A strong mining industry is integral to economic growth, job creation and the United States’ ability to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure, an Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) executive committee member told the House Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee.
Michael Brennan, Bramco Inc.’s president and COO and senior vice president of AED’s board of directors, detailed the benefits of a robust mining sector for his company and the broader construction equipment industry, the importance of domestically-sourced mined materials and aggregates to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, and the need for government to refrain from overregulation.
Highlighting Louisville-based Bramco’s experience with the Kentucky coal industry’s downturn, Brennan warned the committee that without a commonsense regulatory policy, all mining companies are vulnerable, including those extracting other important minerals and elements used in countless contexts, such as infrastructure projects.
Furthermore, the economic damage goes beyond energy and aggregate companies as real lives are impacted outside those sectors. Everyone from construction equipment distributors to restaurant employees to manufacturers struggle when there’s a significant downturn in an important industry.
“When the mining sector suffers, the pain is felt from Arizona to Illinois to Iowa, as the negative implications extend to the communities where manufacturers have locations, as well as the many other suppliers and vendors related to these companies throughout the United States,” Brennan told lawmakers. “Mining isn’t just an eastern Kentucky issue – it’s a national matter.”
Brennan cited overzealous inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as making it particularly difficult for mining companies to run an efficient and productive business. “An unfortunate result of the coal mining downturn in my region is that MSHA inspectors are now spending more time overregulating the crushed stone producers who produce materials that are vital to the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure,” Brennan said. “While the mining sector has contracted since 2008, the MSHA workforce has remained constant, forcing inspectors to look beyond coal for the focus of their often-overzealous oversight.”
Brennan concluded that to rebuild America we must have domestically produced raw materials provided by a vigorous mining industry. “If the federal government abstains from overregulation, the mining sector will create more jobs, drive our economy, improve the financial health of our country, rebuild our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and help the United States become energy independent.”