Industry awaits next MSHA chief, policy changes

By |  January 3, 2017

msha-logoWith 2016 in the rearview mirror, the aggregate industry turns its attention to a new year and the many policy developments the incoming Trump administration is expected to bring.

Perhaps chief among the industry’s interests at the moment is the next leader at the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA). Joe Main will soon be departing the agency, and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), for one, is pulling for the next MSHA chief to be one with ample experience in the metal-nonmetal mining sector.

“NSSGA is actively pushing for a new MSHA administrator from the metal-nonmetal sector of the mining industry instead of coal, as there are 37 times more [metal-nonmetal] operations than coal,” says Mike Johnson, president and CEO of NSSGA.

According to NSSGA, it has reached out directly to the Trump transition team about the MSHA post. The association’s lobbyists have also been actively pushing Congress toward certain candidates, NSSGA says.

As aggregate producers await the selection of the next MSHA chief, NSSGA remains hopeful about the direction the new Congress and incoming administration can take the industry.

“With Congress and the White House held by the same pro-business party, there is an incredible opportunity for NSSGA and the entire aggregates industry to affect change in the federal policy that impacts everything from transportation spending to permitting and mineral definitions,” Johnson says.

Johnson is particularly optimistic about the opportunity to stymie Obama administration policies that are hurting – or potentially will hurt – the aggregate industry.

“Congress has an opportunity to stop and potentially reverse some of President Obama’s most onerous and burdensome regulations, such as the Waters of the U.S. rule, [the] workplace exams rule, pattern of violations, and the new silica exposure standards,” he says.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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