By Clarence Mills
OTC Adopts Coatings Resolution,
Falls Short on Equipment Requirements
The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) adopted a resolution, the Model Rule for Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Non-Assembly Line Coatings Operations, at its fall meeting in Baltimore.
The OTC was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Clean Air Act, to ensure the development and implementation of regional strategies to reduce concentrations of ground-level ozone to healthful levels in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
The resolution says "the OTC member states will pursue as necessary and appropriate state-specific rulemakings to update state rules in accordance with the OTC Model Rule for Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Non-Assembly Line Coatings Operations."
The OTC followed the California Air Resources Board Suggested Control Measure for Automo_tive Coatings, which was released in October of 2005.
In addition to volatile organic compound (VOC) limits outlined in the Model Rule, the OTC proposal contains equipment, training and record-keeping requirements.
The rule does not go as far as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's auto refinishing regulation with regard to equipment requirements, i.e., requiring a spray booth. These EPA regulations will be effective for existing collision shops in early 2011.
The compliance date for the OTC Model Rule is Jan. 1, 2012.
NCOIL Committee OKs Model Airbag Fraud Act
The National Conference of Insurance Legislators' Property and Casualty Insurance Committee (NCOIL) passed the Model Act Regarding Auto Airbag Fraud.
The model act was, however, amended to include restrictions on the use of salvage airbags as an option for airbag replacement. A permanent sticker must be placed on the dashboard of the vehicle stating that the vehicle contains a salvage airbag.
This model legislation is a recommendation only to state legislatures.
Members of the Automotive Service Association contacted their state legislators who are members of NCOIL's Property and Casualty Insurance Committee in opposition to the salvage airbag provisions of the model act.
NCOIL delayed action on the Model Act Regarding Motor Vehicle Crash Parts and Repair until its next meeting. ASA also opposes this proposed legislation as currently drafted.
White House Signs Executive Order
to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
The Obama administration has announced its much anticipated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 17 percent below 2005 emission levels by 2020, the same target called for in House-passed climate legislation.
The executive order requires federal agencies to set a 2020 GHG emissions reduction target within 90 days, increase energy efficiency, reduce fleet petroleum consumption, conserve water, reduce waste, support sustainable communities, and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies.
Further, President Barack Obama aims to reduce emissions 83 percent by 2050, so interval reductions have been set as goals. The target is in line with current legislation in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
The president traveled to Copenhagen Dec. 9, 2009, to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held Dec. 7-18.
President Plans to Accelerate Job Growth
President Barack Obama recently announced his proposal for reducing the high unemployment rate that continues to plague the United States. Congressional Democrats and the White House hope to enact legislation by next year to address the jobs issue. In a speech Dec. 8, Obama outlined his proposals - many of which would build on efforts that were part of the economic stimulus bill enacted in February, additional tax breaks and spending focused on infrastructure projects, energy conservation programs and small businesses.
Specifically pertaining to small businesses, the president outlined the following key points for helping small businesses to increase investment, hire workers and access credit:
• Tax cuts to support additional business investment next year - with a particular focus on struggling small businesses - with much of the cost recouped over time.
• Zero capital gains for small businesses: To encourage investment by small businesses and improve their access to capital, the administration is calling for a one-year elimination of the tax on capital gains from new investments in small business stock.
• Extension of enhanced expensing provisions for small businesses: The administration is also calling for the extension through 2010 of the Recovery Act provision that allows small businesses to immediately expense up to $250,000 of qualified investment.
• Extension of Recovery Act bonus depreciation tax incentive: To give businesses an incentive to invest, the administration is calling for extending the Recovery Act provision that accelerates the rate at which business can deduct the cost of capital expenditures. This provision will put more than $20 billion in the hands of businesses in 2010, while enabling the U.S. Treasury to recoup much of the funding as businesses regain their strength.
• A new tax cut for small businesses to encourage hiring in 2010. Although the economy is now growing again, many businesses remain reluctant to hire.
• The president called for the elimination of fees and an increase in guarantees for loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA), a measure that extends provisions in the Recovery Act through the end of 2010.
The Congress may opt to include additional incentives for small businesses during the legislative process next year.
Get involved legislatively! To read about specific bills impacting the
automotive repair industry, go to www.TakingTheHill.com
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