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Administration Continues to Focus on Reforming Regulations

The Trump administration’s latest regulatory agenda offered encouraging signs for aggregates industry priorities, including the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) improvements. The agenda does not include all upcoming and expected actions by federal agencies, but rather provides information on their priorities for the coming year. 

“The Agenda reflects core Administration priorities for reducing regulatory burdens across administrative agencies, including in the anticipated deregulatory and regulatory actions,“ the administration said in the report. It also indicated that efforts so far have resulted in $23 billion in regulatory cost savings in fiscal year 2018 across all federal agencies.

Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to propose a replacement WOTUS rule this month, with a final repeal of the problematic 2015 rule in March 2019, and a final replacement rule in September 2019. The 2015 WOTUS rule would have regulated dry streambeds and isolated waters and created hardships and confusion for member companies. NSSGA continues to advocate on this important issue. 

The EPA intends to propose a rule on improving their cost-benefit analysis in May 2019. In August, NSSGA commented on general EPA reform issues like cost-benefit analyses. EPA also projects that the rule on requiring the science underpinning rules to be transparent will be completed in 2020.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services continues to reform regulations to ease permitting burdens related to the administration of the ESA, on which NSSGA recently commented. The agency expects final actions later this year on issues such as their revised favorable critical habitat definition and inter-agency cooperation. The agency is also expected to propose new rules in December 2019 on incidental take of species and other issues on species management.

MSHA

MSHA is expected to modernize outdated regulations in 2019. NSSGA asked MSHA in August to modernize training videos to depict conditions and behavior that are genuinely compliant and safe, and to update the manual on accident investigations. MSHA continues its request for data and information on technologies, such as collision warning and seat belt starter interlock systems that could reduce incidents involving mobile equipment. The public comment period ends on Dec. 24, 2018. NSSGA will be submitting comments and seeks input from members for its comments.