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Newsletter - Protecting American Mining Jobs

August 4, 2017
Newsletter

Good afternoon from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District –

I’ve enjoyed being back in the Grand Canyon State this week, meeting with constituents and businesses around our great district. My schedule is packed with more meetings and tours for the rest of the month – looking forward to seeing many of you during this August Congressional Recess.

FRIDAYS ARE FOR FREEDOM

Shedding Light on Unconstitutional Federal Regulations

 August 4, 2017 – Protecting American Mining Jobs

Overturning President Obama’s political EPA regulations.

Problem:

  • In January 2017, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a regulation that would usurp states’ regulatory authority and needlessly duplicate state and federal requirements for the hardrock mining and mineral processing industry.
     
  • High costs of compliance with the rule will put a damper on domestic mineral production while leading to an increase in American reliance on foreign metals and minerals.  The result of this rule will be felt far and wide as the domestic manufacturing, energy, and national security sectors are put at a major disadvantage and local economies lose out on high-paying jobs.

Solutions:

  • This proposed rule must be rejected in order to protect our economy, ensure global competitiveness of resource extraction companies, deliver affordable American energy, and provide good-paying jobs.
     
  • Earlier this year, I led a letter to the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies asking to protect the mining industry and job creators by prohibiting federal funding from being used to implement the proposed rule.  The Committee honored my request and my proposed language was included in Section 433 of the Subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations bill. It is my hope that Congress will pass this bill into law later this year.
     
  • This week, I also co-led a letter with fellow Western Caucus Members to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt calling on the EPA to scrap the Obama-era rule.

What they are saying:

“Imposing billions of dollars in new financial costs on job creators in rural communities just to enact redundant, top-down Washington mandates defies common sense. The CERCLA rule represents a solution in search of a problem. While this nonsensical regulation provides no tangible environmental benefit, the mining jobs it will kill in an already over-regulated industry will be all too real—and impossible to get back. That’s why I was happy to team up with your impressive Representative Andy Biggs to lead 40 other members of Congress in calling on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to roll back these duplicative requirements for the hardrock mining industry. I thank Congressman Biggs for his continued attention to this and other glaring examples of regulatory overreach that would cause significant harm to hard-working Arizonans, and look forward to future Freedom Fridays.” Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar

“To conclude that today’s mining industry presents the level of risk that justifies an expansive, costly and duplicative regulation, EPA had to ignore modern mining practices, existing state and federal environmental, reclamation and financial assurance requirements, and a sensible reading of the law.”National Mining Association

“The State of Arizona has a strong financial assurance program in place for hard rock mining to ensure taxpayers are never left holding the bill to clean up mine sites. CERCLA's redundant federal-level bonding requirements would have a chilling impact on an industry that provides over 12,000 direct jobs in Arizona."Arizona Mining Association

“Freeport-McMoRan believes the proposed CERCLA § 108(b) rules would cause serious harm to the mining industry, jobs, and the availability of key commodities. If adopted, the proposed rules will result in significant contraction of the domestic hard rock (e.g., copper, gold and silver) mining industry and impede future growth.  Expert economic modeling, prepared with data from large mining companies that would be regulated by the proposed rules, indicates that the proposed rules would eliminate some 10,000 well-paid mining jobs and reduce economic activity in just eight mining states by $1.3 billion to $3.85 billion annually.  Those jobs are likely to be concentrated in certain areas, hurting entire communities.  The proposed rules should be withdrawn, and existing federal and state environmental programs should continue to regulate hard rock mining.”Freeport-McMoRan 

“The Arizona Rock Products Association supports a "no action" position on the CERCLA 108 (B) Rule.  Our members do not support the new rule that, as proposed, will duplicate existing financial assurance requirements by state and federal land management agencies.  The rule is not needed, is onerous and will have a substantial negative impact on Arizona's hard rock mining industry but does nothing to further protect the environment.  ARPA stands side-by-side with Arizona state agencies such as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, State Land and the State Mine Inspector’s Office and our industry counterparts in opposition of the proposed Rule.”  - Arizona Rock Products Association

FIGHTING FOR OUR VETERANS

  • Last week, I sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin to outline three of my primary concerns with the Phoenix and Gilbert VA. This letter followed seven weeks of internal discussions with the VA as my office attempted to work out these serious issues on behalf of my constituents.

Though the VA has made a good-faith effort to maintain dialogue with our office and work through these issues, our veterans are still waiting for the efficient and complete care they were promised. The VA’s culture of inefficiency and broken trust has only seen minimal progress, and our veterans continue to pay a terrible and unnecessary price as a result.

I will continue to work with the VA to address the three issues, among others, that I outlined in my letter to Secretary Shulkin. However, my patience has run its course as I have seen the prolonged consequences to our veterans from the lack of basic and common sense service. I promised my constituents that I would fight for them in Congress, and I intend to do just that for our veterans until the VA’s culture is fully reformed.

           See the letter to Secretary Shulkin here.

  • If you’re a veteran, please save the date for our upcoming Congressional Veterans Benefits Awareness Fair. 

At this fair, educational presentations will be given by the Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Representatives from the VA will be there to help veterans file new claims and follow up on existing claims. Please find the details of this fair below:

                                                Date:                Thursday, August 31, 2017
                                                When:              11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
                                                Where:             East Valley Institute of Technology                                                                                                                        
                                                                          Building 2, Banquet Room
                                                                          1601 West Main Street
                                                                          Mesa, Arizona 85201
                                               RSVP:               (480) 699-8239             
             

NO EXEMPTIONS FOR CONGRESS

This week, I responded to President Trump’s weekend tweets about Congressional subsidies for Obamacare premiums:

All too often, Congress exempts itself from laws it imposes on the American people. After Democrats passed Obamacare in the dead of night, multiple loopholes were exploited so that Members of Congress did not have to feel the real economic pain of everyday Americans when paying for their health care premiums.

I previously promised my constituents that I would fight to close these loopholes to ensure that Congress abides by the laws that we pass for our constituents. I also refuse the standard government subsidy for my health care premium, paying 100% of my health care out of my own pocket. Though I have never wanted Obamacare, nor does a day go by when I do not fight against Obamacare, I will not take a subsidy that is not afforded to my constituents.

President Trump is right: the subsidies must be eliminated to incentivize Members of Congress to keep their promise and repeal Obamacare. Only then, will the American people – and their Representatives – see a return to affordable health care premiums.

Read this article from The Hill about my statement.

FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER

To keep track of what my office is doing for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow me on social media:

Our office is currently looking for interns in both my Washington, D.C. and Arizona offices. Click here if you are interested in applying for an internship with my office.

If you cannot get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my district office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. Visit my website to access the privacy consent form and call my district office to set up an appointment with one of my knowledgeable District Representatives.

As always, I am extremely humbled by the trust that you have bestowed upon me and honored to serve as your Congressman.

Sincerely,

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress