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New IMA-NA Position Papers

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, August 7, 2014
IMA-NA has posted two new position papers related to our ongoing advocacy efforts.  The first position highlights our commitment to investment in minerals science information through restoring previous funding levels for the US Geological Survey's Minerals Information programs.  To read our position paper on minerals science information click here.

The second posted position reinforces our support for workforce development programs. Recently IMA-NA added its voice to those calling for the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law last month. To read our position paper on the importance of workforce development click here.

Tags:  advocacy  ima-na  minerals science  position papers  usgs  workforce development 

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IMA-NA Signs Letter to the House Small Biz Committee Concerning WOTUS

Posted By Darrell Smith, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (IMA-NA is a member) sent a letter to the House Small Business Committee expressing its concerns over the Environmental Protection Agencies’ and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.  The proposed rule seeks to “clarify” which waters are federally regulated and which waters remain under the jurisdiction of their respective states.  The letter requests that the Committee take steps to ensure that the agencies do not advance a proposed rule that does not consider the needs of small businesses.  To read the letter, see attached.

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Tags:  wotus 

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MSHA Proposed Civil Penalty Rule: What Will Happen to Operator Contest Rights?

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, August 4, 2014
The following regulatory brief has been provided by IMA-NA Associate Member Adele Abrams...

On July 31, 2014, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) Proposed Rule for the Criteria and Procedures for Assessment of Civil Penalties was published in the Federal Register. Publishing the rule begins the 60 day period for public comment, all of which must be received or postmarked by midnight Eastern Daylight Savings Time on September 29, 2014. The proposed rule’s link is:

MSHA claims the rule’s design and goal is to “place greater emphasis on more serious safety and health conditions, thus providing improved safety and health for miner.” However, the proposed rule appears to seek a reduction in contested citations and orders by the industry, by providing disincentives for contesting citations and orders, which would further decrease the MSHA litigation backlog.  

Continue reading...

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WEBINAR: Community Noise Impact Assessment Primer

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, August 4, 2014
Join us for a Webinar on August 13...

Title: Community Noise Impact Assessment Primer

Noise is measured using a relative and logarithmic scale making the calculation of noise impacts an involved task that requires careful thought. This presentation will review common units of noise measurement and characteristics of noise for examples from the aggregates industry. Simple equations from Caltrans and FHWA guidance will be presented along with typical general plan and municipal noise ordinance requirements. Lastly, mitigation options and methods for evaluating mitigation effectiveness will be discussed. 

Presented by: Scott D. Cohen, P.E., C.I.H. SESPE Consulting, Inc. 


$39/person for IMA Members 
$69/person for non-members 

Tags:  webinar 

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New Report Released on the Economic Impact of Altered Ozone Standard

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, August 1, 2014
Yesterday the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), of which IMA-NA is a member, released a report conducted by the National Economic Research Association (NERA) on the economic impact of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plans to lower the air quality standard for ozone. The EPA's previous attempt to promulgate a lower ozone air quality standard was delayed at the request of President Obama in 2011. The NAM's report estimates a stricter ozone standard could cost up to a staggering $270 billion per year. These costs would be associated with increased energy prices that would affect individuals, communities, and businesses.

To read the NAM's report click here and for the executive summary click here.  The NAM also has analysis for the impact on individual states here.

Tags:  EPA  Regulations  studies 

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Murky Waters - Environmental Roundtable Held on Proposed Water Rule

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Earlier this week, the Small Business Administration(SBA) hosted an Environmental Roundtable meeting on the proposed rule defining the waters of the US under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers  (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to the Clean Water Act (CWA). Panelists included Ken Kopocis, Senior Advisor for the EPA Office of Water, William James, Acting Deputy Chief, Regulatory Program, and Virginia Albrecht, Counsel for the Waters Advocacy Coalition with Hunton & Williams.

Following Ken Kopocis's presentation explaining the EPA and Corps’ reasoning for offering the proposed rule and its impact, Virginia Albrecht spoke about the concerns of the small business community.  It is the opinion of the EPA and Corps that the proposed rule clarifies the definition of waters of the US without expanding their regulatory jurisdiction.  Mr. Kopocis highlighted the perceived legislative and judicial vagueness in establishing definitions for regulatory jurisdiction under the CWA. EPA and Corps believe the proposed rule is simply defining waters that already fall under the their jurisdiction vis a vis the CWA. This belief runs counter to that held by Industry, which holds the proposed rule as a massive expansion of jurisdiction over waters thus far outside the control of the EPA and Corps. As was said several times by both sides during the two-hour roundtable, industry and the Agencies do not hold a common view of the current jurisdiction of CWA and therefore see the rule in fundamentally different lights. Because EPA and Corps believe the waters being clarified already fall under the jurisdiction of CWA, the proposed rule does not appear to them as the jurisdictional land grab Industry considers it to be. Conversely, based on the current limitations as established in two separate Supreme Court cases; Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers (SWANCC) and Rapanos v. United States (Rapanos), which respectively set limitations on the regulatory jurisdiction of CWA by finding against the Agencies' use of the Migratory Bird Rule and restricting the definition of “navigable waters", this rule can be seen as tremendous and conscious overreach.

Following the presentations, the panel took questions from the audience, the majority of whom represented various industries.  The overall message from participants to the EPA and Corps was that the proposed rule and its implications were unclear based on the information provided. Several participants commented that the panel, although helpful, should have happened during the earlier phases of the rulemaking and urged the EPA, Corps and SBA to pull the proposed rule and start over with a SBREFA Panel in order to establish the impact on small businesses. Despite the calls for a more active collaboration on drafting a rule, Mr. Kopocis responded by highlighting the opportunity to submit public comments during the comment period. If the interaction during the question and answer session is any indication, further collaboration on the proposed rule will happen through comments, rather than through other potentially enlightening and useful processes.

IMA-NA is part of the Water Advocacy Coalition and strongly opposes the expansion of jurisdiction of the CWA. To read more about the proposed rule click here.

Tags:  Clean Water Act  CWA  EPA  Regulations  SBA  Small Business Administration 

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Proppant Market Report Updated

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, July 17, 2014
On June 24th, KELRIK LLC, in conjunction with PropTester, Inc., issued an update to their annual Proppant Market Report (PMR). The 2013 PMR noted previous growth of 28 percent in the market from 2012 with indications pointing to consistent growth throughout 2014. The continued boom in natural gas development has created a high demand for proppants, which are used during the frac stage. According to their press release, KELRIK LLC and Proptester, Inc are now expecting, "Increases of 30 percent or more in base proppant demand are now expected through the remainder of 2014 in North America."  Reports such as the PMR demonstrate the importance of industrial minerals to other industries and our economy as a whole.

To read the full press release click here.

Tags:  Associate Member  KELRIK  proppants  report 

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Mind the Gap - The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Signed into Law

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 26, 2014
Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014

On July 22nd, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law, replacing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The House passed the WIOA earlier in July by an overwhelming majority of 415-6, following its June passage in the Senate by a vote of 95-3. WIOA is the updated reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), a bill that was due for reauthorization in 2003. The signing of WIOA into law follows a lengthy bipartisan, bicameral negotiation that reached a conclusion in May with the current version of WIOA.  This is an exciting demonstration of what can be accomplished when Congress and the Administration cooperates on legislation and may be one of the only examples of bipartisanship as campaign season looms.

Congress passed the original WIA in 1998 with the goal of creating a system of programs to train the workforce businesses in the United States needed.  WIA created federally funded, one-stop shop career centers where individuals could access specific training and educational programs as well as other employment services. The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act was reauthorized the same year as WIA’s passage, demonstrating the focus on workforce development issues in 1998.  Unlike WIA, which has been held in limbo for more than a decade, the updated Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act  (CTE) was reauthorized again in 2006.

The long road back to reauthorization of WIA has left a void in public policy related to our investment in workforce development.  Congress has sent a clear message of renewed commitment to ensuring our nation has a skilled and capable workforce. This step towards active promotion of economic growth through creating a dependable workforce is a powerful move.

To read a side-by-side comparison of WIA and WIOA click here.

To read a letter of support IMA-NA signed onto click here.

Tags:  Congress  education  legislation  Senate  skills gap  workforce development 

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The Importance of the Lake Lynn Experimental Mine

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 12, 2014

In September 2013, the lease on NIOSH’s Lake Lynn Experimental Mine and Laboratory ran out and required the return of the land to the original owner.  The loss of the Lake Lynn facilities is a huge blow to mine safety studies and our ability to develop improvements in a clinical setting. 


In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leased an abandoned limestone mine and the surrounding land on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border in Fayette County, Pennsylvania to set up a new mine studies facility.  The Lake Lynn facilities consist of a realistic underground mine as well as an above ground laboratory.  For 30 years NIOSH used the Lake Lynn facilities to conduct important mining safety and health experiments.  The experiments led to advances in numerous important areas including: discovering the necessary level of incombustible material in order to keep coal dust incombustible, the development of a coal dust explosibility meter, and testing various seals strength. 


As injuries and fatalities still occur with regularity at mines across the world, we are reminded of the continued importance of health and safety studies.  Access to a realistic mine in which to conduct experiments is a key component to the fight against injuries and fatalities.  Unfortunately, due to a rock fall in 2008 the underground portion of the lab was and remained closed because the government did not decide to invest further money in land that was leased rather than owned.  The current issue arose when it came time to renew the lease and the owner demanded a higher fee than the CDC was willing and/or authorized to pay. Since paying the initial $11 million for the long term lease the government has invested $7 million in the facilities. Those numbers are nothing compared to the $50 million and five years it would take to try to recreate facilities similar to this one of a kind research facility. 


On June 9, IMA-NA sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting the authorization for the CDC to purchase the Lake Lynn facility, or more extremely exercise eminent domain and let the courts decide the compensation.  One thing is certain, the continued safety of our mines requires a test site such as Lake Lynn, and while eminent domain should always be used judiciously the need is great enough to consider it as a last resort. 

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Tags:  Lake Lynn  NIOSH  safety  studies 

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