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Final BLM Plans on Greater Sage Grouse

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, March 15, 2019

Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released final Resource Management Plans for Greater Sage Grouse in seven Western states.  The records of decision are based on six environmental impact statements and amended resource management plans the Department of the Interior has been working on since 2017.  “Months of close coordination and cooperation with state governments in Wyoming, Nevada, California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado has gone into the development of today’s decision,” acting Interior Secretary David Berhardt said in a statement.  “The plans adopted today show that listening to and working with our neighbors at the state and local levels of government is the key to long-term conservation and to ensuring the viability of local communities across the West.”  That view was echoed by governors of several of the affected states in the BLM press release.

IMA-NA welcomes the decisions taken as they generally are in line with the extensive comments IMA-NA and allied mining associations filed on the Greater Sage Grouse during the Trump and Obama administrations.

The BLM press release can be accessed through the following link:

The  records of decision are attached.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Greater Sage Grouse; Resource Management Plan; Bur 

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IMA-NA Comments on EPA's National Compliance Initiatives

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, March 12, 2019

On Monday, March 11th, the Industrial Minerals Association - North America (IMA-NA) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed National Compliance Initiatives for FY20-23 (NCI). In August the EPA signaled a shift in the Agency's approach to protecting our nation's air, land, and water by changing the "National Enforcement Initiatives" to the "National Compliance Initiatives". The change to compliance from enforcement is meant to improve environmental outcomes by utilizing all the various tools and resources available to attain compliance, rather than relying on punitive enforcement measures to act as deterrents to non-compliance. This shift will make several important changes to how environmental regulations are enacted, in the Agency's own words:

"In the transition from NEIs to NCIs, EPA has made these important adjustments: (1) modifying our selection criteria for the FY2020–2023 NCI cycle to better align with Agency Strategic Plan measures and priorities; (2) engaging more fully with states and tribes in the selection and development of the initiatives; (3) enhancing EPA’s use of the full range of compliance assurance tools in an NCI; and (4) extending the priorities cycle from three to four years (FY2020–2023) to better to align with the Agency’s National Program Guide cycle."

In addition to expressing support for the shift in focus from enforcement to compliance as a way for all stakeholders to work collaboratively towards better outcomes, IMA-NA focused our comments on the request for feedback on Transitioning “Keeping Industrial Pollutants Out of the Nation's Waters” NCI to “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) Reduction”. The Association supports the initiative to reduce non-compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. It is the Association's belief that using NPDES permits as the base rather than the term "Industrial Pollutants" allows the EPA to address discharges from all activities that could impact our nation's waters. Reducing rates of non-compliance will greatly improve environmental stewardship across the board. IMA-NA looks forward to collaborating with EPA towards our shared goal of decreasing negative environmental outcomes across all industries. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  compliance  EPA  npdes  permits  Regulations  waters 

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Legislation Introduced Would Eliminate Percentage Depletion Allowance for Certain Hardrock Mines

Posted By Chris Greissing, Monday, March 11, 2019

Late last week Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced S. 714, the “Elimination of Double Subsidies for the Hardrock Mining Industry Act of 2019.”  It would apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.  The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.  A copy of the legislation and of Sen. Shaheen’s press release is attached for further information.

The goal of this bill is to eliminate the percentage depletion allowance for mine's that operate under the General Mining Law of 1872.  IMA-NA fought successfully to preserve the percentage depletion allowance in 2017’s tax reform legislation. We have seen though with this bill's introduction and other discussions, that the percentage depletion allowance is at risk.  It will be an IMA-NA 2019 legislative priority to preserve it.  IMA-NA is working with the coalition of allied interests we worked with in 2017 to preserve the percentage depletion allowance, at this point meeting with key Senators, Representatives and their staffs.  We have pressed them on the importance of the General Mining Law to our members that operate under that law’s purview, as well as the importance of the percentage depletion allowance and the need to retain it in order for our companies to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

 Attached Files:

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IMA-NA Statement on the Publication of WOTUS in the Federal Register

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Washington, DC—Today, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) released the following statement after publication of the new definition for the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in the Federal Register. The publication of the new rule in the Federal Register officially begins the 60-day comment period that will conclude on April 15, 2019.


“Now that the proposed definition of the Waters of the United States has been officially published, IMA-NA is looking forward to providing meaningful comments,” said Vice President Ariel Hill-Davis. “This is an important opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback on the direction the EPA and Corps have chosen to take in defining WOTUS in accordance with cooperative federalism. We remain committed to working with the Administration to ensure the final definition provides long lasting clarity on the scope of federal jurisdiction according to the intentions of the Clean Water Act.”


As we said in our statement on publication, “IMA-NA looks forward to our continued partnership in the important work of preserving our water quality through responsible stewardship and practical regulation.” Furthermore, we encourage all supporters of clean water and clear rules to participate in the public comment period by submitting comments to the record.


IMA-NA is a non-profit trade organization representing industrial minerals producers throughout North America.  IMA-NA represents a diverse set of member companies engaged in mining and processing of ball clay, barite, bentonite, borates, calcium carbonate, diatomite, feldspar, industrial sand, kaolin, soda ash, talc, and wollastonite.

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Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  Clean Water Act  EPA  Regulations  wotus 

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House Dems Introduce OSHA Reform Legislation

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, February 11, 2019

Last week Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced H.R. 1074, the Protecting American Workers Act.  The bill would amend the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act by covering additional workers and bolstering protections for whistleblowers, while also enhancing penalties.  The bill has 27 original co-sponsors, including Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) first introduced a version of the bill in 2004 and other Democrats have introduced various versions since then.  Rep. Courtney reintroduced similar bills in 2015 and 2017.

According to the press release issued by Rep. Courtney’s office, the bill would do the following:

  • Expand OSHA coverage to state and local government employees in 25 states and broaden OSHA coverage to include federal employees;

  • Require correction of hazardous conditions while a citation is being contested;

  • Reinstate an employer’s obligation to maintain accurate records and reverse a Congressional Review Act resolution;

  • Improve whistleblower protections;

  • Update obsolete consensus standards;

  • Deter high gravity violations by increasing civil monetary penalties;

  • Authorize felony penalties against employers who knowingly commit OSHA violations;

  • Require OSHA to investigate all cases of death or serious injuries;

  • Establish rights for families of workers who were killed on the job; and

  • Improve protections for workers in state plan states.

The full press release can be accessed through the following link:

A PDF version of H.R. 1074 (without bill number) is attached.

 Attached Files:
HR 1074.pdf (155.17 KB)

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IMA-NA Comments on Canadian Draft Risk Assessment of Talc

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IMA-NA filed comments today on a Draft Screening Assessment Report (DSAR) and draft Risk Management (RM) Scope proposed on December 8, 2018, by the Government of Canada, specifically Health Canada (HC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).  The comments come at the close of a 60-day comment period.  In their draft evaluations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), HC and ECCC proposed that talc may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger to human life or health in Canada.  The DSAR found that ecological risks presented by talc were low, but concluded talc may be harmful to human health, citing risks of lung damage and ovarian cancer from inhalation and perineal use, respectively.  IMA-NA challenged these proposed findings, advancing powerful arguments and persuasive evidence.  IMA-NA also challenged the communications campaign HC engaged in upon release of the DSAR and RM Scope, arguing that any such campaign only should have been undertaken following a final adverse determination made on the weight of scientific evidence available and considered, not on a draft determination.  While critical of the scientific and process deficiencies underlying the DSAR and RM Scope, IMA-NA’s comments demonstrated that a properly conducted evaluation would lead to a conclusion that talc is not toxic under CEPA.  IMA-NA looks forward to further opportunities for stakeholder engagement with HC and ECCC on these issues.

The IMA-NA cover letter and its attachments can be accessed below.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Canadian Enviromental Protection Act Chemicals Ma 

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Coalition Calls for Action on Preventing Silica Disease in Miners

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Ohio Valley ReSource, a regional journalism collaborative reporting on economic and social change in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, published a story drawing attention to a recent statement by the National Coalition of Black Lung Respiratory Disease Clinics calling on federal regulators to enact a standard to control the dust generated when mining equipment cuts into rock containing silica, or quartz.  The story expands on coverage by National Public Radio and Frontline highlighting the surge in silica-related disease in underground coal mines.  While the focus of the journalistic reporting has focused on coal, the implications for metal and nonmetal mining are far from clear.  The current MSHA permissible exposure limit for quartz is essentially one-half of the one adopted in 2016 by OSHA for the general industry, construction and maritime sectors.  Current MSHA regulations also lack the stringent ancillary provisions addressing exposure monitoring and medical surveillance incorporated in the OSHA rule.  The Ohio Valley ReSource story goes on to cite statements by Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo during a recent MSHA stakeholder meeting and those of Rep. Bobby Scott, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, regarding hearings that may presage legislative solutions.  The Ohio Valley ReSource story can be accessed through the following link:

Tags:  Black Lung  MSHA  PEL  permissible exposure limit  quartz  silica 

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IMA-NA Welcomes Proposed New Water Rule

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Washington, DC—Today, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the proposed new definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS):

“Yesterday’s release of the new proposed definition of Waters of the United States is an encouraging next step in the decades-long push for a WOTUS definition that empowers communities to protect their own water resources while providing regulatory clarity for our industry,” said Vice President Ariel Hill-Davis. “The announcement reiterates President Trump’s commitment to rein in federal overreach and provide regulatory certainty for the mining industry. IMA-NA is pleased to note that both the EPA and Corps remain focused on protecting our nation’s water through cooperative federalism.”

“IMA-NA appreciates the Administration’s efforts to solicit feedback from all stakeholders prior to drafting the proposal and commitment to crafting a commonsense and workable WOTUS definition. We look forward to our continued partnership in the important work of preserving our water quality through responsible stewardship and practical regulation.”


IMA-NA is a non-profit trade organization representing industrial minerals producers throughout North America.  IMA-NA represents a diverse set of member companies engaged in mining and processing of ball clay, barite, bentonite, borates, calcium carbonate, diatomite, feldspar, industrial sand, kaolin, soda ash, talc, and wollastonite..





Tags:  Clean Water Act  EPA  regulation  water  wotus 

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First Friday - Rescheduled for November 9th

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, November 1, 2018

Click here to register! 

Given our proximity to the midterm elections, IMA-NA staff will be hosting November's First Friday call on November 9th. Next week we will have the results of the midterm elections. The outcome, including whether Democrats gain control of both chambers, just the House, or neither will direct much of our work in Washington. In addition to breaking down the election results and what it means for IMA-NA members and our industry, we will be providing updates on the various regulatory and legislative issues we are working on. Please join us next Friday, November 9th at 1:00 EST to catch up on all the important developments for our community.


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Old Hickory Clay Company Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, October 19, 2018

Old Hickory Clay Company hit a tremendous milestone today in celebrating their centennial. Founded in 1918 by the Powell family, Old Hickory has been mining, milling and providing quality clays to their customers for 100 years. The company started in Kentucky but has since expanded to operations in four states with some of the best clay deposits in the industry. As a fourth-generation family owned business, Old Hickory works hard to create a family atmosphere in their workplace. They are one of the primary job providers in Gleason, Tennessee and recently helped host the 4th Annual Minerals Day to allow members of the community to learn about ball clay. Old Hickory's centennial is an excellent example of the longevity of mining companies that invest in their communities and manage their operations in sustainable and responsible ways. 

IMA-NA congratulates Old Hickory on their centennial and looks forward to their continued success!

Tags:  community  members  old hickory 

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