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EPA and Corps Finalize WOTUS Applicability Date

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Today, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced they have finalized the WOTUS applicability date proposal. The importance of the finalization of this extension of the applicability of the 2015 WOTUS rule cannot be understated. Last week's Supreme Court ruling opened the possibility for the 2015 Rule to go into effect, once the 6th District's nationwide stay was lifted.  Since the nationwide stay was issued, waters have continued to be protected under the pre-existing WOTUS definition and state rules, and the government has issued over 21,000 determinations establishing federal jurisdiction under the pre-existing WOTUS definition.  Luckily Administrator Pruitt and the EPA had the foresight to issue a proposal to push the applicability of the 2015 Rule for two years, while the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers propose and finalize a new version and interpretation of "waters of the US". Just last week the applicability proposal was sent over to OMB for review and there was a question whether the Administration would be able to finalize the applicability date in time.

This rule is a prudent and measured step to preserve the status quo and provide regulatory continuity for all stakeholders while EPA and the Corps engage in rulemaking to consider whether to repeal the 2015 rule and, if so, how to replace the 2015 Rule with a new well-founded, protective, and clear definition of WOTUS.

IMA-NA and our coalition partners are pleased by the EPA’s and the Corps’ quick action to avoid needless regulatory uncertainty and legal risk for mining and farming operations, developers, small businesses, and other land owners.  Absent this action by the agencies, the result would be months of additional litigation, regulatory chaos, and legal risk for countless land owners. 

To read the Final Rule click here

To read the Press Release click here

Tags:  Army Corps of Engineers  Clean Water Act  EPA  Regulations  Regulators  WOTUS 

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House Passes Bills to Expand Congressional Oversight of Regulatory Actions

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, January 6, 2017

This week the U.S. House of Representatives took their the first actions in the 115th Congress to address the regulatory agenda of the past 8 years. The House voted on and passed both the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act or H.R.26) almost completely along party lines. When taken together H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 allow Congress greater influence and oversight over both the last regulations to come out of the Obama Administration and future proposed regulations. Over the last 8 years, the Republican Caucus has consistently criticized and challenged the regulatory overreach promulgated under the Obama Administration; passage of H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 were in line with the start of this new congressional session. 

The Midnight Rules Relief Act will amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval, if it passes the Senate. The CRA would apply to regulations put forward for review within the last 60 legislative days of the 114th Congressional Session. Opponents of the bill argue that it will result in the overturning of regulations without considering the merits of individual regulations, while sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) sees the action as streamlining the process of the CRA.

The REINS Act, true to its name, aims to curb the ability of agencies to promulgate unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations without Congress's sign off. Should the REINS Act pass the Senate and be signed into law, It would require Congressional approval of regulations, with an impact of $100 million or more on the economy, for them to take effect. 

These two bills would provide either more necessary oversight over the regulatory agencies or eat into the autonomy and power of the executive branch, depending on one's view of the jurisdictional limitations of the different branches of government. 

To read the Midnight Rules Relief Act click here.

To read the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 click here. 

Tags:  115th Congress  administration  Congress  GOP  House  legislation  overregulation  regulations  regulators  REINS 

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North American Minerals Days 2016 This Week

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This week marks the 2nd Annual North American Minerals Days, a continuation of IMA-NA's partnership with IMA-Europe to broaden awareness of industrial minerals, the industry, and the role our members play in creating and supporting our modern lifestyles. This year, in addition to continuing to partner and support the efforts of Earth Science Week, Kaolin Festival, and the Georgia Marble Festival, IMA-NA members are hosting a variety of events.  

Tomorrow, October 12th, KaMin and Imerys will be hosting an all day event highlighting the Kaolin industry and their culture of safety. We'll be welcoming Assistant Secretary of MSHA, Joe Main, to tour a mine and participate in a Safety luncheon with EHS representatives from across the state of Georgia. In addition to Joe Main, Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10) and representatives from the state and local governments will be participating in the activities. The Kaolin event is also being supported by Georgia Mining Association and promises to provide an excellent opportunity for IMA-NA members to interact with their legislators and regulators.

Across the country, in Nevada, Tronox will be hosting Congressman Joe Heck for a tour and discussion. Tronox's event is demonstrative of the type of relationship building opportunities presented during election years. Continuing to tell the story of the positive economic and community impacts of your businesses is especially important at the district and state level, where legislators can interact with your employees and their constituents. 

We're pleased by the expansion of the Minerals Days and believe any opportunity to educate individuals, both in government and in our communities, about our industry is productive in continuing to tell the story about the importance of mining in North America. 

Tags:  community  education  Joe Main  Legislators  MSHA  North American Minerals Days  outreach  Regulators 

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