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Roundtable Discussions

Jim Werntz, Idaho Environmental Protection Agency, reported:

  1. Budget:  As with other federal agencies, we do not yet have an approved 2018 Budget.  Significant cuts are proposed in the Administration’s proposed budget for EPA.  
  2. Appointments:  No news yet on EPA Region 10 Administrator.  This position is a White House appointed position, but does not require Congressional confirmation.
  3. Midas Gold Proposed Mine:   Currently, the USFS has initiated developing the draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS), and is collecting scoping comments from agencies and the public.  EPA is one of many agencies that are part of developing the dEIS as a “Cooperating Agency.”  On August 15, Midas Gold representatives provided a site tour to EPA, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Department of Lands, US Forest Service, and other agencies to discuss the plans for mining in the historic Stibnite mining area.  Midas Gold proposes to re-mine parts of the site, expanding the overall site footprint, and remediating and reclaiming portions of the site.
  4. Authorization of Clean Water Act NPDES Program:   Last week, EPA published (Federal Register Notice) the Idaho DEQs application to assume authorization of the NPDES program, known as the IPDES.  Public comments are being taken on the application until October 10th.  EPA will hold five public meetings in Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Boise, Lewiston, and Coeur d’Alene during the week of September 11th to receive public comment.  For more information and access to the Federal Register notice, visit EPA’s NPDES page: https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/idaho-npdes-program-authorization
  5. Riverview Construction (Orofino):   Asbestos contaminated soil that resulted from improper handling and disposal by a contractor has been capped in place at Riverview Construction, a privately owned parcel with commercial redevelopment potential.  An environmental covenant is being recorded for the Riverview Site in Orofino, which should allow the site to be sold and developed into productive use as a commercial site. 


Kellye Sharp, Idaho Department of Labor, reported:

Idaho Department of Labor is now under new leadership with an interim director as of Monday, August 7th, Paul Spannknebel, who most recently worked for the Idaho Division of Human Resources as Deputy Administrator.  Prior to that he worked 9½ years for the Department of Health & Welfare as Human Resources Administrator and Administrator of Operational Services.  He is a veteran, having served 11 years in the United States Nuclear Navy.  His initial message to agency staff is to “continue to drive the valuable programs we deliver, continuously strive for process, policy and delivery improvements, and never forget the value and importance of customer service.” 


Diane Hairston, Idaho Department of Labor, reported:

Diane’s sector strategy to business services continues in the region with the following programs:

  • WDTF (Workforce Development Training Fund) Micro Grant which supports rural community partnership projects to address immediate workforce needs for local industry.  She gave an example of one Micro Grant awarded to Community Action Partnership (CAP), Alternative Nursing Services and the Nez Perce Tribe in Kamiah which provided training to assist with retention of entry level workforce dealing with barriers related to poverty.  Funding is still available for more projects. 
  • ApprenticeshipIdaho Initiative:  a statewide campaign to educate and assist Idaho employers with learning about and setting up federal registered apprenticeships as a structured model for recruiting, training and retention of workforce.  A NIMA sponsored Manufacturing Forum in July highlighted apprenticeships and reached 15 manufacturers in the north central region. 


Shirley Biladeau, Idaho Commission for Libraries, reported:

The Idaho Commission for Libraries continues to work with public libraries in assisting with their broadband through the State EOR reimbursement and the Federal E-rate program.  ICfL just hired an additional staff person to assist Dylan Baker, Broadband Consultant, in his continuing efforts to support public libraries with funding for their broadband services, as well as training and education.