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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 

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IMA-NA Supports New Investment in US Infrastructure

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 3, 2017

IMA-NA along with 391 other stakeholders and industries sent a letter to President Drumpf and Congress supporting the development and passage of an infrastructure investment initiative.The broad base of support includes national organizations as well as state and local groups from all 50 states. The united voice behind the letter demonstrates the far reaching support to bring the infrastructure in the United States into the 21st century. Today, Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) began the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America, by referencing the letter. 

IMA-NA supports a reinvestment in US infrastructure and commends both President Drumpf and Congress for working to prioritize initiatives to update, repair, and improve infrastructure across the country. 

To read the letter please download the attachment. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  administration  infrastructure  legislation  letter  Trump 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IMA-NA will be convening First Friday's Ask IMA this Friday, February 3rd at 1:00pm EST. Following the Inauguration on January 20th, Donald Trump's Administration is officially underway. IMA-NA staff will take the opportunity this Friday to review the legislative, regulatory, and executive actions that could impact our industry in the coming months. We'll discuss IMA-NA's upcoming actions to represent the interests of the industrial minerals industry and answer any questions participants have on recent happenings in DC.

To Register Click Here. 

Tags:  administration  first friday  legislation  member outreach  outreach  Regulations  Trump 

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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 

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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 

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Perkins Reauthorization Passes House

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This afternoon the House of Representatives passed the Perkins reauthorization, HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, with broad bipartisan support. The Perkins bill has not been reauthorized in over a decade and is an important federal investment in career and technical education across the United States.  In the current political environment or severe partisanship, it is important to note that HR 5587 passed out of the Education and Workforce Committee unanimously and today passed in the House by a vote of 405-5 (with 22 no votes). IMA-NA has worked with a broad coalition of industry and other stakeholders in support of the Perkins reauthorization and is pleased to note the continued bipartisan support for this measure. Indications seem to be that the bill will move through markup in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee next week, with the vote likely happening when Congress returns in December.

To read more about HR 5587 click here

Tags:  House  legislation  perkins reauthorization  Senate  training  workforce development 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Please join us this Friday, September 2nd for First Friday - Ask IMA at 1:00 EST.  As our last Ask IMA before our Annual Meeting, we'll be discussing numerous topics of importance some of which will also come up at the meeting. Amongst those topics we'll provide updates on the EPA's proposed rule on CERCLA 108(b), the ongoing project to update NISA's Dust Control Handbook, MSHA activities related to the proposed rulemaking on examination of working places in Metal-Non Metal mines, North American Minerals Days and Congressional engagement, our program for the Annual Meeting, and other issues IMA-NA staff has been working on this summer. Join us for an update on our activities as your association and to have any questions you may have answered.

To Register Click Here

Tags:  2016 annual meeting  education  first friday  legislation  member outreach  regulations 

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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 

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WEBINAR TODAY: The New Toxic Substances Control Act - Dealing with the Present and Looking to the Future

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Register Here for Today's Webinar

Jul 06, 2016 2:00 PM EDT 

The Toxic Substance Control Act has received a great deal of attention recently, with Congress passing the first major revision to the Act in 40 years early this summer. This summer is also important for compliance with TSCA’s existing Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) program, which requires companies that manufacture or import certain chemicals in excess of the applicable threshold to submit reports to EPA every four years. Reporting for the period from 2012-2016 is due by September 30, 2016. This Webinar will provide an overview of the CDR program with an emphasis on key factors for IMA members to consider in determining whether or not they are required to report. EPA has lowered the applicable thresholds for reporting so companies cannot simply assume they are not required to report this year because they haven’t reported in the past. The webinar will then provide an overview of the amendments to TSCA recently passed by Congress, focus on key aspects of the amendments that may impact IMA members, and highlight the opportunities to participate and shape EPA’s implementation of the amendments in the near future.

Presented by: Ben Machlis and Steven Barringer (Holland and Hart LLP)

Cost: $39/person for IMA members $69/person for non-members

* This webinar will be recorded and distributed along with all .PPTs to all registrants following the webinar

Tags:  chemicals  EPA  legislation  regulations  tsca  webinar 

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President Obama Signs TSCA Reform Into Law

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yesterday morning, June 22nd, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. The bill was a bipartisan effort that amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This legislation is the first major update to TSCA in 20 years. Updating and amending TSCA has been a priority for both the Environmental Protection Agency and industry groups for some time.

The Lautenberg Act creates a risk-based standard requiring that chemicals be safe for their intended use, as opposed to a precautionary principle-based approach. It sorts the TSCA inventory of chemicals into high-priority and low-priority chemicals, and establishes a procedure for EPA assessing those chemicals. It provides preemption of the patchwork of state chemical laws and regulations, so manufacturers have clear rules of the road. And it requires the best available science and protects manufacturers' confidential business information. The passage of the Lautenberg Act and its subsequent signing into law is a victory of the collaborative efforts from both the business community and Congress. 

 

In an effort to further educate the public on the changes to TSCA, next Thursday, June 30, 2016, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST, EPA will host a webinar to provide an overview of the new Act. This initial webinar will be informational only to help inform those unfamiliar with the new law. To log in to the webinar next week click here. You will need to sign in as a guest and for audio, please call 866-299-3188, and enter code 2025648098#.

Tags:  chemicals  law  legislation  obama  regulations  TSCA 

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