Supreme Court Sides With Landowners in CWA Decision

The industry has long known that the process for obtaining a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit to discharge dredged or fill material into the “waters of the United States” can be, to say the least, both painful and expensive with no guarantee that a permit will ever be issued. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. should come as welcomed news. In that decision, the court ruled that property owners have the right to seek judicial review of jurisdictional determinations (JDs) regarding “waters of the United States” under the CWA. The decision both reins in the federal government’s regulatory jurisdiction under the CWA and signals the Supreme Court’s willingness to limit expansion of the CWA’s “ominous reach.”

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Figures Don’t Lie

By Mark Savit

Not that long ago, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) argued strenuously that it needed to broaden the potential reach of its Pattern of Violations (POV) rule. It based its argument primarily on the fact that the previous rule required MSHA to rely on citations that had already become final, rather than relying on citations as issued, before placing a mine on the POV list. Also that the provision allowing mines to be placed on the Potential POV (PPOV) list before being actually put into the program was too lenient, allowing mines to temporarily change violation patterns only to allow them to slip back into old patterns after the monitoring period was over.

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Retaliation and the New OSHA Regulations

By Henry Chajet

Under the guise of a new rule requiring electronic injury data reporting by employees, (29 CFR Parts 1904 and 1902), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) restricted post-incident drug and alcohol testing and bonus safety incentives programs that it considers retaliate, discourage or complicate employee injury reporting.

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A Single (Minded) Step in the Wrong Direction

By Ross J. Watzman

To the people who are frustrated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) haste in promulgating rules without examining the impact on mine safety, you are not alone. When will MSHA learn that its rush to increase regulation over the mining industry may not result in an increase in safety?

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OSHA’S New Silica Rule at a Glance: Might You Be Affected?

By Breyana A. Penn

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has again made headlines regarding the regulation of silica. Upon reaching the conclusion that the existing standards for occupational exposure to silica resulted in significant health risks for workers, the agency set out once again to create stricter parameters for exposure.

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