The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not adopt final regulations for its proposed financial responsibility requirements for hard rock mining operations for metals and non-metallic fuel minerals that SFAA opposed. Surety bonds would have been accepted to meet the requirement and SFAA noted that the bond requirement could have been duplicative of existing state and federal reclamation bonding requirements. We also opposed provisions that would have permitted direct actions on the bond. Other stakeholders also noted the potential for duplicative financial responsibility requirements and the potential problems with the direct action provisions. The EPA agreed with these concerns and will not move forward with its proposal.
The 2018 January/February Edition of the SFAA Newsletter has been posted. Beginning this year, each Newsletter will be available to the public. In addition to our regular Association news, we will be providing original content for our members and supporters to share. In this issue, we examine Carillion’s Collapse and Why Bonding Matters.
SFAA Working on Oklahoma Bill that Prohibits Retainage When Bonds are in Place
SFAA and AIA are working with the local surety association in Oklahoma to address HB 2676, which would prohibit the withholding of retainage from the general contractor on public buildings and public works projects if bonds under the Little Miller Act are in place. Oklahoma’s bond threshold is $50,000, and existing law provides that not more than 5% of the contract price may be withheld. For subcontractors, the bill provides that either retainage of not more than 5% may be withheld or performance and maintenance bonds could be required as a condition of the subcontract.
SFAA Addressing Proposed Bond Threshold Increase and P3 Pilot Program in Vermont
SFAA is addressing HB 917, which would increase the bond threshold from $100,000 to $500,000. As drafted, the bill would have provided for a $1 million bond threshold. The bill also would provide for a pilot program for the Agency of Transportation to enter into public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation infrastructure projects. The state legislature would set the requirements and would have to approve each P3 project, unless the project will have a project lifetime cost that is less than $2 million or the project has been approved in the most recently adopted Transportation Program. The bill does not specify a bonding requirement for this P3 program. The program would expire on July 1, 2023.