Issues: Science and Research
OKAA supports a continued federal role in research and development – specifically research into aggregates. Aggregates make up 94 percent of asphalt and 80 percent of concrete, thus research on aggregates is essential to finding and ensuring the most efficient and long-lasting pavements.
Definition of federally-regulated materials
Although OKAA supports strict regulation of harmful exposure to asbestos in commercial products in the workplace and in the environment, OKAA champions inclusion of the scientifically-accurate definition of federally regulated materials, concentration levels based on health risk studies and development of a reliable and accurate testing methodology, in any relevant legislation. Unless accurately defined, such legislation could inadvertently include common rocks and sand, which are not toxic to human health. A zero concentration level for a naturally-occurring substance is impossible.
Minerals Information Team
The Minerals Information Team (MIT) in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects data on the domestic and foreign mineral commodity supply and demand. This information is accessed by 30 federal agencies, all 50 states and the private sector for planning and policy decisions. It is important to note that the Federal Reserve Board uses this data to calculate the indexes of industrial production, capacity, and capacity utilization, which are among the most widely followed monthly indicators of the U.S. economy. The Defense Department and intelligence community use the information for national security purposes. Considering this is a function only the federal government can fulfill, Congress needs to fully fund the Minerals Information Team.
OKAA supports the inclusion of recycled materials in construction projects. Past experiments that mandated certain amounts or types of materials eventually caused more problems and increased construction costs. To ensure proper stewardship of the taxpayers’ dollars, OKAA urges Congress to avoid mandates while encouraging recycling where it makes economic sense and will bolster the nation’s sagging infrastructure without jeopardizing quality.