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Upcoming Webinars: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Over the next week IMA-NA would like to encourage you to participate in three webinars offering insight into various aspects of the mining industry. In addition to the two webinars IMA-NA is hosting: Friday's OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and next Wednesday's Mining & EHS - A Case Study, the Association is co-sponsoring the Minerals Sciences & Information Coalition's webinar: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials. These three webinars handle both practical topics for running your operations as well as educational topics, such as, the importance of federal investment in the U.S. Geological Survey.  Below you will find brief descriptions of each webinar as well as links to register.

 

Webinar Title: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance

Date/Time: Friday March 25, 2:00 EST

Click here to register 

OSHA’s new guidance on how to apply the Weight of Evidence approach for assessing complex scientific studies under its GHS HazCom rule is open for comment until May 2, 2016, and will impact IMA-NA members who must prepare Safety Data Sheets and warning labels for their products. The "weight of evidence" approach is intended to assist both manufacturers and employers in evaluating scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what information must be disclosed. Attorneys Adele Abrams CMSP and Brian Yellin CIH of the Law Office of Adele L Abrams PC will present the legal and technical information you need to weigh in on this important subject.  

 

Webinar Title: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 1:00 EST

Click here to register

Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials. This webinar is based on a Congressional briefing organized by AGI on behalf of the Mineral Science & Information Coalition (3 March 2016). The webinar will address the efforts being taken at the federal level to ensure a steady supply of critical minerals and materials.

 

Webinar Title: Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 2:00 EST

Click here to register

Join us for a webinar where we will feature EHS compliance best practices of a leading silica mining and manufacturing company. Gensuite will share practical insights into how your peers in the mining and related industries are addressing MSHA and OSHA requirements, driving accountability throughout the enterprise, and improving compliance performance through the use of web-based systems with a suite of fully-integrated and mobile-enabled compliance and risk management tools. Learn how companies such as U.S. Silica, PotashCorp, Ingersoll Rand, and General Electric are engaging employees at all levels of the organization in driving EHS performance improvements and operational efficiencies.

 

Tags:  Associate Member  case study  compliance  EHS  industrial minerals industry  minerals science  msic  OSHA  regulations  usgs  webinars 

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Senate to Vote on Waters of the U.S. Bill - Update

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, November 2, 2015

Tomorrow, November 3rd, the Senate is set to take up the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140) a bill aimed at forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to go back to the drawing board on the "waters of the U.S." rule, which was finalized in May.  The EPA and Corps have faced significant opposition to their updated definition of "waters of the U.S." since the agencies issued proposed guidance back in 2011.  S.1140 adds to the momentum of opposition following the recent court decisions to stay the implementation of the rule, by requiring EPA and the Corps to more clearly outline the science and analyses underlying the rule. Opponents, IMA-NA and other industry associations included, see the rule as a unjustifiable jurisdictional land grab that will effectively give the EPA the authority to regulate most of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA). There are questions about both the process and science the EPA used in order to draft the rule.  S.1140 would force the EPA to revisit the rule and either provide the support for the regulation or alter it in order to reflect the actual parameters of the CWA. The bill was introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and has supporters on both sides of the aisle.

This bill is the companion bill to H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which passed the House in May. As of now, the bill has 46 cosponsors and it needs 60 votes to clear the Senate. 

To read the bill click here

If you are interested in urging your Senator to support S.1140, click here to find their office contact information. 

**Update** - The Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed for passage of S. 1140.  IMA-NA, along with other members of the Water Advocacy Coalition (WAC), signed onto a letter expressing disapproval to Senators King, Nelson, Kaine, Warner, Feinstein, Schatz, Coons, Carper, Tester, Bennet and Klobuchar for voting against S. 1140 while simultaneously expressing concerns over the scope of WOTUS.  

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  Congress  EPA  legislation  Regulations  wotus 

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Coalition for Workplace Safety Submits Comments on OSHA's Record keeping Rule

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, October 29, 2015

IMA-NA along with over 60 other associations and organizations comprise the Coalition for Workplace Safety (CWS), a coalition established to support improving workplace safety through cooperation, assistance, transparency, clarity, and accountability.  On October 27th, CWS submitted comments to the record on OSHA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), theClarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness. The comments focused on OSHA's attempt to circumvent both Congressional and Judiciary authority through the rulemaking process on this issue.  OSHA's proposed rule to alter record keeping standards to impose a continuing obligation categorically ignores the six month statute of limitations on record keeping citations established by Congress in the OSH Act. Not only does this rule attempt to bypass the intent of the OSH Act as enumerated by Congress but the statute of limitations has been reinforced through the U.S. Court of Appeals in multiple decisions. The comments also highlight the punitive nature of OSHA's expansion of grounds for citation by changing the nature of injury and illness record keeping to a continuing obligation.  CWS argues that this NPRM is out of line with precedent, acts as jurisdictional overreach and demonstrates the Agency's misguided belief that more citations create safer workplaces. 

To read the comments please open the attachment. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  coalition  comments  CWS  health  legislation  OSHA  record keeping  regulations  safety 

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Nation Wide Stay Issued on the Waters of the US Rule

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, October 9, 2015

This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit released a nationwide Order of Stay against implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” Rule. The stay is an expansion of the preliminary injunction issued in August by theU.S. District Court in North Dakota, in a separate suit,  that applied to North Dakota and 12 other states involved in the suit. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit's decision expands the injunction to cover every state.  While the Court felt the 18 states in the suit did not face immediate irreparable harm from the rule, they also did not feel there was evidence that the nation's waters would suffer "imminent injury" should the implementation of the rule be delayed. For opponents of the "Waters of the U.S." Rule, this decision is not only immediate good news but in their judgment Judges McKeague and Griffin felt the case against the EPA's definition of the limitations of the new rule and their rule making process was strong.  The majority also noted concerns over the ripple effects of this rule despite acknowledging the need for an updated clarification of the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. 

To read the Order click here

Tags:  Clean Water Act  court  EPA  litigation  Regulations  wotus 

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EPA Announces Finalized Ozone Standard

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, October 1, 2015

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of its rule setting a new national ozone standard. The rule lowers the standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from the current standard of 75 ppb. This announcement comes four years after President Obama asked the EPA to withdraw the rule before finalization.  At the time the EPA seemed to be leaning towards a standard of 65 ppb and the President's decision to delay the rule was a victory for industry.  Today's announcement of a standard of 70 ppb is marginally better than an even lower standard, but it will still have a negative impact on industry across the country.  As the EPA pushes for ever lowering standards they continue to close in on background levels of ozone, meaning compliance becomes less and less realistic for not only industry but the rest of the country as well. Although the rule is not the worst case scenario, the news is not positive for the mining community nor industries in other sectors. 

To read the final rule click here

Tags:  air quality standard  emissions  EPA  industrial minerals industry  ozone  Regulations 

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IMA-NA Files Formal Protests in Response to Sage Grouse Plans

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, July 2, 2015
On June 29th, IMA-NA partnered with National Mining Association (NMA), American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) and the Utah Mining Association to formally protest the BLM/FS land use management plans in Nevada/Eastern California, Idaho/Southwestern Montana and Utah. These were the only draft land use management plans that were open for public comment when IMA-NA decided to file comments regarding the Greater Sage Grouse. Using the attachments you can access and read all three filings. The outcome of the listing decision for the Greater Sage Grouse will continue to impact and inform the use of land out west for the foreseeable future. IMA-NA will continue to take opportunities to voice the concerns of our industry regarding the land use management plans.



Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Greater Sage Grouse  Regulations  sage grouse 

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Bi-State Sage Grouse Removed from the Endangered Species List

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, has announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) decision to remove the Bi-State Greater Sage-Grouse from the Endangered Species List. The announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing FWS deliberation on whether the Greater Sage-Grouse should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Secretary Jewell’s announcement signals the success of the multiyear state lead collaborative conservation efforts in the Bi-State area. The Bi-State population of Greater Sage-Grouse inhabits approximately 4.5 million acres of land on the Nevada and California border and was designated as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) in 2010.  The DPS classification recognizes that the Bi-State population of Greater Sage-Grouse is significantly genetically different from the rest of the population in the western United States, due to thousands of years of relative separation. 

Since the early 2000s state and local agencies in California and Nevada along with federal agencies, landowners and businesses created and enacted successful conservation plans for the Bi-State Greater Sage Grouse.  FWS’s decision to remove the Bi-State Greater Sage-Grouse from the Endangered Species list is a demonstration of the powerful role state and local conservation plans can be in efforts to protect wildlife. The 11 western states with populations of Greater Sage-Grouse have all been working diligently to create conservation plans tailored to balance protection of the birds with each states’ needs.  The success of the Bi-State Plan is an encouraging sign that FWS may not need to take close to 100 million acres of land in the west offline completely in order to protect this species. IMA-NA is hopeful this development will encourage FWS to approach the listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse in a more realistic way.

Relatedly, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the “Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act” (S.1036) on April 22. The legislation would allow states six years to create and implement state specific conservation plans before the Department of Interior could make its decision to list the Greater Sage-Grouse as threatened or endangered.  Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), is expected to introduced the House companion bill by the end of the week. 

 

To read the Department of Interior’s press release click here.

To read Senator Gardner’s press release click here .

Tags:  department of interior  ESA  Greater Sage Grouse  industrial minerals industry  legislation  Regulations  sage grouse  Secretary Jewell 

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Northern Long-Eared Bats Designated as Threatened Species

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 2, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its decision to list the northern long-eared bat as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Specifically, it issued an interim special rule under Section 4(d) of the ESA that "eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat," according to the Services press release. Previously, IMA-NA submitted comments to the Service suggesting that designation as "threatened" under Section 4(d) was a better option than a designation of "endangered" for the northern long-eared bat.  The northern long-eared bat population has declined substantially from the spread of the deadly white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal growth affecting hibernating cave bats.

The listing goes into effect on May 4, 2015, 30 days after publication of the final listing determination in the Federal Register. The Service is also accepting comments on the interim 4(d) rule through July 1, 2015. Additionally, the Service will be holding teleconference information sessions at the following times:

• Friday, April 3, 2015 at 1 p.m. Central Time
• Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 3 p.m. Central Time
• Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 11 a.m. Central Time
To participate, call toll-free: 877-918-2510, enter passcode 9285200#.

IMA-NA's previous comments are attached and you can click here to read the press release and here to read the interim rule.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  ESA  government  Northern Long-Eared Bat  Regulations 

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Final Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing Released

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, March 20, 2015

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final rule on the use of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and natural gas on federal and Indian lands.  The BLM originally published a proposed in on May 11, 2012, but given significant public interest it published a supplemental notice and request for comments on May 24, 2013.  While the final rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register, an advance copy is available for viewing here. The final rule will become effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

According to the final rule, the rule "fulfills the goals of the initial proposed rule:  To ensure that wells are properly constructed to protect water supplies, to make certain that the fluids that flow back to the surface as a result of hydraulic fracturing operations are managed in an environmentally responsible way, and to provide public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids.  The rule also:  (1) Improves public awareness of where hydraulic fracturing has occurred and the existence of other wells or geologic faults or fractures in the area, as well as communicates what chemicals have been used in the fracturing process; (2) Clarifies and strengthens existing rules related to well construction to ensure integrity and address developments in technology; (3) Aligns requirements with state and tribal authorities with regard to water zones that require protection; and (4) Provides opportunities to coordinate standards and processes with individual states and tribes to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and promote the development of more stringent standards by state and tribal governments."

"Key changes to the final rule include:  (1) The allowable use of an expanded set of cement evaluation tools to help ensure that usable water zones have been isolated and protected from contamination; (2) Replacement of the "type well" concept to demonstrate well integrity with a requirement to demonstrate well integrity for all wells; (3) More stringent requirements related to claims of trade secrets exempt from disclosure; (4) More protective requirements to ensure that fluids recovered during hydraulic fracturing operations are contained; (5) Additional disclosure and public availability of information about each hydraulic fracturing operation; and (6) Revised records retention requirements to ensure that records of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations are retained for the life of the well."

"The final rule also provides opportunities for the BLM to coordinate standards and processes with individual states and tribes to reduce administrative costs and to improve efficiencies."

The House and Senate Republicans have already come out in opposition to BLM's final rule. The GOP stance is this new rule will stifle the boom in energy development in the United States and create unnecessary costs for energy companies.

Relatedly, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S. 828 yesterday, to clarify that a state has the sole authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal land within the boundaries of the state.  Neither a summary nor the text of the bill are available at this time.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resource.

According to the Wall Street Journal, federal lands account for about 11% of the natural gas and 5% of the oil that the U.S. consumes.  The Journal notes that drilling on private or state-owned lands won't be subject to the regulations.  However, part of the federal government's goal is to create national standards for hydraulic fracturing that states and companies can adopt.  The Journal reports that some analysts feel the rules won't be unduly burdensome, perhaps contributing less than 0.5% to average well costs.

Tags:  BLM  Congress  DOI  energy  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  natural gas  Regulations 

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Waters of the US Update

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, January 29, 2015

Next Wednesday, February 4th, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a Joint Hearing at 10am entitled,"State & Local Impacts of Administration’s Proposed Expansion of Waters Regulation".  The Committees will hear from two panels of experts including: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, as well as officials from several different states. In conjunction with the hearing, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) has announced his plans to introduce a bill to put a stop to the waters of the U.S. rulemaking and to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

The hearing will focus on the potential impacts of the rule on states and localities as well as the justifications for the scope of the regulation from the EPA and Army Corps. This hearing follows closely on the January 15th release of the EPA's study on the "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters" which will be used as justification for the expansion of the definition of navigable waters under the Clean Water Act. The report makes the strong case for extensive connectivity and impacts on navigable waters regardless of surface water connectivity. The report can be found here.

The ongoing debate over the alteration of the definition of the Waters of the US has been heating up since the elections in November. During the Cromnibus negotiations in December the language to prevent the finalization of the rule was stripped from the final version of the spending bill. As could be expected from the now Republican controlled Congress, both Houses are demonstrating an interest in halting the finalization of the regulation as it currently stands, while President Obama maintains his threat to veto any bill that stops the finalization of the the new regulation. IMA-NA continues our engagement on the issue and will keep members abreast of any important developments.

To read more about the Joint Hearing click here

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  Clean Water Act  Congress  EPA  hearing  Regulations  wotus 

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