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Senate Committee to Vote on Nominee to lead OSHA

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 8, 2017
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has scheduled the confirmation vote on Scott Mugno, the FedEx safety executive tapped by the Trump administration's to lead OSHA, for Monday December 13th. The HELP Committee convened Scott Mugno's confirmation hearing on Tuesday, December 5th. The Committee's questions and concerns largely split along party lines, following the trend of other confirmation hearings. If the Committee votes to confirm Scott Mugno to head OSHA, he will join the rest of President Trump's nominees currently awaiting a full Senate vote for confirmation.  Numerous important positions remain unfilled while the nominees await a floor vote, including 4 positions at the EPA. As the year winds down, it is anticipated that many of these nominees will be confirmed in a large package. IMA-NA is looking forward to the Administration continuing to staff the Departments and Agencies to ensure the government can function at the level it needs to. 

Tags:  confirmation  DOL  labor  OSHA  Senate 

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Happy National Miners Day!

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy National Miners Day! Since its designation by Congress, in 2009, December 6th is a day for the United States to recognize the nearly 300,000 men and women working in the mining industry. IMA-NA is proud to represent the companies and hard working individuals who make up a big piece of the industrial minerals sector. As we all know, industrial minerals are the building blocks of our modern lifestyles. Without the men and women developing and producing industrial minerals, coal, and metals life would look substantially different. We hope that today everyone takes a minute to thank and recognize the tremendous miners we all rely so much on. Remember, if you can't grow it, you have to mine it!

To read Secretary Acosta's statement click here.

To read Assistant Secretary Zatezalo's statement click here

Tags:  miners  msha  national miners day 

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Unimin Transfers Mine Rights to Bat Organization

Posted By RJ Alpers, Monday, December 4, 2017

Unimin Corp. has announced that it will transfer the rights to its Magazine Mine, located in Alexander County, Illinois, to the Organization for Bat Conservation. The mine site, which was originally used to extract microcrystalline silica, discovered that it was home to several thousand bats including the endangered Indiana bat, Little Brown Bat, and the Long-Eared Myotis Bat.

Rob Mies, executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation stated “The transfer of the Magazine Mine is a huge step in protecting the rare and endangered Indiana Bat,” Adding, “We are proud to partner with Unimin in this endeavor”.

For more information on the conservation agreement between Unimin and the Organization for Bat Conservation please read the full article here. Special thanks to Rock Products for allowing us to share their article regarding our membership. 

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Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, December 4, 2017

Early this past Saturday morning the Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation by a vote of 51-49, with all Republicans except Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in favor and all Democrats opposed.  The bill that cleared the Senate Finance Committee before Thanksgiving underwent some changes in the ensuing weeks to secure the Republican votes necessary to secure its passage on the Senate floor.  While differences exist between the separate tax reform bills passed by the House and Senate, the conference committee that will attempt to reconcile the two bills is expected to move expeditiously.  Conferees are expected to be named by the House and Senate leadership early this week.

The percentage depletion deduction is preserved in the Senate bill, as it likewise is in the House bill, in that the current tax code provisions of Title 26 U.S.C. §613 are not repealed or modified and remain existing law.  Preserving the percentage depletion deduction has been IMA-NA’s highest legislative priority this year because the deduction typically is worth millions of dollars to IMA-NA producer member companies.  IMA-NA will continue to advocate for preservation of the percentage depletion deduction as tax reform moves through the legislative process until, ultimately, it is signed into law by the President.


Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform legislation 

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CERCLA 108(b) Financial Assurances Not Warranted

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, December 4, 2017

On December 1, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice to inform the public of EPA’s decision not to issue final regulations imposing financial responsibility requirements on the hardrock mining industry.  EPA concluded that based on its interpretation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) and its analysis of the rulemaking record before it, based on its January 11, 2017 notice of proposed rulemaking, that any final regulations are not appropriate.

EPA analyzed the need for financial responsibility based on the risk of taxpayer-funded cleanups of hardrock mining facilities operating under modern management practices and modern environmental regulations.  The Agency concluded that the degree and duration of risk associated with the modern production, transportation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances by the hardrock mining industry does not present a level of risk of taxpayer-funded response actions that warrant imposition of financial responsibility requirements for this sector.

The CERCLA 108(b) rulemaking was IMA-NA’s highest regulatory priority this year.  The proposed rule had the potential to impose millions of dollars of unneeded financial responsibility requirements on individual industrial minerals facilities.  IMA-NA congratulates EPA on making the proper decision based on the statute and the rulemaking record before it.

A pre-publication version of the final action pending publication in the Federal Register is attached.


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  108(b)  CERCLA  EPA  final agency action  financial assurances  financial responsibility requirements  Superfund 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, November 27, 2017

Please join IMA staff for the final First Friday of 2017, this coming Friday, December 1st, at 1:00 EST. As we near the end of the year, there remains a substantial number of items on Congress and the Administration's to-do list. With tax reform waiting on action in the Senate and multiple regulations moving through the agencies IMA staff have substantial updates and insights we're excited to share with members. We hope you can join us!

 

Click here to register 

Tags:  first friday 

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Senate Releases FY18 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, November 21, 2017

On Monday, November 20th, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the Chairman's recommendations for the FY18 budgets for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.  The bill contains many expected recommendations including, cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and some notable differences from President Trump's proposed budget such as, maintaining FY17 funding levels for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and increasing funding for Indian Affairs. The understood desire is to restore the EPA and affiliated agencies to a more traditional understanding of the mission to clean up the environment.  Additionally, the bill leans towards funding for programs that encourage infrastructure investment and responsible land development.

Of particular note is the preservation of funding for the US Geological Survey (USGS) at FY17 levels and in fact, a slight increase in funding for the Minerals Resources programs. As a member of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition (MSIC), IMA-NA has been active in fighting for renewed investment in the important work at USGS, which has been steadily decreased for the last 30 years. We commend the Committee's decision and Senator Murkowski's particular commitment to the investment in minerals science. 

To read the press release from the Committee click here 

To read the full proposal click here

Tags:  appropriations  budget  DOI  environment  EPA  minerals science  MSIC  Senate 

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Senate Finance Committee Advances Tax Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, November 17, 2017

Yesterday evening the Senate Finance Committee approved the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code.  The Committee voted along party lines, 14-12, to forward the proposal on to the full Senate.  Approval came after four days of sometimes testy consideration, during which Republicans substantially revised the measure while voting down dozens of Democratic amendments.  Senate leaders aim to take up the bill -- which would cut both business and individual taxes while killing Obamacare's individual mandate requiring health insurance -- sometime after Thanksgiving.

The percentage depletion tax deduction remains unchanged as current law -- no repeal or modification of the current percentage depletion tax deduction is included in the Senate tax reform bill.  We will provide more information as the tax reform process evolves in Washington.  Many thanks to IMA-NA member companies for your engagement and feedback during the legislative process!


Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform 

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EPA Proposes Delay in WOTUS Implementation Pending Supreme Court Decision

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Today, Secretary Pruitt signed a proposal to further delay the effective date of the 2015 Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule for 2 years. This proposal is geared towards ensuring the 2015 WOTUS rule does not go into effect in the event the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, is that WOTUS-related legal challenges must first go through district courts rather than jumping straight to the appellate level. A decision that challenges must pass through district courts first would effectively overturn the 6th Circuit's nationwide stay.  Thirteen states would still be under a stay issued by a judge out of North Dakota, but in theory the 37 remaining states would find themselves needing to abide by the 2015 WOTUS rule. Secretary Pruitt's action ensures the EPA has time to finalize the withdrawal of the 2015 rule and the new definition of Waters of the US. The EPA is currently working on a timeline to have a final proposal for the new rule by the end of 2018, while an ambitious goal officials have reassure IMA-NA and other industry leaders that the Agency is on track. 

To read the EPA announcement and Proposal click here

Tags:  Clean Water Act  EPA  Regulations  wotus 

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Fairmount Santrol Named as One of the 2017 Top 100 Global Energy Leaders

Posted By RJ Alpers, Thursday, November 16, 2017
Thomson Reuters has announced the 2017 Top 100 Global Energy Leaders and IMA-NA is proud to announce that our member company, Fairmount Santrol, has been named to this impressive list. Since 2014, Thompson Reuters has crafted a complex framework for establishing their top 100 global energy leaders. An in-depth evaluation that incorporates 8 distinct categories: financial performance, investor confidence, innovation, legal compliance, environmental impact, social responsibility, reputation, and risk and resilience. It is it truly a holistic exploration of the energy sector and Fairmount has been named as one of the best. Furthermore, Fairmount was also named as one of the top 25 performers within the industry subsector of Oil & Gas Related Equipment and Services. Congratulations to Fairmount Santrol and their entire organization on this tremendous accomplishment!

Tags:  energy  industrial minerals industry  leadership 

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