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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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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 

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IMA-NA Submits Testimony to the Record on Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, April 21, 2017

Last week, IMA-NA and other members of the Minerals Science and Information Coalition (MSIC or Coalition) submitted written testimony to the record about the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's (ENR) 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 Coalition, made up of minerals and materials interest groups, was established to push for increased investment in minerals science, particularly as it relates to federal funding for the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Minerals Information Center (NMIC) and Minerals Resources Program (MRP). Thus far in the new Congress there have been a House and Senate hearing focused on the importance of a domestic mineral supply chain. MSIC's testimony applauded the Senate ENR Committee for exploring the U.S.'s supply chain, the current pressures on domestic production, growing reliance on imports, and the importance of minerals to every aspect of modern society.  The Coalition additionally, offered support for the reintroduction of last sessions American Mineral Security Act, S.883. If the two hearings are any indication the 115th Congress is beginning to express an interest in better understanding the mining industry, which is reminder of the importance in MA-NA members telling their story. 

 If you'd like to read the testimony it is attached.  

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Capitol Hill  education  minerals science  MRP  msic  NMIC  outreach  testimony 

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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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Important Position with Minerals Resource Program Currently Vacant

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The start of 2017 will bring many changes to U.S. government, as the 115th Congress begins and the Trump Administration moves into the White House. As with any change in governance, there will be opportunities to influence the direction of our new legislators and regulators and the country. In addition to the higher profile issues IMA-NA and NISA work on, IMA-NA will continue its work on behalf of minerals science and information funding in 2017. IMA-NA will work through the Minerals Science and Information Coalition (MSIC) to restore funding for the important work  of the Mineral Resource Program (MRP) at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The MRP has a long and distinguished history of research and assessment of our nation’s mineral resources and IMA-NA maintains it is vital that we invest in understanding our domestic resources to build and maintain resilient supply chains. Congress and the Administration need to understand the contributions of minerals to the U.S. and global economy.

IMA-NA is fortunate to have a good working relationship with the USGS staff in the MRP and we are saddened to learn of the impending retirement of Larry Meinert from his role as Program Coordinator of the Mineral Resources Program in the new year.

This Program Coordinator role provides the scientific vision and leadership to the MRP and as such is an important representative for minerals science in our government. USGS is currently accepting applications to fill Larry’s position. The timeline is short, but IMA-NA would invite our members to check out the listing and circulate it to any industry friends who might be interested. 

To view the posting for non-Federal employees click here.

To view the posting for current Federal employees click here

Tags:  education  jobs  Minerals Resource Program  minerals science  MRP  msic  usgs 

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IMA-NA Joins Group Supporting Appropriations for USGS

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, April 25, 2016
Last week, as a member of the Minerals Sciences and Information Coalition (MSIC) IMA-NA signed onto a letter of support for President Obama's budgetary request for the US Geological Survey (USGS). The Coalition submitted the letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations on April 20th. In the letter, the signatory organizations applauded President Obama's request for $49 million for the USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP) and requested an additional $5 million be added specifically for the development of minerals forecasting programs. As a member of MSIC, IMA-NA works to promote the important work of USGS in cataloging, researching, and mapping our geological resources.  Additionally, due to the criticality of stable mineral supply chains MSIC continues to push for an expansion of the current programs at USGS to include forecasting abilities. IMA-NA is pleased to work with our fellow Coalition members as a voice for minerals science in DC.

Tags:  appropriations  budget  coalition  comments  legislation  minerals science  msic 

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Senate Passes Energy Policy Modernization Act

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This morning the Senate passed Senator Murkowski's Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) by a vote of 85-12.  The bill grew out of a bipartisan effort in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and addresses a wide array of energy issues including: energy efficiency standards, electric grid infrastructure, across the board energy development, and resource management funding. IMA-NA supported the bill, specifically Subtitle D. which was comprised entirely of Senator Murkowski's American Mineral Security Act of 2015 (S. 883).  Passage of S. 2012 is impressive for the scope of the issues addressed by the legislation but for the mining industry it is a step towards greater recognition of the important role minerals play in our economy and energy development.  Subtitle D. pushes for greater funding for USGS and their minerals sciences, specifically with the goal of mapping and forecasting our resources in the United States. The Senate vote this morning on a comprehensive energy bill is the first success since 2007 and the inclusion of minerals and minerals sciences is an important step forward. 

To read the bill click here. 

Tags:  energy  industrial minerals industry  legislation  minerals science  msic  Senate  USGS 

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Upcoming Webinars: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Over the next week IMA-NA would like to encourage you to participate in three webinars offering insight into various aspects of the mining industry. In addition to the two webinars IMA-NA is hosting: Friday's OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and next Wednesday's Mining & EHS - A Case Study, the Association is co-sponsoring the Minerals Sciences & Information Coalition's webinar: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials. These three webinars handle both practical topics for running your operations as well as educational topics, such as, the importance of federal investment in the U.S. Geological Survey.  Below you will find brief descriptions of each webinar as well as links to register.

 

Webinar Title: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance

Date/Time: Friday March 25, 2:00 EST

Click here to register 

OSHA’s new guidance on how to apply the Weight of Evidence approach for assessing complex scientific studies under its GHS HazCom rule is open for comment until May 2, 2016, and will impact IMA-NA members who must prepare Safety Data Sheets and warning labels for their products. The "weight of evidence" approach is intended to assist both manufacturers and employers in evaluating scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what information must be disclosed. Attorneys Adele Abrams CMSP and Brian Yellin CIH of the Law Office of Adele L Abrams PC will present the legal and technical information you need to weigh in on this important subject.  

 

Webinar Title: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 1:00 EST

Click here to register

Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials. This webinar is based on a Congressional briefing organized by AGI on behalf of the Mineral Science & Information Coalition (3 March 2016). The webinar will address the efforts being taken at the federal level to ensure a steady supply of critical minerals and materials.

 

Webinar Title: Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 2:00 EST

Click here to register

Join us for a webinar where we will feature EHS compliance best practices of a leading silica mining and manufacturing company. Gensuite will share practical insights into how your peers in the mining and related industries are addressing MSHA and OSHA requirements, driving accountability throughout the enterprise, and improving compliance performance through the use of web-based systems with a suite of fully-integrated and mobile-enabled compliance and risk management tools. Learn how companies such as U.S. Silica, PotashCorp, Ingersoll Rand, and General Electric are engaging employees at all levels of the organization in driving EHS performance improvements and operational efficiencies.

 

Tags:  Associate Member  case study  compliance  EHS  industrial minerals industry  minerals science  msic  OSHA  regulations  usgs  webinars 

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Capitol Hill Briefing Today on Critical Minerals & Materials

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, March 3, 2016

As part of IMA-NA's role on the steering committee of the Minerals Science Information Coalition (MSIC), we are sponsoring both a Senate and House Briefing entitled: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America’s Critical Minerals and Materials.  The primary goal of MSIC is to increase awareness and funding of the USGS programs and research.  USGS's research and mapping of resources is the primary source of information related to mineral stores not just for the United States, but for the world. In support MSIC's long term goals,  IMA-NA and the Coalition have supported legislation offered by Senator Murkowski this session to increase funding to USGS in order to develop a system to categorize critical minerals and work towards forecasting tools. The Briefings this afternoon begin on the House side and aim to further support USGS as well as highlight the importance of a strong supply chain of minerals. Speakers include: Lawrence D. Meinert, Program Coordinator, Mineral Resources Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Steven M. Fortier, Director, National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and Rod Eggert, Professor, Colorado School of Mines, and Deputy Director, Critical Materials Institute, Ames Laboratory.   

Please see the attached flier for more information or contact Ariel Hill-Davis to find out more about the work of the Minerals Science Information Coalition. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  briefing  education  House  legislation  minerals science  msic  outreach  Senate 

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Congress to Vote on National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The House is slated to vote on the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 1937) this week. H.R. 1937 was introduced by Representative Amodei (R-NV) as the House companion bill for Senator Murkowski's American Mineral Security Act (S. 883).  Both bills encourage greater production of strategic and critical minerals in the United States as well as providing for greater investment in minerals sciences.  IMA-NA has supported both bills since introduction, specifically for the provisions geared towards increasing minerals information programs at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as well as creating a more efficient and streamlined permitting process of mining projects. Both pieces of legislation acknowledge our reliance on minerals and the necessity to invest in long term responsible and efficient development of our natural resources.  Previously, IMA-NA submitted testimony to the Senate supporting the objectives of the American Mineral Security Act as well as signing onto the Minerals Sciences Information Coalition's (MSIC) comments.  The bill is an important step to encouraging the continued investment in our industry.  If you would like to reach out to your member an encourage their support you can click here.

To read the bill click here.

Tags:  Congress  critical minerals  industrial minerals industry  legislation  minerals science  permitting process  strategic minerals 

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