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Shelter-in-place strategies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted the U.S. workplace. However, unlike a typical office environment, mines cannot operate without employees on property. In order to prepare for the outbreak, every employer should spend some time assessing the risk to their workforce and confirming whether or not they have reason for concern about employee exposure. Those with elevated risks should take further action. Donna Pryor outlines the actions mines can take in the latest edition of Coal Age magazine. Read more here.

Due to its suddenness and severity, overnight the COVID-19 outbreak has rearranged the priorities of corporate legal departments. Things that were of top-of-list importance yesterday have likely been replaced by action items that were inconceivable just a few weeks ago. Additionally, the “all-hands-on-deck” approach to managing the crisis is likely to last for some time and perhaps longer than any of us could have imagined. There are going to be many legal issues of great strategic importance that simply won’t receive the attention they require; likewise, there will be day-to-day issues that could also be overlooked. Environmental monitoring and reporting requirements could be among those. Continue Reading Environmental Compliance During COVID-19 Business Disruption

After Congress passed the Safe Explosives Act to address explosives safety and security following 9/11, the law and the regulations promulgated in its wake applied broadly to everyone who acquires or uses explosives. Since ATF’s regulations weren’t specifically written for mining and ATF personnel are not usually drawn from the mining industry, there easily could have been a lot of conflict and confusion. Thankfully, the ATF worked with the mining industry to educate operators about the new laws and regulations, to provide guidance and answer questions. Brian Hendrix walks through the regulations in the latest edition of Rock Products, available here.

Back in November, MSHA head David Zatezalo indicated that MSHA’s initiative to “blur the lines” between coal and M/NM enforcement had ended. As an apparent follow-up, in late December MSHA released a new, unified M/NM and coal inspection handbook, and has now started training investigators on the new handbook.

Continue Reading MSHA Unveils New Unified Inspection Handbook

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held hearings on the recently proposed Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, S.2666 (“PLREDA”). Although similar to the House resolution proposed last summer, PLREDA is the most recent bi-partisan effort to promote wind, solar, and geothermal development on public lands.  Its ultimate objective is to permit at least 25 gigawatts of renewable power projects on public lands by the end of 2025. Continue Reading Renewed commitment to renewables: Senate bill hopes to foster renewable development on public lands