Rock Products

SEP 2017

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Page 46 of 55 ROCK products • September 2017 • 45 LAW Whatever course the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda will ultimately take, it will undoubtedly be contested in court, as we saw with the legal challenge to the "one in, two out" Executive Order and as we just saw when the D.C. Court of Appeals struck down a delay proposed by the Environ - mental Protection Agency (EPA) in implementing methane rules for the oil and gas industry passed under the Obama administration. In addition to litigation challenging the Trump administra- tion's deregulation efforts, other factors may complicate the administration's efforts to unwind regulatory burdens on the mining industry. In particular, the slow pace at which the President has made key political appointments could delay the administration's deregulatory agenda. At the EPA, for example, the chief target of many deregulators, Administrator Scott Pruitt is working with very few politi - cally appointed deputies. Many regulatory agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and others at the Department of Labor continue to operate with- out agency heads. Without political appointees, there is no one to manage the process of deregulation. Civil servants at the agencies are not going to be enthusiastic about rolling back the regulatory efforts they had previously worked to put in place. Making Progress Despite these difficulties, the Trump administration has made some progress in undoing burdensome regulations targeting the mining industry. In February, for example, President Trump signed legislation under the Congressional Review Act quashing the Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule, a regulation passed in the final months of the Obama Administration designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste. There is little doubt that the mining industry has been plagued by an onslaught of burdensome regulations in recent years, and any regulatory relief would be welcomed. Expectations were high when President Trump was elected along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. However, unless something changes, expectations may have to be scaled back. We can and should play a role in this process. We are our own best advocates. When agency task forces publish notices in the Federal Register seeking public comments, it is yet another opportunity to make our voices heard. However, if we don't take advantage of it, we could ultimately end up blaming ourselves for missing an opportunity. The bottom line is, if we don't start submitting comments, no one else will do it for us.

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