The Publication for Merit Shop Pipeline Contractors AMERICAN PIPELINE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION FERC to Look at Climate Impacts when Considering Pipeline Applications 2021 Year-end Product Showcase Labor and Employment Law Spring Cleaning for Pipeline Industry Employers 1st Quarter 2022 Tips for Successfully Implementing Construction Technology 2022 Convention Program Inside (begins on page 7)
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PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 5 Officer Directors Of f i c ial Publ i cat ion of the Amer i can Pipel ine Cont rac tors Assoc iat ion Board of Directors Publication Staff PO Box 638 Churchton, MD 20733 (703) 212-7745 • www.americanpipeline.org ©2022 American Pipeline Contractors Association Nick Bertram Jomax Construction Co., Inc. Mike Castle, Jr. Castle Scott Coppersmith Mears Group, Inc. David Dacus (Advisory) Troy Construction, LLC Ricky Dyess M.G. Dyess, Inc. John Fluharty (Advisory) Mears Group, Inc. Chris Jones HardRock Directional Drilling, LLC Kevin LaBauve WHC Energy Services Max Nichols (Advisory) WB Pipeline, LLC Sean Renfro Sunland Construction, Inc. Aaron Simon (Advisory) Troy Construction, LLC James Schettine (Advisory) Meridien Energy William Schettine Meridien Energy Publisher TimothyWagner Editor Michael Ancell Advertising Sales Stacy Bowdring Information Technology Greg Smela Accounting James Wagner Layout & Design JosephWagner President Taylor Dacus Troy Construction, LLC Vice President RoyWeaver Weaver, LLC Treasurer Nick Bruno Bi-Con Services AMERICAN PIPELINE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION 2022 APCA Convention Program 7 Welcome to Scottsdale, Ariz., and the 2022 APCA Convention. For a complete schedule of events, turn to pages 7-11. FERC to Look at Climate Impacts when Considering Pipeline Applications 13 By Eben Wyman On February 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopted new rules that require the commission to consider the greenhouse gas impacts of a pipeline project during construction, when in operation, and downstream when delivered gas is burned. The new criteria will now be added to FERC’s process to determine the “need” for the project when the commission considers whether it is in the public interest and should be certified and therefore considered for construction. Inside Washington explains APCA’s opposition to this action and discusses other key issues. Stop Treating Symptoms: Tips for Successfully Implementing Construction Technology 21 By Tyler Paré Over the past five years, we have seen a proliferation of technologies enter the construction industry, watched an acceleration of invested capital into technology startups, and witnessed more contractors embracing technology overall. These trends are exciting and necessary in an evolving industry, but we have created a new problem by solving certain business challenges. Over time, technology providers and contractors have become so focused on new tech capabilities that tech is often adopted to treat the symptoms, leaving the core business problems unaddressed or even undiagnosed. Human Resources | By Greg Guidry 18 In Memoriam: Marshall Glynn Dyess 25 News Briefs 25 APCA Member News 32 New APCA Members 34 Advertiser Index 34 Industry Calendar 34 1st Quarter 2022
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PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 7 AMERICAN PIPELINE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION 2022 Annual Convention Schedule At-a-Glance Friday, March 25 6:15 - 8:30 pm BOD & Sponsors Dinner (By Invitation) - Resort Evening Attire Fairmont Gold A & Patio Saturday, March 26 9 am - 1 pm Board of Directors Meeting - Resort Casual Attire Castile 1 12:45 - 5 pm * ATV Excursion - Casual Attire Departs from Princess Bus Circle 1:30 - 4 pm * Talliesin West Architecture Tour Departs from Princess Bus Circle 6:30 - 7:30 pm APCA Welcome Reception - Resort Evening Attire Canyon Lawn 7:30 - 9:30 pm Dinner & Opening Session w/ Andy Stumph - Resort Evening Attire Princess Ballroom D-E Sunday, March 27 8 - 9 am Member & Spouse Breakfast - Resort Casual Attire Princess Plaza 9 - 10:30 am Government & Industry Relations Panel - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom D-E 10:45 am - 12 pm APCA Initiatives Update - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom D-E 1 - 5 pm* High-speed Kart Racing - Casual Attire Departs from Princess Bus Circle 6 - 8 pm Associate Member Copper Canyon Country Western Party - Western/Casual Attire Copper Canyon Monday, March 28 8 - 10:30 am Annual Associates Exhibit & Breakfast - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom A-C 10:30 am - 8 pm Exhibit Teardown Princess Ballroom A-C 10:45 am - 12 pm The Glass if More Than Half Full - Pipeline Construction Market Update w/ Mark Bridgers - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom D-E 12:30 - 6:30 pm* APCA Golf Tournament - Golf Attire TPC Scottsdale Departs from Princess Bus Circle 1 - 3 pm* La Hacienda Interactive Culinary Journey La Hacienda Tuesday, March 29 8 - 9 am Breakfast - Resort Casual Attire Princess Plaza 9 - 10:30 am Spouse Breakfast - Resort Casual Attire Princess Falls 9 - 10:30 am Recent Developments in Employment Law - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom D-E 10:45 - 11:30 am APCA Regular Member Meeting - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom D-E 10:45 - 11:30 am APCA Associate Member Meeting - Resort Casual Attire Princess Ballroom A-C 1 - 6:30 pm* Hummer +Wine Tasting - Resort Casual Attire Departs from Princess Bus Circle 1 - 5 pm* Old Town Scottsdale Segway Tour - Casual Attire Departs from Princess Bus Circle 7 - 10:30 pm APCA Final Party - Resort Evening Attire Princess Ballroom D-E Wednesday, March 30 8:30 - 10:30 am Board of Directors Wrap-up Meeting - Resort Casual Attire Castile 1 *Ending times for optional tours are estimates. Please consult the tour guide before departing if your return time is an issue.
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 8 Detailed Program Friday, March 25 6:15 - 8:30 pm Board & Sponsors Dinner Fairmont Gold A & Patio Open to APCA Board members, 2022 Convention sponsors, and their spouse/guest by invitation. Saturday, March 26 9 am - 1 pm Board of Directors Meeting Castile 1 Includes breakfast and lunch. Open to APCA Board of Directors only. 12:45 - 5 pm ATV Excursion Departs from Princess Bus Circle Hop on your fully automatic ATVs and hit the trail, winding through the diverse and beautiful landscape of the Sonoran Desert. You’re in for a real treat when you flip the switch on the toughest UTV the desert has ever seen. This four-seater Kawasaki Teryx4 can be filled to capacity and still climb trails, crawl boulders, and zip all over the desert. You’ll enjoy the rugged beauty that surrounds you from your front-row seat on the ATV. You’ll ford seasonal creeks, traverse sandy washes, ascend rocky slopes, and zoom along the flat desert trails. Must be age 18 or older (ID required). $375 includes transportation, knowledgeable guides, water and snacks, safety equipment, instructions and facilitators, license, insurance, gratuities, and site fees. 1:30 - 4 pm Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Architectural Tour Departs from Princess Bus Circle In 1937, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built a remarkable set of structures in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, known as Taliesin West. Set amid 600 acres of Sonoran beauty in North Scottsdale, Taliesin West was more than Wright’s personal winter residence and studio. It was also the home of the Taliesin Fellowship, a group of 23 young architectural “disciples” who built the complex under Wright’s direction. Long regarded by architectural critics as a masterpiece, the U.S. government declared Taliesin West a National Historic Landmark in 1987. You’ll be drawn closer into Wright’s world by visiting his living quarters and the gracious Taliesin West Garden Room. You’ll feel the beauty and peace of the spaces where Wright welcomed the many famous guests he entertained at his desert home. $125 per person includes transportation, admission, group coordinator, taxes, and gratuities. 6:30 - 7:30 pm APCA Welcome Reception Canyon Lawn Come enjoy a cocktail with fellow APCA members. 7:30 - 9:30 pm Dinner & Opening Session w/ Andy Stumpf Princess Ballroom D-E Leadership and Contingency Planning in high risk, high consequence environments can be the difference between success and failure, life, and death. Leadership is a professional license and must be treated as such. It will only improve with practice. Occupation does not define leadership. There is good leadership, and there is bad. The principles of the SEAL Teams are found off the battlefield, in highly successful teams and organizations around the globe. Andy Stumpf is a man on a mission. Born and raised in Northern California, Andy knew from an early age that he wanted to be Navy SEAL. In 1996, at just 17 years old, he enlisted in the Navy. Shortly after, he began perhaps the most grueling training program in the U.S. military: Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training. In his 17-year SEAL career, Andy completed 10 deployments and executed hundreds of combat operations throughout the world in support of the Global War on Terror. His awards and decorations include five Bronze Star Medals (four with Valor), the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons, and the Presidential Unit Citation. In 2015, Andy set two world records after jumping from 37,000 feet and flying over 18 miles in a wingsuit, a nearly fatal feat that was part of his effort to raise a million dollars for the Navy SEAL Foundation. In 2016, he starred in the hit television show Hunted, currently airing on CBS. He was also featured in the History Channel documentary “Navy SEALs: America’s Secret Warriors.” Andy is now dedicated to ensuring that the lessons learned from over a decade of sustained combat in Special Operations are retained by leaders in the business world.
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 9 Sunday, March 27 8 - 9 am Member & Spouse Breakfast Princess Plaza Everyone is invited to this tasty breakfast. 9 - 10:30 am Government & Industry Relations Panel Princess Ballroom D-E Led by Eben Wyman and the APCA Government & Industry Affairs Committee, this session details the committee’s recent initiatives, maps out its upcoming activities, and asks members about the issues that are affecting their businesses. Representatives from government and industry will provide brief reports on issues relevant to the pipeline construction industry. All APCA members are encouraged to attend and to participate in the discussion. We want to hear from you! 10:45 am - 12 pm APCA Initiatives Update Princess Ballroom D-E Attend this panel discussion led by APCA President Taylor Dacus to learn about the association’s progress on APCA initiatives. including the model contract initiative, the 811 locating study, the Natural Allies initiative, and the APCA branding initiative. The panel will include committee members, APCA staff, industry experts, and industry association executives. 1 - 5 pm High-Speed Kart Racing Departs from Princess Bus Circle Ladies & gentlemen, start your engines! This sleek, modern racing facility features a 1/3-mile indoor/ outdoor track that is designed to deliver the best racing experience imaginable. The highspeed race karts carve up the corners and fly down the straightaways up to 45 mph on a challenging road course. Experience the ultimate adrenaline rush! All kart drivers must be at least 16 years old with a valid state-issued ID. $205 per person includes transportation, two kart races, appetizer duo, two call bar drink tickets, soft drinks and bottled water, trophies for the top 3 drivers, one-hour game card for each participant, racing briefing, track marshals, full racing suits, helmets with neck protectors, taxes, and gratuities. 6 - 8 pm Associate Member Sponsored Copper Canyon Country Western Party Copper Canyon Put on your jeans, boots, and cowboy hats and join the posse at Copper Canyon—a private country and western town right on the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess property. Enjoy a campfire cookout with ribs, steaks, and fish all cooked over an open flame.. Monday, March 28 8 - 10:30 am Annual Associates Exhibit & Breakfast Princess Ballroom A-C APCA’s manufacturer and supplier members host the 4th Annual Associates Exhibit & Breakfast. Contractor members will meet with vendors, discuss jobsite issues, and learn about the industry’s latest products and services in a very relaxed atmosphere while enjoying a delicious breakfast. 10:30 am - 8 pm Exhibit Teardown Princess Ballroom A-C 10:45 am - 12 pm The Glass Is More Than Half Full with Mark Bridgers Princess Ballroom D-E The traditional pipeline markets are under threat from social, environmental, economic, investment, legal, regulatory, and government sources. What’s a pipeliner to do? In line with Charles Darwin’s research, it’s not the smartest or strongest that survive, but the most adaptable. In this session, Continuum will review current and potential market opportunities and help attendees begin the process of adaptation. Examples of opportunities that will be explored include CO2, H2, and renewable natural gas (RNG) pipelines; pipeline integrity and maintenance; gas distribution; other types of linear construction, including broadband, water, sewer, underground electric, highway and road communication infrastructure; and renewable power generation, among others. Do you want to survive or thrive? Lead your business and the industry through the diversification and transformation necessary because “the best is yet to come.”
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 10 12:30 - 6:30 pm APCA Golf Tournament TPC Scottsdale Departs from Princess Bus Circle APCA golfers will tee it up at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course. Rivaling its famous sister course in both beauty and playability, the Randy Heckenkemper-designed Champions Course offers an ideal desert golf experience. Built on the former site of TPC Scottsdale’s Desert Course, the layout was completely revamped in 2007 to flow seamlessly within the naturally rugged terrain, meandering between natural ravines and through picturesque foothills. $330 includes round-trip transportation, cart, box lunch, and taxes. Rental clubs: $87 including tax. 1 - 3 pm La Hacienda – Interactive Culinary Journey La Hacienda La Hacienda’s Southwestern Culinary Master, Chef Forest Hamrick, demonstrates the tricks of the trade to his culinary masterpieces! Groups of up to three are formed around stations set with everything you need to craft oneof-a-kind creations. You will be immersed in your delicious creation, mixing and tasting of various menu options until you find that perfect flavor. It’s the Great APCA Cooking Show! • 1st Course: Empanadas de Camaron – Gulf Shrimp, Oaxaca Cheese, Chipotle Tomato Sauce • 2nd Course: Tacos de Carne Asada – Grilled Skirt Steak, Corn Tortilla, Nopal Pico De Gallo, Guacamole and • 3rd Course: Churros – Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate, Cajeta, Natilla Cream. $200 includes all food ingredients, specialized stations, kitchen equipment, aprons, first margarita to kick off the event (full bar available; can be billed to guestroom), chips & salsa, taxes, and gratuities 6:30 pm Free Night Be sure to make reservations early at one of Scottsdale’s fabulous restaurants. Dining in Scottsdale presents the pleasant dilemma of choosing among virtually unlimited restaurants for dinner. There is something for everyone in Scottsdale. From dry aged steaks at Dominick’s Steakhouse or Morton’s The Steakhouse to seafood at Chart House Restaurant or Modern Oysterbar Chophouse. From Asian Fusion at Nobu to sushi at RA Sushi Bar Restaurant. From the Italian at Campo Italian Bistro and Bar to Mexican at Bandolero Cacina de Mexico, dining is a highlight in Scottsdale. You’ll always find a spot to satisfy your appetite and match your mood, and don’t forget the fabulous restaurants at the Scottsdale Princess including Bourbon Steak, Scottsdale’s top-rated Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda, and Toro Larin Restaurant & Rum Bar. Tuesday, March 29 8 - 9 am Breakfast Princess Plaza Start your day with fellow Contractor and Associate members over a full breakfast and steaming cups of coffee. 9 - 10:30 am Spouse Breakfast Princess Falls Join the group at Princess Falls where the resort’s culinary team will prepare a beautiful breakfast buffet complete with Bloody Marys and Mimosas for you to enjoy while you chat with friends and enjoy the beautiful Sonora Desert. 9 - 10:30 am Recent Developments in Employment Law Princess Ballroom D-E Greg Guidry, a labor attorney with years of experience representing employers in the pipeline construction industry will update members on all of the significant labor and employment law developments of interest to employers that have occurred in recent months. Included will be federal legislation, federal regulatory and other federal labor agency actions, important court decisions, and other developments that impact the workplace. The discussion will also include practical tips for dealing with these developments, where appropriate. 10:45 - 11:45 am APCA Regular Member Meeting Princess Ballroom D-E Open to APCA Regular (Contractor) members only. The meeting will be a fast-paced and frank discussion that touches on the various segments of the industry and Detailed Program
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 11 promotes the sharing of insights and opinions from contractors working in different market sectors all over North America. 10:45 - 11:45 am APCA Associate Member Meeting Princess Ballroom A-C APCA’s Associate members hold a roundtable discussion on topics that affect manufacturers and suppliers in the pipeline construction industry. 1 -6:30 pm Gravel & Grapes: Hummer +Wine Tasting Departs from Princess Bus Circle Let’s face it: wine goes with everything. Bachelor or bachelorette party? Wine. Special occasion with your significant other? Wine. Team building for work? Double wine. Kids with you on vacation? Triple wine. Although we don’t recommend mixing heavy machinery with the nectar of the gods in your everyday life, we definitely recommend it when it comes to the Gravel & Grapes tour (especially since your ride home is pre-arranged). The tour combines two iconic elements of the Arizona experience: Exploring the Sonoran Desert on an HI Hummer (or ATVs or UTVs) and enjoying world-class wines & food from one of Arizona’s favorite restaurants, Postinos. You’ll be picked up by the unmatched H1 Hummer, go out to the desert, and travel a narrow, chiseled trail while your experienced guide shares entertaining stories about the desert, cactus, wildlife, history, and geology. Then it’s on to Postinos where you will enjoy their famous bruschetta boards, a wine tasting, and more wine for everyone! $475 per person includes H1 Hummer transportation, assorted bruschetta boards, wine tasting flight and 2 glasses of wine per guest, group photo, water & snacks, license, insurance and site fees, taxes, and gratuities. 1 - 5 pm Old Town Scottsdale Segway Tour Departs from Princess Bus Circle See the sights of Scottsdale on a Segway i2 Personal Transporter during the Old Town Exploration Tour with over 30 points of interest filled with fun facts and local history. Create unforgettable memories as you roll into the historic Old Town Scottsdale District and glide your way through Scottsdale’s most renowned Downtown area. Each guest receives 1-on-1 training, and the tour starts when everyone feels comfortable. After a quick training period, you’ll be smiling on a Segway and cruising through the guided 5-mile tour. Riders will all receive an earpiece to hear safety instructions, historical narration, and the occasional catchy tune from the guides. $250 includes transportation, 2-hour tour, safety helmet, safety instruction course, unlimited bottled water & cooling evaporative neck towels, audio receiver and earbud to hear tour guide narration, group photos, taxes, and gratuities. 7:30 - 10 pm APCA Final Banquet Princess Ballroom D-E Join the group in the Princess Ballroom for cocktails and a sumptuous dinner. APCA President Taylor Dacus, Troy Construction, will deliver his state of the association/ industry address followed by music and dancing featuring the Young Country Band. Young Country has been a country music staple in the southwest for years. Consistently in high demand, Young Country maintains a busy schedule entertaining some of the most established corporations in the world. Playing the best of current and past country hits, YC can easily incorporate any genre into the mix to round out the night and keep people dancing. “The boys from Young Country are just plain good...Rival any national act I’ve ever heard...Great musicianship.” - Ronnie Dunn of Grammy Award winning Brooks & Dunn Wednesday, March 30 8:30 - 10:30 am Board of Directors Wrap-up Meeting Castile 1 Open to APCA Board of Directors only. Departures all day
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 13 On February 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted new rules that require the commission to consider the greenhouse gas impacts of a pipeline project during construction, when in operation, and downstream when delivered gas is burned. The new criteria will now be added to FERC’s process to determine the “need” for the project when the commission considers whether it is in the public interest and should be certified and therefore considered for construction. In a split 3-2 vote under a Democratic majority, FERC approved policy to ensure the “legal durability” of its decisions. According to one commissioner, “there’s nothing remarkable, and certainly not radical, in taking environmental considerations into account while determining the public interest.” The pipeline industry disagrees, to say the least. The fear is that the new policy will make it easy for FERC to deny a project’s certification based on ideological or political grounds, even if is clearly in the public interest to build the infrastructure needed to deliver natural gas to the respective community it serves. FERC already faces a significant backlog of project applications, and now there is yet another hurdle, one that will be especially problematic. Requiring consideration of climate impact will only create further uncertainty for pending projects and will significantly delay badly needed infrastructure. FERC is composed of five commissioners, and three of them are Democrats, including Chairman Richard Glick, who is in the final year of his term but expected by many to be reappointed for an additional five-year term. While serving in the Trump administration, Glick notoriously voted against nearly every pipeline project that came before FERC. Notably, his objections normally focused on a project’s greenhouse gas impacts not considered to his satisfaction. The commission’s move is certain to lead to litigation and likely legislation from energy advocates looking to block it. In addition to virtually all Republicans, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who serves as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, was not shy about his opposition. Calling it a “reckless decision,” Manchin said that FERC’s move would put national security at risk. “The only thing they accomplished today was constructing additional roadblocks that further delay building out the energy infrastructure our country desperately needs,” he said. “Energy independence is our greatest geopolitical and economic tool and we cannot lose sight of that as instability rises around the globe.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), ranking member of the ENR committee, said, “President Biden is trumpeting the importance of infrastructure at the same time his appointees are working to kill energy infrastructure.” Barrasso went on to say FERC “is determined to make it nearly impossible for InsideWashington continued on page 14 INSIDE WASHINGTON EbenWyman APCA Government & Industry Affairs firstname.lastname@example.org (703) 740-6126 FERC to Look at Climate Impacts when Considering Pipeline Applications By Eben M. Wyman
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 14 Inside Washington Continued from page 13 Americans to maintain or improve access to abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas.” This policy has been talked about since Joe Biden was on the campaign trail, and these overzealous climate proposals only add uncertainty to the pipeline permitting process, which has been confusing and inefficient for decades. However, of particular concern is the stipulation that energy developers will have to consider ways to mitigate climate impacts downstream, even to the use of the natural gas by the consumer. APCA considers this policy shortsighted and unworkable. APCA Fights Executive Action Requiring PLAs APCA’s primary function as a national industry association is to protect merit-shop contractors who engage in the natural gas and oil pipeline industry from union bias in public policy and to ensure that the industry’s voice is heard and perspective is considered in pipeline industry circles. In recent years, the association has supported approval of pipeline projects worked on by primarily union contractors in the spirit of industry solidarity at a time when the entire pipeline industry is under attack. However, as the Biden administration continues to move the yardsticks in favor of union labor at every turn, APCA has truly taken the gloves off at a very critical time. In early February, the president signed an executive order (EO) mandating project labor agreements (PLAs) for federal construction contracts exceeding $35 million in his latest effort to provide handouts to organized labor and cut out merit-shop construction companies, which make up the vast majority of the construction workforce. Biden, who has promised to be the most pro-union president in history since he was on the campaign trail, announced the EO during a speech to a local union in Maryland. According to Biden, this executive action would “ensure that major projects are handled by well-trained, well-prepared, highly skilled workers.” However, anybody who knows anything about the construction industry today knows that all construction sectors are facing formidable workforce capacity challenges. Because the vast majority of construction is performed by merit-shop entities, common sense should indicate that the Biden EO will exacerbate that situation. In fact, it will devastate the construction industry’s existing shortage of roughly 500,000 skilled workers. APCA immediately issued a press release lamenting the White House action. “APCA has worked for the past several years to educate policymakers about the importance of natural gas and the critical role pipelines will play in ensuring America’s energy future,” APCA President Taylor Dacus, Troy Construction, said in the statement. “The vast majority of pipeline construction firms are merit-shop entities. The Biden administration needs to understand that, and APCA will continue to educate policymakers at all government levels to ensure the recognition of these harmful policies that will undermine the projects included in the infrastructure bill passed last year.” Days later, 16 construction industry groups (including APCA) wrote a letter to the president warning that the EO would slow down projects financed by the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. They said that PLAs “unfairly discourage competition from quality non-union contractors and their employees” that make up 87 percent of the private construction industry, driving up costs. “In short, hardworking taxpayers are getting less and paying more when PLAs are encouraged or mandated by the government on federal and federally assisted construction projects,” the groups wrote. Most of the groups signed onto the letter are members of an ad hoc coalition working to pass the Fair and Open Competition Act (HR 1284/S 403), which would prohibit the use of PLAs on federal and federally assisted projects. As an active member of this coalition, APCA also launched a campaign through its elaborate grassroots program, Muster. PLA requirements essentially exclude the majority of construction firms bidding on contracts that include federal financing assistance. Despite the fact that pipeline construction is rarely funded or even assisted by federal dollars, APCA remains strongly concerned with the precedent set by the Biden White House. In addition, APCA fears that expected confusion faced by state and local governments, who may be interested in doing business with qualified merit-shop contractors and a local workforce but are deterred from doing so because of one-sided policy. Over the past few years, it has become clear that America is making a transition toward increased use of renewable Because the vast majority of construction is performed by merit-shop entities, common sense should indicate that the Biden EO will exacerbate that situation. In fact, it will devastate the construction industry’s existing shortage of roughly 500,000 skilled workers.
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 15 energy. APCA has made it clear that the association supports clean energy but a continued role for natural gas will be needed. And while carbon capture efforts and increased use of hydrogen are noble ideas, significant pipeline infrastructure will be needed to move large volumes of these promising energy sources. Therefore, policy that restricts or undermines any sectors of a badly needed workforce can only be considered shortsighted. There is really no denying the fact that extensive pipeline construction will be critical to meeting the lofty Biden goal of achieving a “net-zero emissions economy.” The president should reevaluate how meeting campaign promises measures up to ensuring the workforce to build the infrastructure he’s promised over the past few years. PHMSA Describes Efforts to Address Methane Releases in the Pipeline System In mid-February, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) held a virtual forum to explain provisions included in the PIPES Act of 2020 that specifically address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimizing releases of natural gas from pipeline facilities. Many of these requirements are self-executing and apply directly to the pipeline operator. Specifically, operators are required to update their inspection and maintenance plans no later than one year after the date of enactment of the PIPES Act (December 27, 2021). A prime example of what PHMSA is trying to address is the intentional venting during normal operations and maintenance of an operators’ pipeline facilities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane carries global warming potential significantly higher than that of carbon dioxide. EPA maintains that while methane has a stronger warming effect, it also has a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere, so minimizing methane emissions would provide immediate benefits toward the goal of addressing climate change. To that end, PHMSA believes that the repair or replacement of pipeline facilities that are known to leak would result in enhanced public safety, environmental protection, and economic benefits. The PIPES Act also requires that plans address the repair/ replacement of pipelines that are known to leak due to questionable material. Pipes made of cast iron, wrought iron, unprotected steel, and older plastics with known service issues have been targeted for replacement for years. PHMSA also points to design or past operating and maintenance history as areas for operators to consider during their evaluation. Last June, PHMSA published an advisory bulletin reminding pipeline operators of their obligation to comply with PIPES requirements and that they must identify procedures to prevent and mitigate both vented (intentional) and fugitive (unintentional) pipeline emissions. Vented emissions can occur during repairs, maintenance, or operations of pressure relief systems, or other controlled activities. Fugitive emissions include leaks from mains or service lines, meters, or excavation damage, as well as other accidental releases. Debate over if and how PHMSA should consider methane emissions from pipeline facilities was a main reason for the year-long hold up of a final rule. However, while new requirements to update their inspection and maintenance plans to address methane emissions (both intentional and unintentional) and to repair or replace certain facilities accordingly, it will boost construction work needed to address identified challenges. All in all, the methane language included in the PIPES Act could have been a lot more overreaching that it is, and operators know that APCA contractors will get the job done right when work needs to be done to comply with the new rules. InsideWashington continued on page 16 Provider of Launchers and Receivers for all Pipe Diameters Provider of Our Rentals Include: • Pig Launcher Rentals (4”-48”) • Pig Receiver Rentals (4”-48”) • Valve Rentals 713-906-0271 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.tcrentalsinc.com P.O. Box 1688 • Tomball, TX 77377 c . . ll,
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 16 811 Emergency Study Gets Immediate Attention, Raises Some Eyebrows In November, APCA and several other national associations representing the excavation construction community released a new industry study that examined the underground facility locating process related to excavation construction projects. The study was commissioned by the Infrastructure Protection Coalition (IPC), a new group of associations representing broadband, electric, natural gas, pipelines, transportation, sewer and water, and facility locating industries. Issues addressed in the study include federal and state regulation, enforcement, finance, insurance, and other factors. The study, entitled 811 Emergency, found that leading reasons behind the waste and cost overruns identified in this study include: • Over-notification of planned excavation because of failure of operators to perform all facility marks on time, • Poor instructions given to locators, • Facility marks destroyed by construction and then needing to be remarked, and • Contractor downtime when locating/marking is not completed accurately and/or on time. According to 811 Emergency, this costs billions of dollars to the industry and to society in general every year. The study provides an in-depth examination of 811 operations in every state and shows these costs and the increased risk to public safety could be reduced if certain states adopted more effective practices and procedures used in other areas of the country. Finally, the study includes 13 recommendations for consideration by federal authorities and state regulators. Pipeline contractors have highlighted problems associated with facility locating and marking for decades. “All too often, the discussions of damage prevention and how it relates to pipeline safety focus on the importance of calling 811 prior to excavating,” APCA President Taylor Dacus said in a press release issued when the study was rolled out. “We need to better consider the challenges facing the facility locating process and the underlying reasons behind the increasing number of locate requests that are responded to entirely too late or are unanswered altogether.” 811 Emergency has ruffled some feathers, which was inevitable and not necessarily a bad thing. For example, several sponsors of the study met virtually with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where representatives from some 20 states had plenty to say about 811 Emergency. While several comments were made about minor inaccuracies included in the report, they did not attack either the underlying reasons for conducting the study, nor the 13 recommendations provided to address these challenges. Any hard-hitting industry study will be controversial in certain circles, and 811 Emergency is no different. The fact that representatives from some 20 state agencies wanted to be part of the discussion clearly indicates that the study is being noticed, which was a primary goal of the effort. Build Back Better Sidelined, but Fight Over Provisions Far from Over APCA spent the latter part of 2021 fighting the president’s multi-trillion dollar Build Back Better (BBB) legislation. The bill itself had little to do with building, and the sweeping social spending provisions addressing health care, childcare, education, and a range of climate change proposals became increasingly unpopular. Within weeks, after strong objection to the BBB by virtually the entire American business community, it was clear that the social spending measure was on the ropes. Just before the Christmas break, Democrats in the Senate started began to accept the fact that any final version of the BBB measure would look much different than the $2 trillion bill that passed in the House last year. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) indicated early that he could not support the bill as written and didn’t budge despite strong pressure from the far left, saying his biggest priorities were addressing inflation and battling the coronavirus. In the end, Manchin told reporters that he would support negotiations in early 2022 with a “clean sheet of paper.” Weeks later, President Biden, in an extended press conference, said that he believed Congress could still pass priority bills that contained BBB priorities. “I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” Biden said. However, the concept of “big chunks” was inherently confusing, mostly because Democrats had been trying to stuff as many social priorities as possible into one bill because they could not get the Republican support necessary to pass them through a series of stand-alone bills. While killing BBB as previously considered was a big win for our industry, American businesses, and for the country in general, APCA members should prepared for the inevitable legislation with the “chunks” of the BBB measure in different forms or possibly with a slightly different angle. Watch for Muster campaigns and never think your efforts to weigh in go unnoticed. This year will be critical, and we need all APCA members to engage. 7 Inside Washington Continued from page 15
Industry Education • Premium Networking • Great Times! 2022 MID-YEAR MEETING The Roosevelt New Orleans October 5 - 8, 2022
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 18 HUMAN RESOURCES Labor and Employment Law Spring Cleaning for Pipeline Industry Employers By Greg Guidry, Ogletree Deakins Now that you have committed to and started your personal New Year’s resolutions (or not) and will soon be enjoying spring weather instead of miserable winter weather, now is a good time to review your company’s employment practices to avoid a costly government agency audit, or a charge or lawsuit filed by one or more of your employees. As we have discussed in prior articles in this journal, the Biden administration is focused on aggressive enforcement of all labor and employment laws and has committed to help organized labor increase its ranks. Smart employers will proactively consider ways to limit their employment law risks in the coming year. This article will provide guidance on some areas to review. Review Your Pay Practices As we suggested in the last issue, employers need to expect that they will be audited for wage and hour compliance in 2022, or possibly sued in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective (class) action. The Biden Wage and Hour Division will be active and aggressive in its enforcement efforts and its efforts to educate your employees about their rights under the FLSA. Common issues arising in the pipeline industry are allegedly excessive per diems and other expense payments, travel time issues, payment of day rates with no overtime, record-keeping violations, misclassification of non-exempt workers as exempt, and not paying for training time. You should conduct an audit of your pay practices annually. Review Your Employee Handbook and Stay Tuned for NLRB Decisions Impacting Your Policies in the Handbook Similar to your pay practices, you should conduct an annual review of your employee handbook and employment policies. Changes to federal and state employment law occur frequently, and you need to ensure that your policies are in compliance. Most pipeline employers work in several states so they should ensure that their policies are in compliance with all the states where they do business. Consider developing addendums to the handbook for the different states where you operate. The current NLRB majority and General Counsel have committed to return to the Obama NLRB stance on employment law policies, declaring typical policies such as at-will employment, confidentiality in employment investigations, restrictions on employee communications or complaints, and other typical polices as violative of the National Labor Relations Act. Stay tuned for updates on those likely developments, which may create a need to delete or rewrite the policies affected. A couple of other practical tips: your employee handbook should not be a lengthy and complex policy manual designed for managers. It should be relatively short and simple so that employees can understand it. And be sure to get every employee to acknowledge in writing that they have received and read the handbook. Train Your Supervisors on Employment Law The COVID pandemic has resulted in a decrease in live training, but many employers have turned to virtual training as a substitute. One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make is not training all its supervisors on their obligations under employment law. Supervisor actions bind your company under federal and state employment laws, and supervisors can also be held personally liable for inappropriate behavior. They must understand that. Have you educated them about inappropriate behavior such as harassment and bullying, Greg Guidry Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart email@example.com (337) 769-6583
PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 19 about the need to document performance and disciplinary actions, to be honest in employee evaluations, how to conduct investigations, and how to treat the employees they supervise fairly? If you haven’t trained your supervisors on these points, this is the time to get it done. Your efforts should focus on getting your supervisors to follow the golden rule of the workplace: “Your employment actions should be fair, consistent, and honest. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and then document what you did.” Implement or Dust Off a Robust Anti-Harassment Program Social justice movements and the COVID pandemic have seemingly put the “Me-Too” movement on the back burner, but harassment in the workplace continues to be an important workplace problem and a large source of claims. ALL your employees need to be trained on your anti-harassment policy and the dos and don’ts of workplace behavior. You should also post your anti-harassment policy in a place where employees will see it. Many states mandate annual training on harassment, and annual or more frequent training is highly recommended, even it not mandated. The EEOC has committed to implementing an updated policy on harassment this year, so stay tuned for developments and recommendations in that area. If and when you get a harassment charge, you want to be able to truthfully say that you take this issue seriously and have done everything in your power to prevent it and/or take appropriate corrective action when it does occur. Implement a Proactive Union Avoidance Program President Biden has promised to be the most pro-union president in the history of the United States. Despite that promise, union membership in the U.S. in the private sector in 2021 was at 6.1 percent. Count on unions to try to take advantage of a radical pro-union NLRB General Counsel and a Democratic majority on the NLRB to attempt to increase that low number. Though there have not been many recent efforts to organize nonunion pipeline industry employers, there has been some successful activity, and one union has been running television ads promoting union pipeline contractors and the benefits of working union. When you do the supervisor training recommended above, be sure to include a section on union avoidance and how to recognize and respond to union activity. You should also consider stating your position on unions in new employee orientation after hiring an employee (not during the interview). Make sure your wages and benefits are competitive in the industry, make sure your supervisors treat your employees with dignity and respect, and when receiving a complaint or grievance from employees, make sure you respond, even if the answer is no. When confronted with organizing by a union or confronted with potentially unlawful activity, hire an expert to assist you in a lawful response. Comply with COVID-related Laws and Developments and Continue Your Efforts to Minimize Risks for Your Employees Because the COVID pandemic legal landscape is in continuous flux, with various court decisions and local and state developments on mandatory vaccines, this article will not try to outline all the applicable legal issues that are in play at this time. Though OSHA has withdrawn its shot-or-test ETS in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in January, it has promised to implement permanent standards in general and in certain high-risk industries. The pipeline industry should not be in that category, but it is subject to the general duty clause prohibiting unsafe workplaces and practices, so be sure to follow all applicable CDC guidelines in place, along with any OSHA guidances still in effect. Hopefully, this too shall pass. If You Don’t Have One, Hire a Good Human Resources Professional According to data produced by the Society for Human Resources Management, employers should have at least one human resources (HR) representative for every 100 employees. A good HR rep is an invaluable part of your management team and will ensure that you are doing the right things on a continuous basis. If you have an HR rep or hire one, also make sure that he or she is respected and taken seriously. Conclusion Although this article does not intend to be an exhaustive listing of everything that a pipeline industry employer should do to improve its employment law status, if you are able to implement or continue those steps discussed, you will be in a better place from an employment law compliance perspective for 2022. Good luck. 7
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PIPELINE CONTRACTORS JOURNAL | 1st Quarter 2022 21 Technology has become a critical capability in construction operations, and as we look to get more out of that investment, we have to tackle issues and opportunities by considering all aspects of innovation, including people, process, and information. Over the past five years, we have seen a proliferation of technologies enter the construction industry, watched an acceleration of invested capital into technology startups, and witnessed more contractors embracing technology overall. These trends are exciting and necessary in an evolving industry, but we have created a new problem by solving certain business challenges. Over time, technology providers and contractors have become so focused on new tech capabilities that tech is often adopted to treat the symptoms, leaving the core business problems unaddressed or even undiagnosed. Now we must focus on identifying the underlying problem and ensure we are leveraging the proper tools as we create the solution. We must also remind ourselves that we have four assets or levers that we can pull, to varying degrees, as we develop a solution to our problem. Those levers are people, process, technology, and data, each of which has a cost, tradeoff, and opportunity to offer. Up until now, you’ve probably only heard of people, process, and technology as the three legs of the stool. However, data (and associated information) is as useful and critical of a tool when creating the solution. When leveraging these four assets, keep in mind that we want to solve a business or operations problem, pursue an improvement, or understand a situation that may present a risk. However, in all of the excitement over the industry’s digital transformation, it is easy to learn of a technology that addresses a symptom of a problem or inefficiency, adopt the technology, and either reap a short-term benefit or not achieve the full anticipated advantage. This happens because we jumped to securing the technology without understanding the underlying causes. We also neglected to assess which combination of people, process, tech, and data was most likely to produce the desired outcome. If you read no further than this, the key is to stop chasing the technology to treat the symptom and instead to understand the underlying problem, apply the proper assets, and include technology (in most cases). By Tyler Paré Stop Treating Symptoms: Tips for Successfully Implementing Construction Technology