned the results, the journalists on staff wanted to lead readers to the table of contents. The sales staff said the advertisers' index. But I knew many of you read from the back to the front. The survey reported that I was half-right.

Now that I've been offered a new role in Hanley Wood Business Media, I have used some influence to have my new column placed in my favorite spot in the magazine. Now as you look for new jobs, equipment bargains, and auctions, you can find my comments. I also can turn in my work later.

Visit www.theconcreteproducer.com to follow Rick Yelton's blog.

The Cost and Price of Safety

I'm hoping your reading habits will lead you to my comments here in the future. This month, I am pleading that you use your back-to-front reading habits to study the EPA's new 500-page document on its proposed fly ash rules.

Was it me, or did you think the leadership at the EPA tried to pull a fast one a few weeks ago? In case you missed it, on May 4, just when the oil well problem in the Gulf was gathering top headlines, the EPA announced its longawaited proposal to regulate fly ash as a hazardous waste. I think they were hoping we wouldn't have the time to fully comprehend their true intent.

Despite advice from engineers and other professionals that any hazardous designation could preclude fly ash use in construction, the EPA wants to move ahead. No one is opposed to proper storage procedures for large volumes of materials. So why mix up the real science with political promises?

The EPA has found a way to combine the fly ash issue caused by one environmental problem with another. TheSierra Club hopped on the bandwagon by sending out another letter for more funds to fight King Coal and BP.

And if that wasn't enough, the EPA's press release states it not only wants to find a way to regulate fly ash, but has opened "a national dialogue by calling for public comment on two approaches for addressing the risks of coal ash management under the nation's primary law for regulating solid waste, the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act."

I remain deeply concerned that our industry has yet to fully embrace the dangers about to happen. We are working in an environment where emotions rule logic. And this debate continues to develop alongside the oil spill.

You have some time to act. Here's what producers can do:

  • Study the EPA's posted information about the proposed regulation: www.epa.gov/coalashrule
  • Review the chart comparing the two possible approaches: www.epa.gov/coalashrule/ccr-table.htm
  • Visit www.flyash.concrete.org to learn how to comment
  • Make this issue one of your top priorities of action.
  • In a few weeks we will ask you to post your comments online. Let's see if we can make the political process work.