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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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Hi-Crush Receives Environmental Stewardship and Green Tier Recognition

Posted By RJ Alpers, Thursday, December 14, 2017

IMA-NA is pleased to announce that one of our members, Hi-Crush Partners LP, has been accepted into the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Green Tier program! The Green Tier program and status is designed to recognize companies in Wisconsin that are exceeding environmental standards to benefit the community.

Hi-Crush’s business operations were recognized for having been designed to minimize environmental impacts. Furthermore, Hi-Crush’s environmental management system (EMS), which went into effect earlier this year, is expected to optimize operations over time and improve environmental performance.

Hi-Crush’s EMS is based on the ISO 14001 standard at its production facilities to ensure accountability in its compliance with all local, state and federal environmental regulations. Hi-Crush also adheres to a silicosis prevention program (SPP) based on the National Industrial Sand Association’s (NISA) Occupational Health Program for Exposure to Crystalline Silica in the Industrial Sand Industry.

In the article, Mark Skolos, a member of Hi-Crush General Counsel, discussed the importance of the recognition stating, “Environmental stewardship plays a key role in our business and our culture,”. Mr. Skolos added, “We place an emphasis on improving the areas where we live and work, and our inclusion in the Green Tier program is the result of our continued commitment to not just meet, but to exceed, environmental regulatory requirements in the communities where we operate.”

To read the full article and see Hi-Crush’s future environmental performance goals please click here. Congratulations to Hi-Crush!

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Senate Committee to Vote on Nominee to lead OSHA

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 8, 2017
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has scheduled the confirmation vote on Scott Mugno, the FedEx safety executive tapped by the Trump administration's to lead OSHA, for Monday December 13th. The HELP Committee convened Scott Mugno's confirmation hearing on Tuesday, December 5th. The Committee's questions and concerns largely split along party lines, following the trend of other confirmation hearings. If the Committee votes to confirm Scott Mugno to head OSHA, he will join the rest of President Trump's nominees currently awaiting a full Senate vote for confirmation.  Numerous important positions remain unfilled while the nominees await a floor vote, including 4 positions at the EPA. As the year winds down, it is anticipated that many of these nominees will be confirmed in a large package. IMA-NA is looking forward to the Administration continuing to staff the Departments and Agencies to ensure the government can function at the level it needs to. 

Tags:  confirmation  DOL  labor  OSHA  Senate 

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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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Unimin Transfers Mine Rights to Bat Organization

Posted By RJ Alpers, Monday, December 4, 2017

Unimin Corp. has announced that it will transfer the rights to its Magazine Mine, located in Alexander County, Illinois, to the Organization for Bat Conservation. The mine site, which was originally used to extract microcrystalline silica, discovered that it was home to several thousand bats including the endangered Indiana bat, Little Brown Bat, and the Long-Eared Myotis Bat.

Rob Mies, executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation stated “The transfer of the Magazine Mine is a huge step in protecting the rare and endangered Indiana Bat,” Adding, “We are proud to partner with Unimin in this endeavor”.

For more information on the conservation agreement between Unimin and the Organization for Bat Conservation please read the full article here. Special thanks to Rock Products for allowing us to share their article regarding our membership. 

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Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, December 4, 2017

Early this past Saturday morning the Senate passed its version of tax reform legislation by a vote of 51-49, with all Republicans except Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in favor and all Democrats opposed.  The bill that cleared the Senate Finance Committee before Thanksgiving underwent some changes in the ensuing weeks to secure the Republican votes necessary to secure its passage on the Senate floor.  While differences exist between the separate tax reform bills passed by the House and Senate, the conference committee that will attempt to reconcile the two bills is expected to move expeditiously.  Conferees are expected to be named by the House and Senate leadership early this week.

The percentage depletion deduction is preserved in the Senate bill, as it likewise is in the House bill, in that the current tax code provisions of Title 26 U.S.C. §613 are not repealed or modified and remain existing law.  Preserving the percentage depletion deduction has been IMA-NA’s highest legislative priority this year because the deduction typically is worth millions of dollars to IMA-NA producer member companies.  IMA-NA will continue to advocate for preservation of the percentage depletion deduction as tax reform moves through the legislative process until, ultimately, it is signed into law by the President.


Tags:  percentage depletion deduction  tax reform legislation 

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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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