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TABLE of CONTENTS 4
2016 SUMMER ISSUE
LEGISLATIVE Q&A with Gideon Kracov Chair of State Mining & Geology Board
LEGISLATIVE Smart Siting for Quarries in California Green Energy
2016 CalCIMA Education Conference
SAFETY Industry & Caltrans to Begin Joint Training
ON THE COVER:
Native Plant Restoration Project and On-site Nursery Vulcan Materials Company - River Rock Facility, Fresno, CA Photo courtesy of Kellie Flanagan, Sierra News Online
The Conveyor is a publication of the California Construction and Industrial Materials Association. The views expressed herein are fixed expressions of the contributing writers and not of CalCIMA. All rights reserved.
CalCIMA 1029 J Street, #420 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 554-1000 www.calcima.org www.distancematters.org
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Editorial Contributors Charley Rea Director of Communications & Policy, CalCIMA
Publisher Kerry Hoover firstname.lastname@example.org
Suzanne Seivright Director of Local Governmental Affairs, CalCIMA
Editor Brian Hoover email@example.com
Brian Hoover Editor, Construction Marketing Services
The Conveyor â€¢ 2016 Summer Issue
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Gideon Kracov is a lawyer in private practice in Los Angeles, where he represents clients in civil law, environmental and land use cases. He received his B.A. with honors from University of California, Berkeley in 1992 and his J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Berkeley Law, University of California Boalt Hall in 1995. Kracov previously served as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney, where he counseled the Departments of Planning and Sanitation. He began his legal career at the prominent Los Angeles firm Weston, Benshoof LLP (now Alston & Bird LLP), where his practice involved tort defense for Fortune 500 clients. 4
Chair of State Mining & Geology Board By Brian Hoover, Contributing Editor, The Conveyor Magazine Kracov has sat on committees and served on the board of directors of several organizations including nonprofits: Communities for a Better Environment, Los Angeles Grand Performances, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Salvadoran American Leadership Education Fund. He was a Governor’s appointee and Acting Chair of the State Committee supervising California’s vehicle smog check program. From 2009 to 2011, Kracov served as Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles Proposition O Bond Committee administering $500 million to protect the City’s rivers and beaches. Mr. Kracov was elected by his peers to serve as the 2014-2015 Chair of the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section, leading education and program activities on behalf of the Section’s 2,500 plus environmental lawyer members. He has also served for over a decade as General Counsel of the Los Angeles County Disposal Association. Kracov currently chairs the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Independent Review Panel tasked with recommending improvements to the agency’s permitting, enforcement, outreach and fiscal management. He was appointed by Governor Brown in July 2014 to serve on, and in March 2015 named as Chair of, the State Mining and Geology Board that oversees the State’s interests in seismic hazards, mineral resources and mine reclamation. The Conveyor Magazine (CM): What were your interests and circumstances that led to you becoming the Chair of the State Mining and Geology Board? Gideon Kracov (GK): “I am an environmental lawyer with many years working on air, water and soil issues and that sort of background meshes well with issues that arise in the mining industry, so it’s a good fit from that perspective. I have good understanding of the regulatory structure. Also, public service is very important to me. My father was a lawyer for the U.S. government for decades and then a judge, and he consistently instilled the value of giving back and finding a way to use your skills and interests to serve the public. I am a former Los Angeles Deputy City attorney The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
and sort of followed in my dad’s footsteps in that role. Now in private practice, I still wanted to find ways to serve and the Governor’s Office thought the State Mining and Geology Board was a good fit for me and it has been a good opportunity over these past couple of years. Fundamentally, I think one of the most interesting things about the mining industry is the challenge of having a reliable supply of local aggregate materials that are the backbone of the infrastructure in our State, but also assuring that mining is environmentally sustainable and responsible to local concerns. It is a balance, and that’s the balance that the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) represents between the conservation of mining lands and making sure that resources are available, but also to ensure the reclamation element and that there are appropriate environmental protections in place. I enjoy working on that balance and making sure that the State tries to get it right.” CM: As the first attorney to chair this Board, do you feel that you have different or unique knowledge or experience that may help facilitate positive actions or benefits toward the Board’s mission? GK: “I am pleased that the Governor and fellow board members have faith in me and feel that I am the right person for the chair job. That’s gratifying. The Board is served by its own counsel, the Attorney General’s Office, so we have a lawyer sitting with us at every meeting. But it is helpful to have a Chair who is versed in administrative law principles, the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act, the Robert’s Rules of Order, to make sure that the meetings go as smoothly and efficiently as possible at all times. And also, frankly, to assure that our board sticks to its statutory jurisdiction. Folks make jokes about lawyers at times, but sometimes it is good to have us around. Plus, the Board has nine volunteer Board members with various backgrounds. Some are geologists, with seismological backgrounds; a lawyer like me, environmental professionals, or local governmental officials. So the Board is supposed to have, and does have, a diversity of perspective and experience.” CM: The previous executive officer retired this past fall after almost a decade of service. You named Jeffrey Schmidt as your new executive officer. Could you take a moment to comment on how you feel that this change will impact the Board? GK: “We are very excited about it and Jeffrey comes with prior experience in government, the private sector, as well as service previously on the Board of Geologists and Geophysicists. He spent a lot of time as a staffer in the State Senate, so he knows how government works The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
and how to get the most out of the resources that we have on the Board. He is an English major, so he writes well. One of the things we have emphasized with Jeffrey from the start is the importance of collaboration with all stakeholders, as well as other department divisions and state agencies. The Department of Conservation, the Office of Mine Reclamation, the California Geological Survey …we all feel that the Board and the public interest are best served by strong, transparent communication among all of the State agencies and I think Jeffrey understands that very well.” CM: Just before your arrival as chair two years ago, the Governor had proposed eliminating the State Mining and Geology Board in the annual budget. Everyone seems to be much more supportive at this time. What do you think led to this change of heart? GK: “Much of the credit goes to the Governor who has invested a lot of time in identifying and selecting a new crop of appointees to the Board, which has brought a lot of energy, enthusiasm and different experiences. The Governor’s Office also emphasized the Board’s need to get back to basics, to focus on our key responsibilities, which include mineral designations and our lead agency work. The Board has assumed lead SMARA authority for two counties and several cities, as well as numerous marine dredging operations. We oversee 41 surface mines right now and we are one of the larger lead agencies at the state. So, the Governor’s Office is trying to get us focused on the core things that we are doing. The credit also goes to external stakeholders like CalCIMA, who have explained the important role the Board can have as a public body with hearings that are open to all, furthering the important government goals of transparency and sunshine. I think that the Governor and all the stakeholders see that the Board does have a role in making SMARA, and the other laws that the Board works with, function as best as they can. One of the things that the Governor’s Office was happy about was in March 2015, when we adopted a new Board Strategic Plan, which is a much more focused document supported by four main goals. In each of the goals, we have certain objectives with a timeline and a way to measure our work. That extra focus and accountability has been important to keeping the Board on track.” CM: You have now served for two years and during this time the Governor’s Office; state legislature, local governments, and stakeholders have all come together in supporting a comprehensive modernization of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA). What do you feel the challenges and opportunities may be in implementing and modifying the SMARA regulations to reflect these changes in the law?
[ Continued on page 6 ]
[ Continued from page 5 ]
GK: “SMARA modernization is quite important. It creates a Supervisor of Mine Reclamation position. It updates fees for mine operations, provides more compliance flexibility for locally owned and operated pits, and clarifies the components of mine reclamation plans, just to name a few changes. The Board has the role, under SMARA, to adopt the regulations to implement the SMARA modernization. We are still working on it, but it might be five or more regulatory packages and these topics include financial assurance cost estimates, appeals, and corporate bonding and financial tests. So a lot of the Board’s focus over the next two years is going to be on this regulatory work. This makes the Board’s work very important and gives our new Executive Officer, Jeffrey Schmidt, and our staff an increased sense of purpose and mission. On the other hand, it is a daunting workload for our current staff of four persons, so we are working with our sister agencies within the Department of Conservation to ensure that we have the people power and resources to get this regulatory job done right and on time. At the moment, we are in the process of redoing the mine fee regulation, and that is scheduled to take effect in 2017, so we already have some regulatory language on the fee structure. The substantive work, including the financial assurance cost estimates; we are going to get that done in 2017 and early 2018. Over the next 24 months, the Board is going to have a lot of regulatory work to do.” CM: The Surface Mining & Reclamation Act is a fundamental regulatory statute that regulates the mineral industry and has recently been modernized. Can you speak to these changes and their positive benefits? GK: “Let me first say that CalCIMA certainly was instrumental in this. The modernization provides locally operated and owned mines with some flexibility with inspections, clarifies reclamation plan components and the financial assurance approval process, ensures a licensed professional produce and certify a reclamation plan, maps, and other materials. It clarifies training requirements and it retains the Board’s role and jurisdiction to deal with regulations and to hear certain appeals. I think fundamentally the message is that the modernization package contains provisions that are important to industry to make bureaucracy work more smoothly, provide better guidance to local lead agencies and mine operators, and provide the public with better mine operations.” CM: It would seem that the Brown administration has taken a more direct effort in providing consistent communication with local government and other SMARA stakeholders. Governor Brown and state agencies seem to be focusing on enhancing their support of local agencies and their implementation 6
and oversight of mining operations. Is that a fair perception and what role, if any, do you see your board having in this relationship? GK: “It is. While I was not directly involved in the legislative activities, my understanding is that the Governor’s Office played a key role, working with the authors, Senator Pavley and Assemblyman Gray, in getting all stakeholders to the table over a multiyear process, and getting them to stay at the table until a balanced and worthy package was agreed to. CalCIMA was key in this too. The end result is really quite impressive, and even more impressive; it seems to have broad and universal support. As to the Board’s role, our jurisdiction and strategic plan, we are going to focus on education for the lead agencies and transparency, in addition to our regulatory role. For example, the Board provides information reports, updates of SMARA checklists and forms to help educate the lead agencies on best practices. In our role, the Board provides a forum for public participation and for folks throughout the State to talk about SMARA and its implementation. We will be scheduling workshops and opportunities for public comments throughout the State as we embark on this multiyear process of drafting the new regulations to implement the modernization.” CM: What have been your two biggest challenges since taking over as chair and what do you see as your major tasks and challenges going forward? GK: “When I started, I brought certain strengths and experiences in environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act and some of the regulatory background. But I needed to learn about the industry and how things work on the ground when it comes to mining in our State and the respective roles of the Department of Conservation, the Board, the lead agencies, industry and the environmental community. So that took a while and luckily many folks, including certainly my fellow volunteer Board members and the Governor’s Office, really helped me on that. Also, one of the first things I did was attend one of CalCIMA’s workshops in San Diego. For me, it was a day of training on SMARA issues, plus having an opportunity to meet some of the key industry players. That was an important part of my early education. A second big challenge was, of course, hiring our new Executive Officer. Our prior Executive Officer, Stephen Testa, had been with the Board for about a decade, and filling that position with the right person, and making sure the search was thorough, was extremely important. There is perhaps no more important decision for a Board to make than hiring its Executive Officer. Our Vice Chair, Sandra Potter, who is a local governmental appointee to the Board, spearheaded the hiring process that took us, around The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
six months. I think we made the right hire and our new Executive Officer, Jeffrey Schmidt is, qualified and has thus far hit the ground running. And our existing staff have been fantastic in helping on the transition” CM: The Department of Conservation serves an important role as what has been termed the “SMARA backstop” within the States oversight of mining operations. Tell me a little about the Board’s relationship with the Department of Conservation, since you have taken over and how you believe the relationship can be enhanced or maintained to support the SMARA program. GK: “This is an extremely important relationship to the Board. The Department has tremendous expertise and resources, and our sister divisions within the Department; the Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR) and the California Geological Survey (CGS), are key partners. We cannot do our work without them. For example, CGS prepares the mineral classification reports that the Board relies on for making mineral designations, which are designed to conserve and protect the mineral resources of our State. This work is very important to CalCIMA, is a key piece of SMARA, and is one of the top priorities in our strategic plan. The OMR, the agency that directly works with and oversees lead agencies, really helps implement SMARA on the ground. The OMR is the eyes and ears on how the lead agencies are performing and we rely on them as a Board to get that perspective. The Board is independent and has its own view of things, but we all agree that we work best when we work as a team with the Department and its divisions. That’s how State government is supposed to function -- with good communication and a common mission among sister agencies, all focused on the public interest. This has been a key message for me as the Board Chair, and one that the Governor and the new Department of Conservation director, David Bunn, and Office of Mine Reclamation Chief, Pat Perez, who are both very strong leaders, have emphasized. We also work very well with California State Geologist, Dr. John Parish, who is an extremely experienced public servant that we are lucky to partner with.” CM: Brian Anderson is a former chairman of the CalCIMA Board and an active member of the association. He is also a member of your Board as a representative of industry. How important to the function of the Board is having a representative of industry and what strengths do you believe Mr. Anderson brings to the Board? Further, how important is it to the Board to maintain communication with stakeholders such as CalCIMA, and what benefits do these groups provide the Board? The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
GK: “Their support is critical. Whenever there is a technical question or when a technical mining issue comes up at the Board, we look to Brian, among other board members like George Kenline, for his good advice. Brian also has great humor and collegiality, which is so important to a healthy, functioning Board. We are really fortunate to have Brian on the Board. He is someone who believes in public service, and he is one of the productive and high-energy Board members that we have. Let me also say a word about CalCIMA and the role of trade associations. They have such an important role in education, creating an even playing field and furthering best practices in the industry. Brian is a very important part of that and really believes in that mission. In my own career, I see this. Although I represent many environmental nonprofits, I have also had the opportunity to represent, for over a decade, a trade association of recyclers and waste haulers here in Southern California. I have seen first-hand the value of education, technical experience, collegiality, and the voice that trade associations give to their members. I also have seen how business people struggle sometimes to understand and comply with our State’s very robust environmental laws. Our goal is compliance, so that helped give me a balanced perspective to bring to my decision-making on the Board.” CM: You have been credited with amazing energy and passion toward this Board and its mission. Can you talk a little about your style as chairman and what you would ideally like to see out of your Board during your term? GK: “When you say yes to things that are offered in life, you try and give 100 percent or you don’t do them. That’s how it is with the Board and the other opportunities I’ve had for public service. For our Board, and certainly, for the short/medium term, we will focus like a laser on our strategic plan and then measure how we’ve done against the expectations and performance standards that we set for ourselves in that plan. Certainly, a lot of that, moving forward, is going to be focused on the regulations implementing SMARA modernization. Fundamentally, I will leave the Board healthier and stronger than when I started, with a full, vibrant and engaged Board roster and dedicated staff with good leadership and common mission, and with all stakeholders seeing the Board as a professional and valued part of the SMARA law. The Board is on that path. At the core, we as a Board want to maintain the balance that SMARA represents between conserving mining lands to ensure we have a reliable local supply of minerals, while also ensuring environmental sustainability and reclamation for future generations.” 7
Smart Siting for Quarries in California- Green Energy By Suzanne Seivright, Director of Local Governmental Affairs, CalCIMA Last year, the Governor signed into law AB1034 (Obernolte), which allows for the construction of renewal energy projects on mine sites without reopening the entire operation to Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review processes. The bill was designed to promote economic development and jobs, reduce air pollution, and assist mine operators to look at opportunities for revenue and reduce energy costs. Varying sources have identified this bill as a win-win for both industry and the environment by creating an attractive location for renewable energy development. The County of San Bernardino sponsored AB 1034 (Public Law 2015-595), which adds Section 2777.3 to the Public Resources Code. This bill creates an opportunity for all mines in the state of California to more easily and costeffectively implement solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind renewable energy projects on site. George Kenline, Mining/Engineering Geologist at the County of San Bernardino explains more about AB 1034 in an interview with CalCIMA. 8
Board. Late in 2013, I returned to the County and continued with the inspection and permitting of mines, but also supported Planning in processing permits to establish new renewable energy projects.
George Kenline Mining/Engineering Geologist, County of San Bernardino
1) CalCIMA: George, thank you for joining us today to provide information to the mining industry regarding the dynamics of AB 1034. Can you tell us a little about your history with the mining industry? G. Kenline: My entire life has been around mines and connected with mining communities. After a 20-year career working for various mining and engineering companies, I joined the County of San Bernardino in 2006 to help permit and inspect the County’s mines. For an interval time, I worked at the Mountain Pass rare earth mine supervising environmental staff to ensure that the mine’s activities were in compliance with a considerable number of permits and regulations. While working at Mountain Pass, I accepted an appointment by the Governor to become a member of the State Mining and Geology
2) CalCIMA: Most of our industry would consider you an authority in relation to understanding the more trifling matters of SMARA. With that said, generally, what does a mine site encumber with a new SMARA permit and review process? And, does AB 1034 circumvent any SMARA provisions? G. Kenline: First, I don’t consider matters of SMARA as trifling. SMARA is an important regulatory framework that ensures the responsible conduct of mining while conserving California’s important mineral resources and addresses many of the concerns for environmental protection. Laws and regulations governing how we live and act in California continually require refinement as we become better-educated about the views, values and expectations of society with time. When SMARA was developed, it did not contemplate the need and use of renewable energy within mining operations. Before the enactment of AB 1034, a mine operator desiring to make significant changes to the mine permit faced the potential to reopen the entire mining [ Continued on page 10 ]
The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
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operation to SMARA and CEQA review processes. Unforeseen changes to an existing permit and the mine’s business plan is a significant disincentive for mine operators to even consider changing the operation when adding renewable energy to the mine plan. AB 1034 amended SMARA to encourage the use of renewable energy as an interim land use and the legislation limited the extent of change to an existing mining operation pursuant to SMARA and CEQA when certain criteria is met. 3) CalCIMA: It seems rare to have a single piece of legislation be universally accepted by industry, the environmental community, and public administrators. What was the response from these three entities in relation to AB 1034? G. Kenline: As you know, the legislation obtained unanimous support. Mine sites are typically in remote areas and may be ideally-located to allow the disturbed portions of the mine site to be utilized for an interim renewable energy facility. This can lessen the need to disturb pristine and environmentally-sensitive landscapes, and also reduce competition for privatelyheld lands for conservation or more robust economic development purposes. This is a palatable concept for both developers and environmental communities alike and can help reduce long-term energy costs for the mine operator as well. The County’s support of the legislation, in part, bridges the needs of all communities while looking at ways to enhance our greenhouse gas initiatives. 10
4) CalCIMA: How do projects that are ‘energized’ by AB 1034 impact the State’s renewable energy goals and efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions? G. Kenline: Generally, siting renewable energy projects can be difficult. When considering the acreage that is required, environmental setting, aesthetics of the equipment and mitigation requirements, permitting these types of projects can be challenging. There’s no question that solar and wind facilities will help our State meet its’ ‘Renewable Portfolio Standard’ by attaining its energy from renewable and sustainable sources by 2020. However, these types of projects do require significant environmental analysis before approval regardless of the apparent benefits. AB 1034 does not lesson the need for environmental analysis, but it certainly can reduce the level of impacts to a mine operator’s existing permits and mineral holdings. If it weren’t for this bill, renewable energy projects at mine sites would still be subject to an entire mine project review pursuant to SMARA and CEQA, even if only a small portion of the mine site was needed to build a solar plant. 5) CalCIMA: Some have understood this legislation to represent a shift toward satisfying concerns in local communities, by moving renewable energy projects away from areas that impact neighborhoods or untouched wilderness. From your experience, how did the local communities react to the proposal and adoption of this legislation?
G. Kenline: I believe the bill’s intent serves to mitigate some of the concerns expressed by rural communities regarding frustration with projects proposed near their towns, homes and recreational areas. Another frustration expressed by our local communities is the lack of local beneficial use of the energy resource. AB 1034 achieves said benefits by allowing these projects to be installed on disturbed mine sites and supports a local need. 6) CalCIMA: Are there any words of guidance you would like to share with the mining industry regarding this bill or in general? G. Kenline: I think the mining community should take advantage of this legislation because of its potential for economic and environmental benefits. The legislation is also considerate of the nearby communities and has additional socio-economic benefits while ensuring sustainability of a mining operation. I have learned over the years in Planning that new permits for mining operations requires community support. The next generation is looking for solutions to improve our economic condition while minimizing further greenhouse gas emissions. The mining community is constantly challenged to decarbonize their operations. Advancements in technology and efficiency are changing every day… if the costs to add renewable energy do not pencil today, don’t discount the addition to your operation in the near future.
The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
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Industry & Caltrans to Begin Joint Training Written by Charley Rea, Director of Communications & Policy, CalCIMA Industry and Caltrans will soon see the fulfillment of a long-sought goal to have sideby-side training of personnel testing aggregates, concrete, and asphalt. Although industry and Caltrans have had their own methods and standards for sampling and testing of materials, they were separate and not fully aligned with each other. This could lead to inconsistency, disagreements, and ultimately waste of
taxpayers’ dollars. Joint testing has long been seen as a way to standardize tests between industry and Caltrans, as well as physically having each in the same room, learning the same things. The joint testing goal got a boost in 2014 from California State Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly, who formed a work group to develop a Joint Training and Certification Program (JTCP). The work group developed four objectives:
① Provide highly skilled, knowledgeable materials sampling and testing technicians.
② Promote uniformity and consistency in testing.
③ Provide quality improvement.
④ Create a harmonious working atmosphere between public and private employees based upon trust, open communications, and quality of certification. The testing protocol will include soil, aggregates, concrete, and asphalt. It will be mandatory for all technicians sampling or testing on Caltrans projects. The program will be administered by Long Beach State. This means they will provide instructors, curriculum, training locations, online registration, and maintain certification records. There will be an oversight Advisory Committee consisting of personnel from Caltrans, industry, local agencies, and private laboratories. 12
The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
The Conveyor • 2016 Summer Issue
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The work group of industry and Caltrans personnel have developed course manuals for soil, aggregates, concrete, and asphalt. The initial start-up of the program will be limited to field tests. For aggregates and asphalt, the instruction will be through California State University Long Beach at designated locations. For concrete, the testing will be under the direction of California State University Long Beach but conducted by the regional chapters of the American Concrete Institute, since they already have a testing and certification program. The joint testing is expected to commence in 2017, although portions of the concrete certification will begin sooner. “Industry is excited about the inauguration of joint testing. We see potential for better understanding between industry and Caltrans, fewer delays in projects, and improved quality for our transportation system. We are encouraged by the priority Caltrans has given to this initiative,” said Pete Conlin, Quality Assurance Manager for Teichert Materials and an industry participant in the JTCP work group. “This program is designed to improve the quality of California's transportation infrastructure by providing a highly skilled and knowledgeable cadre of technicians responsible for construction materials testing,” said Al Ochoa, the JTCP
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1690 Sierra Avenue Yuba City, CA 95993
Published on Sep 23, 2016
The California Construction & Industrial Materials Association's (CalCIMA) publication proudly serving the aggregate, ready mix concrete and...