The environment and the economy would both see significant improvements if new federal incentives to encourage construction companies to replace older equipment with new, more efficient models were put in place, a representative of the Associated General Contractors of America testified today.
Don Weaver, of Arkansas-based Weaver Bailey Contractors, added that new federal incentives to encourage recycling of construction materials would also benefit the environment. Weaver was in Washington March 19, 2009 to provide testimony of behalf of the association in front of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Noting that construction equipment accounts for only 0.86 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions according to the EPA, Weaver said "this industry has a long history of developing construction techniques and practices that enhance our environment." He added though, that "the federal government can assist in these practices by offering appropriate incentives."
Mr. Weaver said the association was calling for the creation of a federal investment tax credit for contractors to replace their existing diesel powered equipment, including front loaders and on-site generators. He noted that such an incentive would cut diesel fuel consumption and reduce emissions of diesel particulates and black carbon.
He noted incentives would stimulate purchases of new construction equipment at a time when many companies are cutting back on orders. He added that the new equipment would make it easier for construction companies to build the new transportation systems and more efficient buildings that could lead to major and lasting environmental benefits.
Noting that every ton of asphalt recycled from construction results in the elimination of .03 tons of CO2 emissions, Weaver also urged Congress to put in place incentives to encourage the recycling and reuse of materials like concrete, asphalt, soil and construction debris. He said recycling and reuse of these materials reduces transportation costs, limits construction waste going to landfills and lowers energy use, in addition to reducing green house gas emissions.
Mr. Weaver said the association also was encouraging federal and state agencies that commission construction projects to use local materials to save fuel and cut emissions.
For a copy of Mr. Weaver’s full testimony, please visit www.agc.org/advocacy/environment.