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IMA-NA Comments on OSHA Lock-Out/Tag-Out

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IMA-NA recently filed comments on an OSHA proposed rule, Standards Improvement Project - Phase IV, through which OSHA ostensibly intended to "remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary and inconsistent requirements in OSHA's safety and health standards." However, some of the proposals would have made substantive changes in the standards. For instance, the proposal would remove the well-established and relied upon term "unexpected" from the lock-out/tag-out (LOTO) standard. When the LOTO standard was first adopted by OSHA in 1989 it was specifically limited to only cover "the servicing and maintenance operations in which the unexpected energization or startup of the machines or equipment, or the release of stored energy could cause injury to employees." Contrary to the intent of the Standards Improvement Project, the proposal would significantly change the meaning and scope of the LOTO standard. The comments do not suggest that OSHA could not properly delete the term "unexpected" from the LOTO standard; they maintain that to do so OSHA should engage in a formal rulemaking process and not the Standards Improvement Project.

To read IMA-NA's comments please open the attachment below.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  comments  LOTO  osha  Regulations  rulemaking 

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Upcoming EPA Webinars on Hardrock Mining Financial Assurances

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 22, 2016

 EPA will host two Webinars in January on its proposed rule to mandate Financial Responsibility Requirements under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry.  The first Webinar will be held on Tuesday, January 10, at 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (EST) and will give an overview of the proposed rule (to register, click here).  The second Webinar will be held on Monday, January 30, at 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (EST) and will focus on the financial responsibility formula included in the proposal (to register, click here).  Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund) gives EPA the authority to require classes of facilities to establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility.  According to EPA, this financial responsibility demonstrates the owner or operator's ability to cover the costs associated with releases, or threatened releases, of hazardous substances from their facilities.  Facilities subject to the proposed rule would be required to demonstrate financial responsibility using one or more of the following financial responsibility instruments: letter of credit; insurance; trust fund; or surety bond.  IMA-NA opposes the proposed rule and maintains that all industrial minerals facilities should be excluded from this rulemaking.

Tags:  CERCLA  EPA  hardrock  regulations  Superfund  webinars 

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Endangered Species Coalition Lists Greater Sage Grouse as a Priority Species for Trump Administration

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 22, 2016

On Wednesday, the Endangered Species Coalition (Coalition) released it's "Top Ten” list of species in need of strong conservation measures. The report is targeted at the incoming Trump Administration as a way to influence the conservation agenda of the new President.  Despite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Fish and Wildlife) decision in 2015 to remove the Greater Sage-Grouse from the Endangered species candidate list, the Coalition flagged Greater Sage-Grouse as a species in need of increased conservation efforts. Fish and Wildlife withdrew the Sage Grouse from consideration following the successful implementation of conservation efforts on the state level. The decision was made following the  "unprecedented conservation partnership across the western United States that [...] significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat."  The Coalition's report demonstrates a renewed interest from the environmental and conservation groups to elevate the listing of the Sage Grouse with the hope of taking millions of acres offline for development of any kind. While it is unlikely the Trump Administration would reopen the recent decision on the Sage Grouse it is important to note the species is still on the radar of conservation groups. 

To read the full report click here

Tags:  administration  conservation  Endangered Species  Fish and Wildlife  FWS  Greater Sage Grouse  regulations  sage grouse 

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EPA Releases Study on the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 15, 2016

On Tuesday, the EPA released its long-awaited final report evaluating the available scientific literature and data to assess the potential for activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle to impact the quality or quantity of drinking water resources.  It also identified factors that affect the frequency and severity of those impacts.  While EPA found scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances, it implicitly found that it did not in other circumstances. The final report deviates from the first version, which stated unequivocally that there was "no evidence that fracking systemically contaminates water". Thomas A. Burke, the E.P.A.’s science adviser, and deputy assistant administrator of the agency’s Office of Research and Development, addressed the change by stating EPA scientists couldn't quantitatively support the former conclusion.  Mr. Burke did go on to highlighting the data gaps and uncertainties that existed in the study which limited its ability to fully assess the potential impacts on drinking water resources and could not fully characterize the severity of impacts. Additionally, EPA stated it could neither calculate nor estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources. 

It's important to note that the report will contribute to the conversation surrounding the incoming Administration's stated policy to decrease regulations and increase investment in natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing. 

Additional information on the 666-page final report can be accessed through this link.

Tags:  administration  EPA  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  Regulations  study 

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First Friday Ask IMA - Post Election Update TODAY

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 2, 2016

With the election finally over, DC is preparing for the start of a new Administration and Congressional Session in January. Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, meaning there will be tremendous opportunity to enact their policy agenda. Please join IMA-NA staff today, December 2nd at 1:00pm EST to hear insights on how the Trump Administration's Cabinet choices could impact our industry, what the House and Senate are likely to focus on in the coming year, and how to get involved in shaping upcoming tax reform and the other issues important to the industrial minerals industry.


Click here to Register.

Tags:  administration  Congress  first friday  legislation  Legislators  politics  president  Regulations 

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First Friday Ask IMA - This Friday

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Please join us this Friday, September 2nd for First Friday - Ask IMA at 1:00 EST.  As our last Ask IMA before our Annual Meeting, we'll be discussing numerous topics of importance some of which will also come up at the meeting. Amongst those topics we'll provide updates on the EPA's proposed rule on CERCLA 108(b), the ongoing project to update NISA's Dust Control Handbook, MSHA activities related to the proposed rulemaking on examination of working places in Metal-Non Metal mines, North American Minerals Days and Congressional engagement, our program for the Annual Meeting, and other issues IMA-NA staff has been working on this summer. Join us for an update on our activities as your association and to have any questions you may have answered.

To Register Click Here

Tags:  2016 annual meeting  education  first friday  legislation  member outreach  regulations 

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WEBINAR TODAY: The New Toxic Substances Control Act - Dealing with the Present and Looking to the Future

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Register Here for Today's Webinar

Jul 06, 2016 2:00 PM EDT 

The Toxic Substance Control Act has received a great deal of attention recently, with Congress passing the first major revision to the Act in 40 years early this summer. This summer is also important for compliance with TSCA’s existing Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) program, which requires companies that manufacture or import certain chemicals in excess of the applicable threshold to submit reports to EPA every four years. Reporting for the period from 2012-2016 is due by September 30, 2016. This Webinar will provide an overview of the CDR program with an emphasis on key factors for IMA members to consider in determining whether or not they are required to report. EPA has lowered the applicable thresholds for reporting so companies cannot simply assume they are not required to report this year because they haven’t reported in the past. The webinar will then provide an overview of the amendments to TSCA recently passed by Congress, focus on key aspects of the amendments that may impact IMA members, and highlight the opportunities to participate and shape EPA’s implementation of the amendments in the near future.

Presented by: Ben Machlis and Steven Barringer (Holland and Hart LLP)

Cost: $39/person for IMA members $69/person for non-members

* This webinar will be recorded and distributed along with all .PPTs to all registrants following the webinar

Tags:  chemicals  EPA  legislation  regulations  tsca  webinar 

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President Obama Signs TSCA Reform Into Law

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yesterday morning, June 22nd, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. The bill was a bipartisan effort that amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  This legislation is the first major update to TSCA in 20 years. Updating and amending TSCA has been a priority for both the Environmental Protection Agency and industry groups for some time.

The Lautenberg Act creates a risk-based standard requiring that chemicals be safe for their intended use, as opposed to a precautionary principle-based approach. It sorts the TSCA inventory of chemicals into high-priority and low-priority chemicals, and establishes a procedure for EPA assessing those chemicals. It provides preemption of the patchwork of state chemical laws and regulations, so manufacturers have clear rules of the road. And it requires the best available science and protects manufacturers' confidential business information. The passage of the Lautenberg Act and its subsequent signing into law is a victory of the collaborative efforts from both the business community and Congress. 


In an effort to further educate the public on the changes to TSCA, next Thursday, June 30, 2016, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST, EPA will host a webinar to provide an overview of the new Act. This initial webinar will be informational only to help inform those unfamiliar with the new law. To log in to the webinar next week click here. You will need to sign in as a guest and for audio, please call 866-299-3188, and enter code 2025648098#.

Tags:  chemicals  law  legislation  obama  regulations  TSCA 

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Mark Ellis Featured on Heartland Institute's Silica Podcast

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On the heels of OSHA's release of the finalized Rule on Respirable Crystalline Silica, IMA-NA and NISA's President, Mark Ellis sat down with Isaac Orr to offer insight on the rule for the Heartland Institute's Daily Podcast. Mark provided the historical context for OSHA's decision to update the rule, outlined how the rule has changed, and spoke to the impact on different industries.  Throughout the podcast Mark took the opportunity to speak to NISA's role as a leader in the industry through the proactive development of the Silicosis Prevention Program (SPP) and spoke to the ability to prevent silicosis without OSHA moving the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms. The Heartland Institute's podcast offered another opportunity to highlight the industrial sand industry's ongoing work to keep workers safe and healthy outside of OSHA's standard setting for crystalline silica. 

To listen to the podcast click here.

Tags:  IMA-NA  news  NISA  osha  regulations  silica 

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First Friday Ask IMA - Today

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, April 1, 2016

This afternoon IMA-NA is hosting our inaugural First Friday - Ask IMA at 1:00 EST. First Friday will be an opportunity for IMA-NA to update members on current issues and answer your questions. This month IMA-NA staff plan on discussing the recently released final crystalline silica rule, our legislative agenda in Q1, the issues that we will be meeting with legislators and regulators on at our Spring Meeting in May, and our upcoming association activities. We are looking forward to launching this monthly initiative to keep our member interactions dynamic and responsive to member interests. 

To join us for April's First Friday, click here

Tags:  first friday  legislation  member outreach  regulations 

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