Safety, zoning challenges addressed at OAIMA meeting

By |  November 16, 2018

The Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) hosted its Annual Meeting & Trade Show, drawing hundreds of attendees to Columbus, Ohio, for a centennial celebration, education and more.

The annual OAIMA event featured several speakers, including Ed Elliott of the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA); Brian Barger of Eastman & Smith; and Larry Shively of The Shelly Company.

The latest at MSHA

Elliott, senior advisor to the assistant secretary at MSHA, offered perspective on MSHA priorities like the Scofflaw Program, the “One MSHA” initiative and the agency’s powered haulage safety initiative.

Fulfilling the requirements of the Mine Act remains a top priority at MSHA.

“[Our job is to] work with stakeholders to improve safety and health in the mining industry [and] try to reach out to get operators more involved and engaged in what we’re trying to do,” Elliott says. “There are opportunities to get engaged in safety. You are our customers. We really work for you. Our job is to try to do the best we possibly can to help you achieve those things that the Mine Act set out for us.”

Zoning and permitting challenges

Barger, meanwhile, offered a presentation focused on “the looming aggregate shortage.” An attorney based in Columbus, Barger outlined the many hurdles aggregate producers face in the areas of zoning and permitting.

“The reality today is there are all of these downstream off-ramps to derail your project,” Barger says.

Social media makes the process of zoning and permitting aggregate reserves significantly more difficult, he adds.

“It used to just take a couple of neighbors complaining,” Barger says. “Now there’s a digital mob chasing you around, plus trustees and decision makers. [They] put them in a corner that they have a hard time getting out of.”

Because opponents don’t want crushed stone, sand and gravel producers in their backyard, Shively, vice president of quality control at The Shelly Company, wonders how producers will fare in the future.

“If we don’t have local aggregate then we have to import it,” he says.

OAIMA’s centennial

In addition to the presentations by Elliott, Barger and Shively, Pat Jacomet, executive director of OAIMA, led a presentation showcasing Ohio’s rich history in the aggregate industry. OAIMA, which started 100 years ago as the Ohio Sand & Gravel Producers Association, produced a centennial book this year celebrating the history of the organization and its members.

Former college football coach Bill Curry, the National Coach of the Year at Alabama in 1989 and a two-time Super Bowl champion as a player, also paid a visit to the OAIMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show. Curry shared stories from his playing days under Hall of Fame coaches Vince Lombardi and Don Shula, offering sentiments that those in attendance could take and apply to themselves and their businesses.

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