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President Trump Releases FY19 Budget Proposal & Congress Passes 2-Year Budget

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, February 12, 2018

This morning President Trump released his Administration's budget proposal for FY19. The Administration's budget comes on the heels of the passage of Congress's 2-year budget package. President Trump signed the deal into law Friday morning following it's passage late Thursday night. Congress's package raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and includes nearly $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Of the $300 billion, roughly $165 would go to the Pentagon with $131 billion earmarked for non-defense programs. 

President Trump's budget lays out plans for a $3.6 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years while simultaneously directing more funding to the Department of Defense. In many ways the FY19 budget proposal is similar to the FY18 proposal. It is interesting to note the Administration is pushing a focus on infrastructure across it's budget proposal, most likely as a way to sync the budget requests up with the infrastructure package. Below are some specific points of interest from the proposal, as each Department holds listening sessions IMA-NA staff will keep you updated on aspects of importance.

EPA

  • The Administration is asking for a further reduction of 34% in funding for the EPA. This would cap the Agency's budget at $5.4 billion for FY19. 
  • There is an emphasis on water infrastructure programs, to provide clean drinking water and provide necessary updates on wastewater infrastructure.
  • There is an increased focus on cooperative federalism as a way to improve EPA's enforcement efforts. This also includes a return to the EPA's core mission, and the continued defunding of "lower priority programs". 

Department of Commerce

  • The Administration is asking for $9.8 billion for the DOC, which would be an increase of 6% over FY17 enacted funding.
  • There is increased funding for the International Trade Administration to "allow ITA to conduct robust investigations into alleged trade violations, aggressively advocate for U.S. businesses facing tariff and non-tariff barriers abroad, and increase the capacity to closely review proposed foreign investments in U.S. businesses."
  • DOC's focus will continue to be promoting free and fair trade which has been a cornerstone of President Trump's vision for the country. 

Department of Labor

  • The Administration is asking for $9.4 billion for DOL, a $2.6 billion or 21-percent decrease from the 2017 enacted level.
  • The President is asking for a budget of $376 for MSHA in FY19. The number is consistent with the FY18 request from the Administration.
  • There is a renewed focus on using DOL funding to help move the needle on workforce development. There is $200 million flagged for increasing apprenticeship programs, language to reform Job Corps, and simplify and consolidate existing federal workforce development programs. 

Department of Interior

  • The Administration is requesting $11.3 billion for DOI, which is a $2.2 billion or 16-percent decrease from the 2017 enacted level.
  • The DOI will continue to focus on the President's call for Energy Dominance, working to manage development of public lands, increase revenues, and streamlining permits.
  • There is a focus on infrastructure in this request, noting that DOI manages an infrastructure portfolio valued at over $300 billion and much of it is in need of maintenance and investment.
  • Secretary Zinke gained the President's support to massively reorganize the Department. The budget asks for $18 million to fund the internal restructuring of DOI.
  • Funding for USGS is being cut by approximately $218 million overall, but the Administration asked for an increase of $11.5 million for the Minerals and Energy Resources Program.

To look at the President's Budget Proposal click here

Tags:  administration  budget  commerce  department of interior  EPA  msha  usgs 

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House Oversight Hearing of MSHA

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on “Reviewing the Policies and Priorities of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).”  The sole witness was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health David G. Zatezalo.  Subcommittee Chairman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) stressed that mine safety remains a priority of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, highlighting an interest in examining the regulatory agenda of MSHA and how MSHA intends to work with industry stakeholders to promote policies and practices that protect mine workers and encourage economic growth.  His opening remarks can be accessed through this link.  Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA) observed that this was the first hearing the subcommittee has held on MSHA in approximately 2½ years.  He highlighted a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association identifying a high incidence of progressive massive fibrosis in patients in Black Lung clinics in southern West Virginia, a theme taken up by other subcommittee Democrats.  During his testimony, Assistant Secretary Zatezalo discussed the current state of workplace safety within the mining industry, and how MSHA can strengthen American mining and ensure worker safety.  He highlighted a personal interest in addressing recent fatalities associated with powered haulage equipment.  His written testimony can be accessed through this link.


Tags:  Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo  House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections  MSHA 

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IMA-NA Comments on MSHA Diesel RFI

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Yesterday IMA-NA filed comments on MSHA’s Request for Information on Exposure to Diesel Exhaust of Underground Miners (RFI).  The comments have their basis in the responses IMA-NA has filed to date on the RFI, but primarily address the work of the NIOSH-MSHA Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership (Partnership) and its meeting on September 19, 2017.  The comments address the fact that the RFI and the Partnership began under the Obama Administration and are proceeding under the Trump Administration.  They seek to reflect an ongoing, proactive IMA-NA commitment to reducing diesel emissions exposures and to the Partnership process.  Background information on the Partnership can be accessed through the following link:  https://www.msha.gov/regulations/rulemaking/diesel-exhaust-health-effects-partnership.

 

In the Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda MSHA did not indicate that it intended to extend the comment period on the RFI beyond the end of the current comment period on January 9.  The IMA-NA comments request that the RFI comment period be kept open for public comment indefinitely or, if need be, extended to at least January 9, 2019, contemplating subsequent extensions as warranted.  The principal reason for doing so is to allow continued commentary on the work of the Partnership in what may, or may not, ultimately be a rulemaking record.

 

The comments on MSHA’s RFI on Exposure to Diesel Exhaust in Underground Miners are attached.


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  diesel  health effects  MSHA  NIOSH  Partnership 

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IMA-NA Recommends Regs for Repeal, Replacement or Modification

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, December 15, 2017

In response to a request by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), IMA-NA has offered recommendations on regulations to repeal, replace or modify pursuant to President Trump’s Executive Order (E.O.) 13777, issued on February 24, 2017.  IMA-NA’s cover letter and its preliminary input are attached.


Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  EO 13777  MSHA  regulations 

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Trump Administration Unveils S&H Agenda for 2018

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, December 15, 2017

Yesterday the Trump administration released the Fall 2017 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Regulatory Agenda or Agenda).  The current Regulatory Agenda builds on regulatory/deregulatory actions taken by the Trump Administration in July 2017.  It contains a completely revised portal page (https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain) which provides highlights of overall changes the Trump Administration is pursuing in the regulatory space.  The Agenda also contains an introduction to the Fall 2017 Regulatory Plan by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  OIRA is the White House clearinghouse for agency regulatory actions.  The three-page document highlights the Trump Administration's approach to Executive Branch implementation of law through the regulatory process (https://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/eAgenda/StaticContent/201710/VPStatement.pdf).

Executive Order 12866 requires the semiannual publication of an agenda of regulations that contains a listing of all the regulations the Department of Labor expects to have under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review during the coming one-year period.  MSHA has five initiatives it intends to have under active consideration in the coming year.  MSHA is expected to continue to hold the rulemaking record open on its Request for Information on exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust through a regulatory action taken in January 2018.  MSHA is expected to issue a first-ever Request for Information on its existing petitions for modification process.  That action is slated for April 2018.  The Final Rule on Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines will take effect on June 2, 2018.

Another part of the Agenda identifies regulatory initiatives that are long-term initiatives.  Notably, MSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica regulatory initiative is listed as "Next Action Undetermined," as is the case for Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines. 


Tags:  MSHA  OSHA  regulations  regulatory agenda 

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Happy National Miners Day!

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy National Miners Day! Since its designation by Congress, in 2009, December 6th is a day for the United States to recognize the nearly 300,000 men and women working in the mining industry. IMA-NA is proud to represent the companies and hard working individuals who make up a big piece of the industrial minerals sector. As we all know, industrial minerals are the building blocks of our modern lifestyles. Without the men and women developing and producing industrial minerals, coal, and metals life would look substantially different. We hope that today everyone takes a minute to thank and recognize the tremendous miners we all rely so much on. Remember, if you can't grow it, you have to mine it!

To read Secretary Acosta's statement click here.

To read Assistant Secretary Zatezalo's statement click here

Tags:  miners  msha  national miners day 

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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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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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Comments on MSHA Examinations Proposal

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, September 25, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments last week on MSHA’s proposed rule to delay the effective date of its final rule on the examination of working places in metal and nonmetal mines.  Through the proposed rule, MSHA proposes to delay the effective date of its final rule from October 2, 2017, to March 2, 2018.  The extension of time would offer additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.  Other activities MSHA has committed to undertake include holding informational meetings around the country prior to enforcing the final rule, conducting compliance assistance visits at metal and nonmetal mines, addressing issues raised by stakeholders during quarterly training calls, stakeholder meetings and compliance assistance visits, training its inspectors to help assure consistency in MSHA enforcement, and developing training materials to assist miners and mine operators in effectively implementing the final rule.  IMA-NA supported the delay of the effective date and further supported additional delay of the effective date should such be required for MSHA to achieve its stated goals.

The comments are attached below.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  examinations of working places; MSHA; proposed rul  MSHA 

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David Zatezalo Nominated to Head MSHA

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On Saturday, President Trump nominated David G. Zatezalo of West Virginia to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.  Prior to his retirement as Chairman of Rhino Resources GP, LLC in late 2014, he had served as President and CEO, and was previously Chief Operating Officer of Rhino as well as President of Hopedale Mining, LLC.  Mr. Zatezalo began his mining career in 1974 with Consolidation Coal Company as a UMWA laborer, became a foreman and subsequently General Superintendent for Southern Ohio Coal Company and General Manager of AEP’s Windsor Coal Company.  He later rose to be Vice-President of Operations of AEP’s Appalachian Mining Operations.  Mr. Zatezalo also worked in Australia for Broken Hill Proprietary, Ltd as a General Mine Manager.  Mr. Zatezalo is a Mining Engineering graduate from West Virginia University where he received the 1977 West Virginia University Student Foundation Merit Award.  He became a Professional Engineer and received an award for high grade on the mining exam in 1981.  He also completed the Masters of Business Administration program at Ohio University in 1994.

IMA-NA looks forward to working with Mr. Zatezalo upon his confirmation and swearing-in.

News on Mr. Zatezalo’s nomination can be accessed by clicking here.


Tags:  David Zatezalo  mine safety  MSHA 

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