Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

Chemical plant shutdown could lead to auto production cuts -- The potential shortage of a key component used to make fuel lines and brake lines could force automakers in the U.S. and around the world to close car and truck plants as they run short of parts. Auto industry executives have scheduled an unprecedented meeting on Tuesday in suburban Detroit to talk about the problem. Officials from as many as 10 automakers and dozens of parts supply companies are set to attend. A March 31 explosion at Evonik Industries in western Germany killed two workers and damaged a factory that makes CDT. That chemical is a key component in a nylon resin called PA12, which is used to make a specialized plastic. The plastic is used in auto fuel lines and brake lines. It is also a component in solar cells, pipelines, sporting goods and household items.

The economic value of urban trees.
The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees -- The biggest savings are attributed to carbon storage, which the authors of the report value at an estimated $350 million. Collectively, the state's urban trees store about 16.9 million tons, with each ton stored worth about $20.70 to the state every year. Air and water filtration is also one of the functional benefits of urban trees, and the report estimates the value of this work at $204 million per year. The trees are credited with removing 27,100 tons of pollutants each year, including ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. And because of the shading they provide, these urban trees are credited with saving about $66 million in energy costs annually.

Ah. A procurement "fairness monitor."
City appoints fairness monitor to oversee bridge procurement -- Victoria lawyer Jamie Cassels has been hired by the city to act as an independent fairness monitor for the Johnson Street Bridge replacement project. Cassels, a lawyer and law professor at the University of Victoria, will monitor the evaluation, short-listing and awarding of the contract for replacement of the bridge to ensure that the procurement process is properly followed. He will submit written reports directly to city council and to the firms participating in the procurement process at the conclusion of the short-listing process and after the contract is awarded. "His job is there to ensure a fair process," said Mayor Dean Fortin.

Nothing ever seems to be fail-safe, does it?
Device Malfunction Casts Doubt on Industry Pledge -- As doctors scramble to understand the risks posed by a flawed heart device component made by St. Jude Medical, the episode is raising a bigger question -- whether the $10 billion heart device industry has fully embraced promised safety reforms. The industry was shaken in 2005 by disclosures that a major maker of heart defibrillators, Guidant, had not warned doctors about a potentially fatal flaw in its products.

- Sheena Moore

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