Federal appeals court upholds Obama-era silica rules

Dec. 27, 2017
Federal appeals court upholds Obama-era silica rules that impact construction and oilfield operations

Stephen E Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, released the following statement regarding the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision to uphold Obama-era federal silica rules as part of an association-backed legal challenge to the measure:

"It is disappointing that the appeals court has decided to allow the misguided federal silica rules to proceed despite the many legitimate concerns we and other groups raised about the measure. (This) decision underscores just how difficult it is to overturn federal regulations, even one as deeply flawed as this measure. That is why we have long cautioned our members to take every possible step to comply with this measure instead of gambling on a long-shot legal victory.

 "Our intention from day one has been to find a way to continue reducing exposure to, and illness from, silica. While we never disagreed with federal officials' motives, we have long felt that the Obama administration's silica rule would do little to improve workplace health and safety and that better approaches did, and do, exist.

"Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with federal officials to make improvements to this measure and how it is enforced in a way that leads to the meaningful safety and health improvements all of us seek. And we will continue to provide our members with resources and support as they work to comply with the measure. In particular, we will continue working to stimulate the development of new technology that will enable firms to comply with standards that exceed current technological capacity.”