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Senate Confirms Two More Nominees

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today, the Senate voted to confirm David Zatezalo, by a vote of 52-46, as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. David Zatezalo comes to MSHA from the coal industry, having worked his way up to President and CEO of Rhino Resources before retiring in 2014. This confirmation marks an important step in continuing to full staff the new Administration. As with many of the other Departments and Agencies, the lack of an Assistant Secretary limited MSHA's ability to proactively pursue President Trump's agenda in mine safety and health. IMA-NA is looking forward to working with Assistant Secretary Zatezalo, introducing him to the world of industrial minerals, finding opportunities to promote mine safety and, strengthening the IMA-NA/MSHA Alliance.  

The confirmation of Assistant Secretary Zatezalo is the second recent confirmation. Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed William Wehrun, by a party line vote of 49-47, to be the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Wehrun is the first EPA Assistant Administrator to make it through the confirmation process. President Trump's nominees for the EPA have been more controversial due to their ties with industry and therefore have been caught up in the confirmation process.  At this point there are 5 nominees for important roles within the EPA that still need to be confirmed. 

• Susan Bodine, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
• Michael Dourson, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
• Matthew Leopold, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of General Counsel
• David Ross, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Water
• Andrew Wheeler, for EPA Deputy Administrator

IMA-NA is happy to see the Senate confirm two more important positions within the Administration and continue to urge action on the rest of the nominees.

Tags:  confirmation  Congress  EPA  MSHA  nominee 

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Welcome Back, Chris!

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

IMA-NA is pleased to announce that it has hired Christopher Greissing as Executive Vice President.  Formerly serving as Vice President for Government Affairs, Chris left IMA-NA recently for a position with another employer.  During his brief absence we succeeded in persuading him to return in his new role.  Chris will continue to have the lead on government affairs issues, but he also will be assuming additional responsibilities for the successful operation of the organization.  IMA-NA will continue to benefit from his 10+ years with the association.

IMA-NA and its member companies are indeed fortunate to have someone with Chris’ experience and expertise serving the interests of the industrial minerals industry.  Chris can be reached at chrisgreissing@ima-na.org or at (202) 457-0200 x2.  Welcome back, Chris!


Tags:  Christopher Greissing  Executive Vice President  IMA-NA 

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IMA-NA Files Comments on MSHA Examinations Proposal

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As previously reported, on September 12, 2017, MSHA proposed two changes to its final rule on Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines.  The proposed changes would:

 

  • Require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place; and

  • Require that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions.

 

IMA-NA filed comments yesterday supportive of the two proposals.  IMA-NA also used the comments as an opportunity to encourage MSHA to make further improvements in the examinations rule.  Among the improvements suggested were that MSHA should adopt an audit "safe harbor" policy (similar to OSHA's policy) so that, on historical reports, hazards that were abated would not be the basis for citations under the Mine Act, that MSHA should offer relief from recordkeeping by harmonizing its current policies on examinations records retention and that MSHA should refrain from double-dipping alleged examination violations to address alleged task training deficiencies.

 

A copy of the comments is attached.


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  examinations of working places; proposed rule; fin  MSHA 

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Percentage Depletion Deduction Preserved in Senate Tax Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, November 10, 2017

The good news is that yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee released its version of a comprehensive tax reform bill – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (no bill number yet).  The Senate Finance Committee will markup the bill beginning on Monday, November 13, at 3:00 p.m.  The Senate is expected to consider its tax reform bill on the Senate floor after Thanksgiving, starting the week of November 27.

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.  The same outcome was achieved in the House Ways and Means Committee tax reform bill, H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The House bill was considered by the House Ways and Means Committee this week and approved by the Committee yesterday on a party-line vote, 24-16.  H.R. 1 now moves to the House floor for consideration next week.     

Some other Senate bill highlights that may be of interest to you and your company:

  1. The bill lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% – down from 35%, but the Senate bill lowers the corporate rate on delay by one year whereas the House bill calls for an immediate rate decrease;
  2. The bill allows for simple and easy-to-administer deduction for pass-through businesses of all sizes;
  3. The bill includes an enhanced Section 179 expensing to promote business investment and growth, and an enhanced cash accounting, allowing more businesses to use the simple cash-basis accounting method;
  4. The bill allows businesses to immediately write-off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers (i.e., full expensing); and

      5.  The bill repeals the alternative minimum tax.

We will provide more information as the tax reform process evolves in Washington next week.  Many thanks to IMA-NA member companies for your engagement and feedback during the legislative process!

A description of the Senate tax reform bill is attached.  The Senate tax reform product is in narrative form, which is how the Senate Finance Committee marks a bill.  Legislative text is being worked on at this time and will be shared sometime next week.

 

A policy summary of the Senate tax reform bill also is attached.   


Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform legislation 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, November 9, 2017

Please join IMA-NA staff for First Friday's call tomorrow, November 10th, at 1pm EST.  There are substantial updates on both the regulatory and legislative fronts including: important information on the House and Senate tax packages, WOTUS, CERCLA 108(b), and the IMA-NA/MSHA Alliance.  As the end of the year approaches there is movement across the board on a myriad of issues impacting our industry. Please register below to get the latest news on our work in DC.

 

Click here to register

Tags:  first friday  ima-na  legislation  Regulations  tax reform legislation 

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BMC Receives Hometown Hero Award from State Assembly

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, November 9, 2017

Badger Mining Corporation (BMC) recently completed its 17th year as a company sponsor of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) annual deer gun hunt for people with disabilities.   On November 2nd it was recognized as a Hometown Hero by the Wisconsin State Assembly for its continued support of the hunting program. Nominated for the award by Representative Joan Ballweg, the Hometown Hero program “seeks to identify and recognize individuals from around the state who give of themselves to make a difference in our communities and in the lives of those around them.”

 

BMC accommodated 16 hunters this year, 12 of which were new and 4 that were returning. The hunters ranged in age from 17 to 70 years old, and came from every corner of the state of Wisconsin to participate. For many of the hunters, getting out into the woods and fields to experience a deer hunt, whether it was the first time or returning after many years away, is an opportunity that truly resonates with them. While many of the hunters are grateful for the chance to hunt again, the BMC associates that volunteer their time to help guide these hunters receive much from the experience as well. As one first-time BMC guide said after helping, “Thank you for allowing me to help with the hunters. It has truly been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!”

 

To view the BMC press release, click here.

 

Tags:  Badger Mining Corporation 

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2 Key GOP Representatives to Depart from Their Districts in 2018

Posted By RJ Alpers, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that Representative Frank LoBiondo(R-NJ-02), a senior Republican from New  Jersey will be retiring from Congress in 2018 and not seeking reelection. This is of political significance to IMA and its membership because Rep. LoBiondo, a moderate Republican, has long been a supporter of the mining and industrial minerals industry. Furthermore, Rep. LoBiondo has strong labor ties and has several members’ mines within his district. With his decision to retire, political experts predict that this will open a battleground for the second district in southern New Jersey that LoBiondo has held since 1994.

In other political news, Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ-02) announced that she will be running for the Arizona Senate seat to be left vacant after Senator Jeff Flake’s retirement next year. Rep. McSally’s second district also contains members’ mines. We encourage all membership to stay up to date on local political developments as they may impact the political environment in your district. IMA will continue to provide updates to any political developments concerning our members.

Tags:  GOP  government  IMA-NA 

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Percentage Depletion Deduction Preserved in House Tax Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, November 2, 2017

The good news is today the House Ways and Means Committee released its tax bill – H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The bill is the House version of comprehensive tax reform.  The House Ways and Means Committee will markup the bill beginning on Monday, November 6, at 12:00 p.m.

The great news is that 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 House bill.  This is but one of the many steps in the ongoing tax reform legislative process, but it is a great first step.         

Some other House bill highlights that may be of interest to you and your company:

  1. The bill lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% – down from 35%;
  2. The bill reduces the tax rate on the business income of Main Street job creators to no more than 25%;
  3. The bill establishes strong safeguards to distinguish between individual wage income and “pass-through” business income;
  4. The bill allows businesses to immediately write-off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers (i.e., full expensing); and
  5. The bill repeals the alternative minimum tax.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to release its version of tax reform legislation sometime next week.

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!

A copy of H.R. 1 is attached.

A section-by-section summary of H.R. 1 also is attached.   

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  H.R. 1  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform legislation 

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First Friday Ask IMA - Rescheduled

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, November 2, 2017

IMA-NA staff has rescheduled November's First Friday Ask IMA to Friday November 10th at 1pm EST. We are excited to update members on numerous regulatory and legislative developments including: the newly released House tax reform package, WOTUS, the IMA-NA/MSHA Alliance meeting, confirmation movement, and other things.  Please register below and be on the look out for more detailed news related to our lobbying efforts on tax reform. 

Click here to register. 

Tags:  first friday 

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Scott Mugno to Head OSHA

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Last week President Trump announced his intention to nominate Scott Mugno to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.  According to the White House announcement, Mr. Mugno currently is Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground.  He previously was Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection.  His responsibilities in both of these positions included developing, promoting and facilitating the safety program and culture.  An attorney, Mr. Mugno previously served as Division Counsel at Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Waste Isolation Division and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Eastern Region U.S. Army Military Traffic Management Command.  Mr. Mugno is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law and St. John’s University.

To view the White House announcement click here.


Tags:  OSHA  White House 

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