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IMA-NA Urges Faster Confirmation of EPA Nominees

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

IMA-NA and NISA joined other industry groups in urging the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) to move forward expeditiously with the confirmations of the four EPA Assistant Administrators currently on the Committee's calendar. The Trump Administration still have a vast number of important positions within each Agency and Department that remain unfilled. While these positions remain vacant, or filled temporarily by career staff, the agencies are largely unable to move forward on important issues facing the nation. Tomorrow, October 4th, at 10am EST the EPW will be holding their hearing on the following nominees:

  • Michael Dourson, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention;
  • Matthew Leopold, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of the General Counsel;
  • David Ross, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Water; and
  • William Wehrum, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Air & Radiation.

You can watch the hearing live here

To read the industry letter urging swift confirmation of the nominees click here

Tags:  administration  Agency  confirmation  Department  EPA  hearing  nominee 

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Comments on EPA Asbestos Scoping Document

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, September 25, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments last week on EPA’s draft document, Scope of Risk Evaluation for Asbestos.  The scope document will be used in assessing the risks of asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The document will be central to EPA’s approach in conducting problem formulation, the next step in the process of the required risk evaluation for asbestos.  The IMA-NA comments stress the importance of EPA applying proper mineral science and up-to-date information whenever it addresses the generic term “asbestos.”  Significant and unnecessary confusion is inevitable if it does not.  The comments highlight instances where EPA inappropriately identified non-asbestiform mineral varieties of the six regulated forms of “asbestos” in the scope document as if they, too, were asbestos.  Specific nomenclature and analytical techniques were identified to assist EPA in making the necessary distinctions.

The comments (without the attachments), are attached below.

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Tags:  asbestos  EPA  risk assessment  scope document  TSCA 

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EPA Announces Public Meetings to Discuss the Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Following the EPA's announced proposal, in July, to withdraw the Obama Administration's "Waters of the US" (WOTUS) rule, the Agency will be working on a new proposal to define the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act. Two weeks ago, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the extension of the comment period on the proposal and then yesterday announced a series of public meetings throughout the fall to solicit stakeholder input. There will be ten public teleconferences held to solicit recommendations from different sectors for how to redefine the Waters of the US. In addition to the teleconferences there will be one in-person meeting for small entities, held in conjunction with the Small Business Administration. The mining sector meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 31 from 1-3pm EST. 

In addition to IMA-NA's ongoing work on our industry coalition and individual comments, staff will be participating in the meetings and encourages members to participate as well. 

To read more about the meetings and register click here.

 

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  EPA  Regulations  wotus 

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IMA-NA Files Comments on Nanomaterial Reporting Guidance

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Last week IMA-NA filed comments on EPA’s draft guidance for reporting chemical substances when manufactured or processed as nanoscale materials.  The guidelines ultimately adopted are intended to implement the January 12, 2017 final rule.  IMA-NA pointed out that certain industrial minerals, principally phyllosilicates, form sheets capable of meeting the reportable nanoscale material size range of 1-100 nm in at least one dimension.  IMA-NA stressed that these materials are naturally occurring and their nanoscale sheet-forming capacity is inherent in the minerals themselves.  While EPA couples the size criterion with a requirement that the material also must exhibit unique and novel properties, IMA-NA regards the latter criterion as vague and recommended that it be defined as discontinuous change in chemical reactivity, electrical or catalytic properties.

The cover letter and comments are attached.


 Attached Files:

Tags:  EPA  guidance  nano  nanoscale  reporting  TSCA 

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IMA-NA Comments on CERCLA §108(b)

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments yesterday on EPA's CERCLA §108(b) notice of proposed rulemaking.  This rulemaking would establish financial assurance requirements for Superfund liability at individual hardrock mining facilities.   These financial assurances have the potential to be extremely costly . . . as in millions of dollars per industrial minerals facility.  The IMA-NA comments are specific to the industrial minerals sector.  IMA-NA also have been participating in a coalition of other hardrock mining trade associations, as well as trade associations representing industry sectors that EPA has indicated it likely next would subject to CERCLA §108(b) financial responsibility requirements (e.g., chemicals manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing, electrical power generation, transmission and distribution).  The coalition comments also are attached for your information.

 

Both the IMA-NA and coalition comments are attached.


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 Attached Files:

Tags:  CERCLA  Comments  EPA  Regulations 

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Trump Administration Releases Budget Blueprint

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

Yesterday evening, President Trump and his Administration released their proposed budget. The budget blueprint gives a good indication of the Administration's priorities and how it sees the roles of the various federal departments and agencies. The proposal would cut substantial funding across most agencies with only the Department for Homeland Security, Defense Department, and the Department of Veteran Affairs seeing increases in their budgets. The focus on military and security is in line with the Trump Administration's messaging. Cuts range from a 1% proposed cut in NASA's funding to a 31% reduction in the EPA's budget. Of interest in IMA-NA members, the Labor Department under the Trump Administration's proposed plan would see a budget reduction of 21% and the Department of Interior would see a 12% cut. The President's proposed budget gives Congress an the country an idea of priorities of the new Administration. Congress has authority over discretionary spending, but will need to keep this proposal in mind as they work on setting a budget as President Trump will have the opportunity to either veto or sign off on the final budget. 

To read the America First budget blueprint click here.

 

Tags:  administration  budget  department of interior  EPA  Trump 

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IMA-NA Comments on EPA Risk Evaluation for “Asbestos”

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 16, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments with the U.S. EPA to help establish the scope of risk evaluations under development for ten chemical substances designated for priority risk evaluation under the recently reformed Toxic Substances Control Act, specifically relative to “asbestos.”  EPA asked the public for assistance in identifying information related to conditions of use (i.e., intended, known or reasonably foreseen uses) that would assist the Agency in identifying potential exposure scenarios (pathways, routes and populations).  “Asbestos” is a generic term, referring to certain silicate minerals of a particular chemistry and crystalline growth habit, in contrast to certain common silicate minerals with the same chemical formula but a nonasbestiform growth habit.  IMA-NA stressed adherence to good mineral science and urged EPA to focus of its risk evaluations for “asbestos” on the six regulated forms of commercial asbestos.  Evidence that EPA placed in the record to support the scope of its risk evaluations misstated that certain products contained asbestos, when they in fact contained the nonasbestiform analog.

IMA-NA’s comments are posted below.


 Attached Files:

Tags:  asbestos  EPA  nonasbestiform  risk assessment  TSCA 

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EPA Extends Comment Period for CERCLA 108(b) NPRM

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 2, 2017

EPA issued a 120-day extension of the written comment period for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish financial responsibility requirements for classes of facilities in the hardrock mining industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as “Superfund”).  Comments previously were due on or before March 13, 2017.  Comments now are due on or before July 11, 2017.  This is a significant rulemaking for the mining industry, potentially costing individual affected mining facilities millions of dollars in financial assurances.  IMA-NA will file timely written comments on the proposed rule.

To view the Federal Register notice, click here.

Tags:  CERCLA  EPA  rulemaking 

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Cabinet Confirmations Move Forward - Mulvaney & Pruitt

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, February 17, 2017

Yesterday, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC5) was sworn in as the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Senate confirmed Mulvaney by a narrow margin of 51-49, largely along party lines.  Senator John McCain was the only Republican to vote against the confirmation, a decision that was made due to Mulvaney's past opposition to budget increases for the military.  Under the leadership of a fiscal hawk, OMB will play an important role in the Trump Administration's plans to rein in overly burdensome regulations.  The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), in OMB, which conducts reviews proposed regulations and evaluates the economic impacts, is expected to fulfill its role as a check on regulatory overreach more effectively in the new Administration. The confirmation of Mick Mulvaney also allows for OMB to begin reviewing agency budget proposals, a process that has been on hold while there was not a Director in place.

The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) largely along party lines with a final vote of 52-46.  Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke with the Democratic Party and voted for Pruitt while Susan Collins of Maine voted against his confirmation.  Pruitt's confirmation is seen as a coup for the Administration and Republican Party who criticized the EPA loudly for regulatory overreach under the Obama Administration.  Pruitt has a long history of legal challenges to various EPA regulations and his confirmation has been opposed by environmentalists who view him as an enemy to the stated goals of the EPA.  For industry, Pruitt's confirmation is another signal that the regulatory environment in the United States will become substantially friendlier to business and traditional industrial developments. 

As Congress continues using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to revoke various regulations from the last year of Obama's Administration these two confirmations will be shaping the new Administration's regulatory agenda in its new direction.

Tags:  administration  cabinet  confirmation  EPA  Mulvaney  OMB  Pruitt  Regulations  Senate  Trump 

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EPA Webinar on CERCLA 108(b) Financial Assurances

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, January 30, 2017
Updated: Monday, January 30, 2017

EPA held a previously announced Webinar on its proposed rule on CERCLA (Superfund) Section 108(b) financial assurances for hardrock mining facilities.  This Webinar specifically addressed the formula EPA proposes to use to calculate the financial assurances that would be required to be posted by the covered universe of hardrock mining facilities.  That covered universe is somewhat nebulous.  While few industrial minerals operations are specifically identified in the proposed rule, the scope of the proposal could be interpreted to cover industrial minerals facilities not specifically identified.  As the cost of providing the proposed financial assurances almost certainly would total millions of dollars, it behooves industrial minerals operations to consider their potential liability if they are deemed to be part of the covered universe.  IMA-NA intends to address the issue of potential coverage of industrial minerals operations in comments due to be filed by March 13, 2017.

The EPA Webinar PowerPoint presentation can be accessed by clicking here.

The proposed formula for calculating financial assurances is attached.


Download File (XLSX)

Tags:  CERCLA  EPA  financial assurances  regulations 

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