Main addresses elimination of State Grants Program

By |  June 25, 2013

Representatives from seven Midwest state aggregate associations and NSSGA met June 18 with Joe Main, MSHA‘s assistant secretary of labor, during an Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association meeting in Indianapolis. Three MSHA officials joined Main: Neal Merrifield, a metal/nonmetal administrator; Steve Richetta, North Central district manager; and Lawrence King, Indianapolis field office supervisor.

According to the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP), Main discussed ongoing efforts to improve the consistency of enforcement and to improve communications with the industry. He outlined changes and improvements in MSHA’s Small Mine Consultation Program to make it more efficient, and he explained MSHA’s decision to defund the State Grants Program in response to ongoing budget reductions.

After Main’s presentations, the associations discussed their issues. RiverStone Group’s Jim Papenhausen highlighted how the Small Mines Consultation Program is useful to his company and the industry, and IAAP’s John Henriksen focused on the association’s strong opposition to MSHA’s decision to eliminate the State Grants Program in the upcoming fiscal year.

According to IAAP, Main responded to the State Grants Program issue at the close of the discussions and expressed an interest in working with state aggregate associations to ensure the continuation of the safety and health training the program provides. In addition, Merrifield said he would provide guidance to the industry in order to address questions about MSHA’s enforcement of Part 48 training standards to surface facilities of underground mines.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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