Expansive New Rules on the Way From Washington

Doug Kurkul

Baseball season is underway to the delight of millions of fans, including many Modern Casting readers. One of the most noteworthy developments in baseball over the past few years has been the large number of rules changes. There is the no-pitch intentional walk, the three-batter minimum for relief pitchers, the runner-on-second in extra innings scheme, and the designated hitter in the National League. 

This year, Major League Baseball went further and adopted larger bases, new pickoff rules, restrictions on infield shifts, and a pitch clock. Players, managers, and umpires alike must adjust to the rule changes. While fans will heartily debate the merits of the changes, their impact will not have much in the way of implications beyond the game of baseball.

In contrast, the Biden administration is in the midst of implementing dozens of regulatory changes that affect the competitiveness of American industry in the global marketplace. (Even baseball is not immune, as climate change has been blamed by some for an increase in the number of home runs.) The stakes are significant.

The American Foundry Society is pushing back on a proposal from EPA to set a more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) after EPA decided to make no changes to the standard in 2020. The Society called on EPA to withdraw the proposal because any further restrictions on stationary sources like metalcasting operations would impose an unnecessary burden on those operations without environmental benefits. 

EPA’s plan would lead to confusing and conflicting requirements for manufacturers and penalize those operations because even the total elimination of PM2.5 emissions from these sources would not be sufficient to meet the new proposed standard! Nearly half of the counties in the U.S. could be impacted, resulting in clamp-downs on plant modernization and new facility construction.  
Meanwhile, AFS is working to ensure any changes to the Waters of the U.S. Rule and a soon-to-be proposed OSHA indoor heat-stress rules are reasonable and based on sound science. 

Manufacturers are also concerned about a Securities & Exchange Commission scheme to place new reporting burdens on private businesses that are part of a public company’s supply chain. Critics say it will encourage and empower shareholder activists and dismantle commonsense safeguards adopted in 2020 to provide appropriate oversight of proxy advisory firms.

On other issues, AFS is playing offense. AFS and an industry coalition are backing legislation to modernize America’s burdensome permitting process and increase domestic energy and resource production. We hope to see the legislation enacted in the next Congress if not in this one. 

In this issue, AFS lobbyist Stephanie Salmon discusses several important tax provisions from the 2017 tax reform law that began to phase out at the end of 2022. With bonus depreciation rates set to begin phasing down this year, AFS is lobbying for immediate expensing for American investments in machinery and equipment, also known as 100% bonus depreciation. 

In light of the undeniable impact that public policy has on foundries, we encourage Modern Casting readers to step up to the plate and join us in Washington for the AFS Government Affairs Fly-In, June 20-21. Please contact Stephanie at ssalmon@afsinc.org to learn more or visit 
afsinc.org/fly-in. We look forward to seeing many faithful Modern Casting readers there! 

If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in Modern Casting, email swetzel@afsinc.org.

Click here to view the column in the May 2023 Modern Casting digital edition.