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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.


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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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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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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, November 9, 2017

Please join IMA-NA staff for First Friday's call tomorrow, November 10th, at 1pm EST.  There are substantial updates on both the regulatory and legislative fronts including: important information on the House and Senate tax packages, WOTUS, CERCLA 108(b), and the IMA-NA/MSHA Alliance.  As the end of the year approaches there is movement across the board on a myriad of issues impacting our industry. Please register below to get the latest news on our work in DC.

 

Click here to register

Tags:  first friday  ima-na  legislation  Regulations  tax reform legislation 

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EPA Update - Sue & Settle and WOTUS

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a significant change in policy at the Agency. Secretary Pruitt's Directive Promoting Transparency and Public Participation in Consent Decrees and Settlement Agreements, is aimed at ending the practices of setting regulatory deadlines and/or committing to undertake discretionary actions that are not required by statute through settlements with outside 3rd parties. Throughout the last Administration, environmental groups found great regulatory success by suing the EPA over purported failures to issue regulations by the dates required in the underlying statute or in a manner consistent with law. This practice became known as "Sue & Settle" and resulted in substantial regulatory action being undertaken due to settlement agreements rather than necessity. Under the new Directive the EPA must comply with the following guidelines when negotiating settlements:

The Agency Must:

  • Publish any notices of intent to sue the Agency within 15 days of receiving the notice;
  • Publish any complaints or petitions for review in regard to an environmental law, regulation, or rule in which the Agency is a defendant or respondent in federal court within 15 days of receipt;
  • Reach out to and including any states and/or regulated entities affected by potential settlements or consent decrees;
  • Publish a list of consent decrees and settlement agreements that govern Agency actions within 30 days, along with any attorney fees paid, and update it within 15 days of any new consent decree or settlement agreement;
  • Forbidden from entering into any consent decrees that exceed the authority of the courts;
  • Exclude attorney’s fees and litigation costs when settling with those suing the Agency;
  • Provide sufficient time to issue or modify proposed and final rules, take and consider public comment; and
  • Publish any proposed or modified consent decrees and settlements for 30-day public comment, and providing a public hearing on a proposed consent decree or settlement when requested.

To read the full Directive click here.

 

Waters of the US

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), of which IMA-NA and NISA are members, submitted comments to the Army Corps of Engineers related to the ongoing work of theDepartment of Defense Regulatory Reform Task Force. In accordance with Executive Order No. 13,777, each Department is currently reviewing existing regulations to determine which are unnecessary or overly burdensome, as currently written. WAC took the opportunity to submit comments to the record related to the 2015 redefinition of Waters of the United States. The comments are another avenue for the Coalition to work on correcting the overly expansive definition of Waters of the United States that was finalized in 2015. 

To read the comments click here

 

Finally, the EPA is continuing to conduct the sector specific listening sessions to solicit feedback on what a new redefinition of Waters of the United States should look like, ways the 2015 rule is flawed, and what a reasonable interpretation of jurisdictional scope should be. This Monday, EPA hosted the only in person listening session for small business entities. IMA-NA attended the meeting and is pleased to report back that the vast majority of oral comments offered were critical of the 2015 rule and in favor of a substantial redrafting.

The mining sector listening session is being held next Tuesday, October 31st, at 1pm EST. If you have not done so already please register to attend and contact Ariel Hill-Davis to coordinate comments.

 IMA-NA will also be offering written comments to the docket, which are due by November 28th. 

Tags:  comments  environment  EPA  Regulations  settle  sue  wotus 

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EPA Announces Public Meetings to Discuss the Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Following the EPA's announced proposal, in July, to withdraw the Obama Administration's "Waters of the US" (WOTUS) rule, the Agency will be working on a new proposal to define the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act. Two weeks ago, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the extension of the comment period on the proposal and then yesterday announced a series of public meetings throughout the fall to solicit stakeholder input. There will be ten public teleconferences held to solicit recommendations from different sectors for how to redefine the Waters of the US. In addition to the teleconferences there will be one in-person meeting for small entities, held in conjunction with the Small Business Administration. The mining sector meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 31 from 1-3pm EST. 

In addition to IMA-NA's ongoing work on our industry coalition and individual comments, staff will be participating in the meetings and encourages members to participate as well. 

To read more about the meetings and register click here.

 

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  EPA  Regulations  wotus 

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IMA-NA Comments on CERCLA §108(b)

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments yesterday on EPA's CERCLA §108(b) notice of proposed rulemaking.  This rulemaking would establish financial assurance requirements for Superfund liability at individual hardrock mining facilities.   These financial assurances have the potential to be extremely costly . . . as in millions of dollars per industrial minerals facility.  The IMA-NA comments are specific to the industrial minerals sector.  IMA-NA also have been participating in a coalition of other hardrock mining trade associations, as well as trade associations representing industry sectors that EPA has indicated it likely next would subject to CERCLA §108(b) financial responsibility requirements (e.g., chemicals manufacturing, petroleum and coal products manufacturing, electrical power generation, transmission and distribution).  The coalition comments also are attached for your information.

 

Both the IMA-NA and coalition comments are attached.


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Tags:  CERCLA  Comments  EPA  Regulations 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Afternoon

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, June 2, 2017

Please join us for June's First Friday's Ask IMA today, June 2nd at 1:00pm EST. IMA-NA staff will update members on ongoing legislative and regulatory issues, including percentage depletion, CERCLA 108(b), and the recently released full Presidential budget.  In addition to updating members on lobbying efforts and issues of concern for the industry, staff will also be discussing the upcoming 3rd Annual North American Minerals Day and our partnership with IMA-Europe for the 10th Annual European Minerals Day.

Click here to register

Tags:  education  first friday  legislation  member outreach  Regulations 

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IMA-NA Expresses Concerns to MSHA on UG Escapeways

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 23, 2017

In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Patricia Silvey, IMA-NA expressed concerns to MSHA about a purported change in agency enforcement policy related to underground escapeways and refuges.  IMA-NA underground producer members have reported a possible change in agency policy reinterpreting the plain language of 30 CFR §57.11050.  The new interpretation would require two escapeways from every working place, rather than the mine’s lowest levels, and impose new requirements regarding the location of refuge areas.  IMA-NA expressed the concern that such deviation from the plain language of the regulation could constitute rulemaking through policy interpretation rather than through the required notice and comment rulemaking.  IMA-NA requested that the agency convene a meeting of impacted stakeholders to discuss the matter before final agency action is taken.

The IMA-NA letter to MSHA is attached.


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Tags:  escapeways  MSHA  policy  refuges  regulations 

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Cabinet Confirmations Move Forward - Mulvaney & Pruitt

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, February 17, 2017

Yesterday, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC5) was sworn in as the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Senate confirmed Mulvaney by a narrow margin of 51-49, largely along party lines.  Senator John McCain was the only Republican to vote against the confirmation, a decision that was made due to Mulvaney's past opposition to budget increases for the military.  Under the leadership of a fiscal hawk, OMB will play an important role in the Trump Administration's plans to rein in overly burdensome regulations.  The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), in OMB, which conducts reviews proposed regulations and evaluates the economic impacts, is expected to fulfill its role as a check on regulatory overreach more effectively in the new Administration. The confirmation of Mick Mulvaney also allows for OMB to begin reviewing agency budget proposals, a process that has been on hold while there was not a Director in place.

The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) largely along party lines with a final vote of 52-46.  Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke with the Democratic Party and voted for Pruitt while Susan Collins of Maine voted against his confirmation.  Pruitt's confirmation is seen as a coup for the Administration and Republican Party who criticized the EPA loudly for regulatory overreach under the Obama Administration.  Pruitt has a long history of legal challenges to various EPA regulations and his confirmation has been opposed by environmentalists who view him as an enemy to the stated goals of the EPA.  For industry, Pruitt's confirmation is another signal that the regulatory environment in the United States will become substantially friendlier to business and traditional industrial developments. 

As Congress continues using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to revoke various regulations from the last year of Obama's Administration these two confirmations will be shaping the new Administration's regulatory agenda in its new direction.

Tags:  administration  cabinet  confirmation  EPA  Mulvaney  OMB  Pruitt  Regulations  Senate  Trump 

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