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CERCLA 108(b) Financial Assurances Not Warranted

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, December 4, 2017

On December 1, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice to inform the public of EPA’s decision not to issue final regulations imposing financial responsibility requirements on the hardrock mining industry.  EPA concluded that based on its interpretation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) and its analysis of the rulemaking record before it, based on its January 11, 2017 notice of proposed rulemaking, that any final regulations are not appropriate.

EPA analyzed the need for financial responsibility based on the risk of taxpayer-funded cleanups of hardrock mining facilities operating under modern management practices and modern environmental regulations.  The Agency concluded that the degree and duration of risk associated with the modern production, transportation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances by the hardrock mining industry does not present a level of risk of taxpayer-funded response actions that warrant imposition of financial responsibility requirements for this sector.

The CERCLA 108(b) rulemaking was IMA-NA’s highest regulatory priority this year.  The proposed rule had the potential to impose millions of dollars of unneeded financial responsibility requirements on individual industrial minerals facilities.  IMA-NA congratulates EPA on making the proper decision based on the statute and the rulemaking record before it.

A pre-publication version of the final action pending publication in the Federal Register is attached.


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Tags:  108(b)  CERCLA  EPA  final agency action  financial assurances  financial responsibility requirements  Superfund 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, November 27, 2017

Please join IMA staff for the final First Friday of 2017, this coming Friday, December 1st, at 1:00 EST. As we near the end of the year, there remains a substantial number of items on Congress and the Administration's to-do list. With tax reform waiting on action in the Senate and multiple regulations moving through the agencies IMA staff have substantial updates and insights we're excited to share with members. We hope you can join us!

 

Click here to register 

Tags:  first friday 

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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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Senate Finance Committee Advances Tax Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, November 17, 2017

Yesterday evening the Senate Finance Committee approved the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code.  The Committee voted along party lines, 14-12, to forward the proposal on to the full Senate.  Approval came after four days of sometimes testy consideration, during which Republicans substantially revised the measure while voting down dozens of Democratic amendments.  Senate leaders aim to take up the bill -- which would cut both business and individual taxes while killing Obamacare's individual mandate requiring health insurance -- sometime after Thanksgiving.

The percentage depletion tax deduction remains unchanged as current law -- no repeal or modification of the current percentage depletion tax deduction is included in the Senate tax reform bill.  We will provide more information as the tax reform process evolves in Washington.  Many thanks to IMA-NA member companies for your engagement and feedback during the legislative process!


Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform 

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EPA Proposes Delay in WOTUS Implementation Pending Supreme Court Decision

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

Today, Secretary Pruitt signed a proposal to further delay the effective date of the 2015 Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule for 2 years. This proposal is geared towards ensuring the 2015 WOTUS rule does not go into effect in the event the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, is that WOTUS-related legal challenges must first go through district courts rather than jumping straight to the appellate level. A decision that challenges must pass through district courts first would effectively overturn the 6th Circuit's nationwide stay.  Thirteen states would still be under a stay issued by a judge out of North Dakota, but in theory the 37 remaining states would find themselves needing to abide by the 2015 WOTUS rule. Secretary Pruitt's action ensures the EPA has time to finalize the withdrawal of the 2015 rule and the new definition of Waters of the US. The EPA is currently working on a timeline to have a final proposal for the new rule by the end of 2018, while an ambitious goal officials have reassure IMA-NA and other industry leaders that the Agency is on track. 

To read the EPA announcement and Proposal click here

Tags:  Clean Water Act  EPA  Regulations  wotus 

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Fairmount Santrol Named as One of the 2017 Top 100 Global Energy Leaders

Posted By RJ Alpers, Thursday, November 16, 2017
Thomson Reuters has announced the 2017 Top 100 Global Energy Leaders and IMA-NA is proud to announce that our member company, Fairmount Santrol, has been named to this impressive list. Since 2014, Thompson Reuters has crafted a complex framework for establishing their top 100 global energy leaders. An in-depth evaluation that incorporates 8 distinct categories: financial performance, investor confidence, innovation, legal compliance, environmental impact, social responsibility, reputation, and risk and resilience. It is it truly a holistic exploration of the energy sector and Fairmount has been named as one of the best. Furthermore, Fairmount was also named as one of the top 25 performers within the industry subsector of Oil & Gas Related Equipment and Services. Congratulations to Fairmount Santrol and their entire organization on this tremendous accomplishment!

Tags:  energy  industrial minerals industry  leadership 

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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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Welcome Back, Chris!

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

IMA-NA is pleased to announce that it has hired Christopher Greissing as Executive Vice President.  Formerly serving as Vice President for Government Affairs, Chris left IMA-NA recently for a position with another employer.  During his brief absence we succeeded in persuading him to return in his new role.  Chris will continue to have the lead on government affairs issues, but he also will be assuming additional responsibilities for the successful operation of the organization.  IMA-NA will continue to benefit from his 10+ years with the association.

IMA-NA and its member companies are indeed fortunate to have someone with Chris’ experience and expertise serving the interests of the industrial minerals industry.  Chris can be reached at chrisgreissing@ima-na.org or at (202) 457-0200 x2.  Welcome back, Chris!


Tags:  Christopher Greissing  Executive Vice President  IMA-NA 

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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.


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Tags:  examinations of working places; proposed rule; fin  MSHA 

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Percentage Depletion Deduction Preserved in Senate Tax Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, November 10, 2017

The good news is that yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee released its version of a comprehensive tax reform bill – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (no bill number yet).  The Senate Finance Committee will markup the bill beginning on Monday, November 13, at 3:00 p.m.  The Senate is expected to consider its tax reform bill on the Senate floor after Thanksgiving, starting the week of November 27.

The percentage depletion tax deduction remains unchanged as current law -- no repeal or modification of the current percentage depletion tax deduction is included in the Senate tax reform bill.  The same outcome was achieved in the House Ways and Means Committee tax reform bill, H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The House bill was considered by the House Ways and Means Committee this week and approved by the Committee yesterday on a party-line vote, 24-16.  H.R. 1 now moves to the House floor for consideration next week.     

Some other Senate bill highlights that may be of interest to you and your company:

  1. The bill lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% – down from 35%, but the Senate bill lowers the corporate rate on delay by one year whereas the House bill calls for an immediate rate decrease;
  2. The bill allows for simple and easy-to-administer deduction for pass-through businesses of all sizes;
  3. The bill includes an enhanced Section 179 expensing to promote business investment and growth, and an enhanced cash accounting, allowing more businesses to use the simple cash-basis accounting method;
  4. The bill allows businesses to immediately write-off the full cost of new equipment to improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers (i.e., full expensing); and

      5.  The bill repeals the alternative minimum tax.

We will provide more information as the tax reform process evolves in Washington next week.  Many thanks to IMA-NA member companies for your engagement and feedback during the legislative process!

A description of the Senate tax reform bill is attached.  The Senate tax reform product is in narrative form, which is how the Senate Finance Committee marks a bill.  Legislative text is being worked on at this time and will be shared sometime next week.

 

A policy summary of the Senate tax reform bill also is attached.   


Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform legislation 

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