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New Enterprise notes positive signs

NELSJanuary 17, 2011 – New Enterprise, Pa.-based New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc. announced results for the third quarter ended November 30, 2010. "While the company continues to operate in a challenging macroeconomic environment, our core markets are stabilizing and we saw some encouraging operating trends during the quarter that make us cautiously optimistic going forward," said Paul I. Detwiler, III executive vice president of the company. “Our capital position continues to be an area of strength and we intend to remain nimble with respect to our cost structure and investments.”

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Making some Illi-noise

iaap_logoThe Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers is a charter member of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, a statewide coalition of business, labor, local government and not-for-profit organizations united behind one objective — increased investment in Illinois’ transportation infrastructure. Since coming together in 2002, TFIC has formulated goals each year that advance this objective, which the Coalition then shares with the public and federal and state policymakers. TFIC Federal Goals for 2011 are as follows:

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Think Globally, Read Locally

vulcan-materialsEverybody loves a list. Energy Digital, an Australian-based magazine serving energy markets, has published in its January issue a list of the top six global aggregates producers. The magazine lists 1) Vulcan Materials (U.S.); 2)  Martin Marietta Materials (U.S.); 3) Tarmac (UK) ; 4) Oldcastle Materials (U.S.); 5)  Aggregates Industries (UK); and 6) Holcim (Sweden). Nice capsule summaries of each company as well. Take it for what it’s worth.

GOP Rescinds Trust Fund Guarantee

highway2January 10, 2011 – Well, this isn't welcome news. House Republicans voted to rescind a guarantee that Highway Trust Fund revenues would be spent to fund the critical highway and transit programs that stone producers rely upon to drive business. The move was almost unilaterally condemned by national highway and infrastructure interests. ARTBA President Pete Ruane, in a scathing response, said, “Thirteen years ago, Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike voted overwhelmingly to provide budgetary guarantees that ensured all federal gas and diesel tax user fee revenue collected for the Highway Trust Fund would be invested exclusively and in a timely manner in state highway, bridge and transit improvements.

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Big Stick Enforcement

msha

January 7, 2011 – In an unprecedented legal case, the Labor Dept. and Massey Energy's Freedom Energy Mining Co. have reached a settlement where MSHA sought a court injunction on the "belief" of a pattern of violations. Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith said the "Labor Dept. is very excited by this settlement," noting that most of the settlement provisions go "above and beyond the normal requirements contained in the Mine Act." According to Rock Products columnist Ellen Smith, publisher of Mine Safety and Health News, "The settlement has the potential to affect every mine operator in the U.S." To initiate an enforcement action, MSHA needs only to believe there is a pattern of violations. Think about it. Using whatever criteria they wish to use. If MSHA suspects there is a pattern of violations, you can be shut down. This goes way beyond what they industry has heretofore experienced with regard to enforcement  strategy. Stay tuned for more on this in the future.