Legislative update

After a year of stagnant legislation, ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride reports legislative efforts are regaining momentum for the association’s model legislation.

Kevin Gilbride

The ASCA’s legislative efforts are back in full force after the pandemic derailed our forward progress last year. The ASCA’s model legislation, the Snow Removal Limited Liability Act, which has become law in Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut, makes a contract null and void when the property owner or property management company passes their liability onto the snow and ice management company.

I know minimal legislative news has come out over the last year, but we anticipate reversing that trend as we regain momentum on many of our initiatives. Here’s what’s happening on the legislative front.

In Pennsylvania, House Bill 1665 was introduced earlier this year. It was assigned to the Insurance Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. We continue to work with our partners in Pennsylvania behind the scenes to get this legislation out of committee and onto the House floor for, discussion and eventual passage.

In Massachusetts, our legislation was introduced in the state senate as S1249. It has been sponsored by Bruce E. Tarr, Senate Minority Leader in the Massachusetts State House, and has been assigned to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. The committee held a virtual hearing in late September, and at which time I, along with a few other Massachusetts snow professionals, provided testimony. At the time I wrote this column, we were still waiting to hear what action the committee will take on the legislation. I remain very optimistic because last year the committee gave it a favorable recommendation. The bill, though, never made to the Senate floor because, like so many other pieces of legislation, it was delayed due to the pandemic.

The ASCA also has numerous legislative irons in the fire in various other snow states; however, it’s just too early to report any definitive updates on their progress at this time. Be on the lookout for future Legislative Alerts in your email inbox.

You can stoke the fires for legislative change in your state. I always recommend snow professionals reach out to their elected representatives to let them know you would like them to support the ASCA’s model legislation.

In states where we have active legislative pending, your message can be short and sweet. Simply tell your elected representatives: “We would like you to support House Bill [and the number]. This legislation would go a long way in helping professional snow and ice management companies in your district.”

You can locate your representatives’ contact information through their websites. For example, in Pennsylvania the website is legis.state.pa.us/, and in Massachusetts the website is malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator.

It only takes a few minutes to send an email, but it goes a long way in getting elected officials to take action when they hear from their constituents whom they represent. Remember, you hold their votes when it comes time for re-election.

New player in salt

Atlas Salt’s Great Atlantic Salt Project could become a significant rock salt supplier to East Coast snow and ice markets.

A new player is emerging in the North American salt market and could shake things up for an industry that has already seen some historic consolidation over recent years.

Atlas Salt — formerly known as Red Moon Resources, Inc. — plans to break ground on a new rock salt mine located on Newfoundland’s west coast. Company officials anticipate its Great Atlantic Salt Project will provide high-quality rock salt for US and Canadian East Coast markets and reduce the snow and ice management industry’s need for costly foreign rock salt.

In addition to its strategic location to deep-water ports and eastern North American markets, this rock salt deposit varies between 200 and 250 meters in thickness and is easily accessible between 200 meters and 400 meters from the surface. In contrast, Compass Minerals Goderich Salt Project, the world’s largest underground salt mine, is located 600 meters under Lake Huron.

Company officials speculate the Great Atlantic Salt Project could mine a minimum of 2 million tonnes of rock salt per year and could pull product for 100 years.

The Great Atlantic Salt Project is generating interest in the investment community as well. According to a recent summary analysis for the online investment publication Streetwise Reports, author Ron Struthers states: “What is most important to understand is there is no risk with grade, metallurgy, strip ratios, processing and mining methods like mining other metals or materials. A processing plant is not required, you simply scoop material out of the deposit with a salt processor and ship to port. It is more like a salt factory than a mine. These salt projects generate huge cash flow and profits, but very seldom does one ever come to market in a public company.”

Mission 2021

Now more than ever, SnowCare for Troops needs volunteers.

Project Evergreen’s SnowCare For Troops has been supporting the families of active military personnel for more than a decade.

Now, the ongoing labor crisis has trickled down and threatens the program’s ability to provide assistance this winter.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen some of our volunteers have to pull out of the program or reduce their involvement [because of the labor crisis],” says Program Manager Ki Matsko.

“It’s important for (snow and ice management professionals) to realize anyone can participate in the program. While our core volunteers are landscape and snow contractors, anyone who’d like to help can get involved as a volunteer, as well.

The SnowCare for Troops program, supported by BOSS Snowplow, assists military families of US service men and women by providing snow removal services to family members while they are deployed throughout the US and the world.

Participating in the program is both easy and rewarding. Enter bit.ly/3ARWIoJ into your browser for more information or to become a volunteer this winter.

And for more on the SnowCare for Troops program, check out Ki’s guest appearance on The Snow Magazine Podcast. Enter bit.ly/2Xs6dwu into your browser to listen.

November 2021
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