Print Page   |   Contact Us
@IMA-NA
Blog Home All Blogs

Zatezalo Nomination Advances

Posted By RJ Alpers, Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yesterday the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions favorably reported the nomination of David Zatezalo to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.  The favorable vote occurred along party-line votes, 12-11.  The nomination next will be scheduled for consideration by the full Senate. IMA-NA will continue to provide updates in this nomination process.

Tags:  Congress  MSHA Alliance  safety and health 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

IMA-NA Signs Letter of Support for Funding USGS Library

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Last week IMA-NA signed onto a letter along with other industry groups and geoscience organizations asking Congress to maintain FY17's funding level, of $5.8 million, for the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Library.  The Library is one of the world’s largest and most important Earth and natural resources libraries and provides an estimated return of over $7 to every $1 invested. The $45 million annual value is calculated according to what it would cost to reproduce the Library's information and services in the open market. The President's FY18 budget request includes a $3 million reduction in funding for the USGS Library. This substantial cut would result in the closure of 3, and potentially all 4, of the library locations and the elimination of 75% of the library employees. Additionally, the collections would also be placed in a dark archive. These cuts would effectively prohibit the general public, as well as the majority of USGS staff, from accessing the information of the USGS Library and prevent further financial return on the science housed in the library.

IMA-NA signed onto a letter urging Congress to continue funding the library at previous levels. As Chair of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition, IMA-NA feels there is substantial value in the geoscience contained in the USGS Library. An investment in the science that underpins the mining industry, is an investment in the mining industry's future in the United States. The USGS Library is a good example of a program that provides a substantial return on a, relatively small, investment in US geoscience. 

You'll find the letter attached below.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  administration  budget  Congress  legislation  letter  minerals science  msic  usgs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Senate Committee Advances Four More Presidential Nominees

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Today the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened to consider advancing four more nominees for roles in the Administration. The four nominees up for consideration by the Committee were: David Bernhardt to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Dan Brouillette to be Deputy Secretary of Energy, and Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to be Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). As has been reported on extensively, the Administration has hundreds of positions to fill within its various departments and agencies. Unfortunately, until these positions are filled federal agencies remain largely incapable of acting on their mission areas due to being understaffed. FERC stands out, as IMA-NA has noted, as an agency in dire need of staffing; however most of the Departments are equally hamstrung without appointed Deputy Secretaries. Chairwoman Murkowski herself is, reportedly, displeased with the pace of confirmation votes, as these nominees increased the number cleared through the Committee during this session to 6. 

Fortunately, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources moved the four nominees one step closer to confirmation by reporting all of them out of Committee favorably. Only David Bernhardt passed through the Committee without strong bipartisan votes. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) were the only non-Republicans to approve Bernhardt's nomination leading to a vote count of 14-9. Democrats on the Committee withheld support based on his recent career as a lobbyist, working on behalf of energy and mining firms, including oil and gas companies. Environmentalists raised concerns that Bernhardt could use a position as Deputy Secretary of the Interior to enrich his former clients. 

IMA-NA is pleased to see the Senate moving the confirmation process forward and commend the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for approving four qualified nominees for positions of great importance to our federal government. 

Tags:  appointee  confirmation  Congress  department of interior  FERC  legislation  nominee  Senate 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

House Education and Workforce Committee Passes Career & Technical Education Bill

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This morning, the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (HR 2353) with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill reauthorizes and updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act), which provides federal support to state and local career and technical education programs. HR 2353 is nearly identical to legislation passed by the full House during the 114th Congress, HR 5587. During the Committee markup of the bill, both Republican and Democrat alike focused on the need to provide for educational resources to provide individuals opportunities outside the 4 year bacalaureat programs. Almost every Committee member cited the growing skills gap, the existence of high paying jobs in traditional industries, and greater individual choice as incentives to reauthorize and update the Perkins Act. Additionally, the Committee sees this legislation as a step forward in providing for programs built through stakeholder collaboration that are reactive to the needs of industry in the United States. HR 2353 will need to pass the full House before moving to the Senate, as of now a vote is expected some time in June.

As with years past, IMA-NA signed onto a letter supporting the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. The letter has a broad array of signatories that demonstrate the scope of this legislation.  The letter is attached below.

To read the opening statements click here

 Attached Files:

Tags:  115th Congress  bipartisan  committee on education and workforce  Congress  education  legislation  perkins reauthorization 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on US Dependence on Foreign Minerals

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing “To Examine the United States’ Increasing Dependence on Foreign Sources of Minerals and Opportunities to Rebuild and Improve the Supply Chain in the United States”. The Hearing featured testimony from a variety of experts who were able to provide insight into both the importance of cultivating a domestic supply chain for minerals and the current impediments to investment in mining in the United States. The list of witnesses was as follows:

·       Dr. Murray Hitzman, Associate Director, Energy and Minerals, The U.S. Geological Survey (testimony)

·       Mr. Alf Barrios, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Aluminum (testimony)

·       Dr. Chris Hinde, Director of Reports, Metals and Mining, S&P Global Market Intelligence (testimony)

·       Mr. Randy MacGillivray, Vice President, Project Development, Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (testimony)

·       Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN (Retired), President and Chief Executive Officer, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) (testimony)

·       Dr. Roderick G. Eggert, Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation Chair in Mineral Economics Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines (testimony)

 

Chairwoman Murkowski (R-AK) continues to be a champion for mineral development and investment in the United States. Her opening statement as well as her questions demonstrated her knowledge of the role minerals play in the global and domestic economy and the reliance every sector has on accessible and affordable minerals. In addition to the predictably supportive Republican Senators, the Democrat Senators in attendance all also appeared to understand the importance of the mining industry and the responsible development of domestic resources. During the Q&A portion of the hearing the Senators asked questions on a variety of issues that impact IMA-NA members. Please see the synopses below on questions of particular interest.

 

·       Permitting: Multiple Senators asked for insight on how the permitting process impacts US development of mineral resources. The consistent message from the panel was that the permitting process in the United States needs takes substantially longer than Canada and Australia, two countries with comparable standards, and that the process can be improved by eliminating duplicative components, syncing up different agencies’ requirements to work on things simultaneously, setting actualized deadlines, and providing certainty in the long term requirements.

·       CERCLA: Senator Lee (R-UT) asked whether CERCLA 108(b) would have a negative impact on the mining industry. Mr. Barrios answered that the rule would disincentivize investment in new mining projects in the United States. Additionally, Barrios noted that the bonding requirements are duplicative as companies already carry bonding under other programs to cover the clean up of contaminated sites.

·       Education: The Committee had questions related to both the education of the general public, Congress, and the Administration about the industry and the state of the mining engineering pipeline at mining schools. These questions reflect conversations IMA-NA members and staff continue on the best way to increase awareness of our industry in a positive light. In addition, the focus on encouraging the next generation of mining professionals also mirrors current IMA-NA outreach and program development.

·       Minerals Science: Senator Murkowski took some time to comment on her belief in funding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide the US with the most complete information possible on the resources available. She specifically focused on the need to create a complete map of the minerals of United States, as only 1/3 of the country is currently mapped.

·       Transportation: Senator Stabenow (D-MI) asked a question about the role access to reasonable transportation for mined products has in promoting domestic production of minerals. The panel all related that transportation costs made up a large part of operating budgets and certainly could negatively impact domestic production.

·       Soda Ash: Senator Barrasso (R-WY) asked a question about how minerals, such as Soda Ash, can remain competitive in a global market when US producers face both higher transportation costs and regulatory burdens, and are not subsidized in the way China subsidizes mining. Dr. Hitzman highlighted the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure, favorable tax codes, and consistent interpretation of laws and regulations.

 

The hearing gave a good indication of how the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee views the role of the mining industry in our economy and our national defense. Chairwoman Murkowski acknowledged plans to reintroduce her legislation S. 883, American Mineral Security Act of 2015, from last session as a way to further raise the importance of minerals to our national and economic well-being. Overall, the hearing provided the industry the opportunity to highlight the challenges of operating in the United States as well as the positive contributions the industry makes to society. 

To read Chairwoman Murkowski's opening statement click here.

To watch the recording of the hearing click here. 

Tags:  Barrasso  CERCLA  Congress  Energy and Natural Resources  ENR  hearing  industrial minerals industry  legislation  Legislators  minerals science  Murkowski  Senate  soda ash  usgs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

House Passes Bills to Expand Congressional Oversight of Regulatory Actions

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, January 6, 2017

This week the U.S. House of Representatives took their the first actions in the 115th Congress to address the regulatory agenda of the past 8 years. The House voted on and passed both the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act or H.R.26) almost completely along party lines. When taken together H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 allow Congress greater influence and oversight over both the last regulations to come out of the Obama Administration and future proposed regulations. Over the last 8 years, the Republican Caucus has consistently criticized and challenged the regulatory overreach promulgated under the Obama Administration; passage of H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 were in line with the start of this new congressional session. 

The Midnight Rules Relief Act will amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval, if it passes the Senate. The CRA would apply to regulations put forward for review within the last 60 legislative days of the 114th Congressional Session. Opponents of the bill argue that it will result in the overturning of regulations without considering the merits of individual regulations, while sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) sees the action as streamlining the process of the CRA.

The REINS Act, true to its name, aims to curb the ability of agencies to promulgate unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations without Congress's sign off. Should the REINS Act pass the Senate and be signed into law, It would require Congressional approval of regulations, with an impact of $100 million or more on the economy, for them to take effect. 

These two bills would provide either more necessary oversight over the regulatory agencies or eat into the autonomy and power of the executive branch, depending on one's view of the jurisdictional limitations of the different branches of government. 

To read the Midnight Rules Relief Act click here.

To read the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 click here. 

Tags:  115th Congress  administration  Congress  GOP  House  legislation  overregulation  regulations  regulators  REINS 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

First Friday Ask IMA - Post Election Update TODAY

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 2, 2016

With the election finally over, DC is preparing for the start of a new Administration and Congressional Session in January. Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, meaning there will be tremendous opportunity to enact their policy agenda. Please join IMA-NA staff today, December 2nd at 1:00pm EST to hear insights on how the Trump Administration's Cabinet choices could impact our industry, what the House and Senate are likely to focus on in the coming year, and how to get involved in shaping upcoming tax reform and the other issues important to the industrial minerals industry.

 

Click here to Register.

Tags:  administration  Congress  first friday  legislation  Legislators  politics  president  Regulations 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Workforce Development Bill Passes Out of Committee

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, July 7, 2016

Today the House Committee on Education and Workforce unanimously passed H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, out of Committee. The bill reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, an important law that hadn't been updated in over a decade.  The bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA)  is a reinvestment in workforce development in the United States. H.R. 5587 will allow for continued federal support for state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs but importantly improves upon the original legislation in the following ways:

• Aligns CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;
• Supports effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;
• Increases student participation in work-based learning opportunities; and
• Promotes the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials.

As we face an approaching skilled workforce gap, legislation like H.R. 5587 supports educational programs that will make it easier for new workers to enter the workforce prepared and able to step into various roles. IMA-NA has supported reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for several years and applaud the Committee on working together to produce bipartisan legislation that invests in our workforce. As such, along with other business leaders and trade associations, IMA-NA signed onto a letter to Committee Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott  expressing support for H.R. 5587 and urging rapid movement on the legislation. The letter is attached below. 

To read the bill click here.

To read the Committee press release click here. 

Download File (DOCX)

Tags:  committee on education and workforce  Congress  legislation  training  workforce development 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Senate to Vote on Waters of the U.S. Bill - Update

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, November 2, 2015

Tomorrow, November 3rd, the Senate is set to take up the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140) a bill aimed at forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to go back to the drawing board on the "waters of the U.S." rule, which was finalized in May.  The EPA and Corps have faced significant opposition to their updated definition of "waters of the U.S." since the agencies issued proposed guidance back in 2011.  S.1140 adds to the momentum of opposition following the recent court decisions to stay the implementation of the rule, by requiring EPA and the Corps to more clearly outline the science and analyses underlying the rule. Opponents, IMA-NA and other industry associations included, see the rule as a unjustifiable jurisdictional land grab that will effectively give the EPA the authority to regulate most of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA). There are questions about both the process and science the EPA used in order to draft the rule.  S.1140 would force the EPA to revisit the rule and either provide the support for the regulation or alter it in order to reflect the actual parameters of the CWA. The bill was introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and has supporters on both sides of the aisle.

This bill is the companion bill to H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which passed the House in May. As of now, the bill has 46 cosponsors and it needs 60 votes to clear the Senate. 

To read the bill click here

If you are interested in urging your Senator to support S.1140, click here to find their office contact information. 

**Update** - The Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed for passage of S. 1140.  IMA-NA, along with other members of the Water Advocacy Coalition (WAC), signed onto a letter expressing disapproval to Senators King, Nelson, Kaine, Warner, Feinstein, Schatz, Coons, Carper, Tester, Bennet and Klobuchar for voting against S. 1140 while simultaneously expressing concerns over the scope of WOTUS.  

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  Congress  EPA  legislation  Regulations  wotus 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

House Republicans Nominate Paul Ryan for Speakership

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Five weeks after Representative John Boehner (R-OH-8) announced his resignation from Congress and Speaker of the House, the House Republicans have nominated Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) to take the gavel.  The nomination also comes three weeks after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) surprisingly announced he would not seek the Speakership.  The protracted nature of the nomination process of a new Speaker has highlighted the somewhat fractious nature of the current class of House Republicans. After multiple closed door meetings, last week the ultra conservative branch of the party known as the Freedom Caucus agreed to endorse Rep. Ryan, clearing the way for him to step into the Speakership. It's important to note that Ryan accepted the nomination only after setting terms to curb the influence by groups like the Freedom Caucus on his ability to perform the role of Speaker. 

Today, after another closed door meeting it was announced the House GOP officially nominated Rep. Ryan.  He won the support of 200 of the 247 GOP conference.  Interestingly the nomination fell on the same day as the House vote on the 2 year fiscal plan that would increase government spending by $80 billion through September 2017 and raise the federal debt limit. The deal was negotiated by Boehner and is considered largely undesirable by the House conservatives. Ryan has already gone on the record as supporting the plan despite acknowledging it includes  “some good, some bad, and some ugly".  Voting in favor of the measure puts Ryan out of step with conservatives, but should not impede his ascendency to Speaker of the House. 

 

Tags:  Boehner  Congress  fiscal  House  legislation  Paul Ryan  Ryan  speaker of the house 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 3
1  |  2  |  3
Legal