WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Dec. 2 that it will take action to protect U.S. taxpayers by proposing financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining industry.
The decision comes after a court order and congressional directive under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
The EPA’s proposal would require owners and operators of hardock mining sites to show the financial ability to address any hazardous substance risks that arise at their locations. The EPA spent $1.1 billion on cleanup operations at hardrock mining sites between 2010 and 2014. The proposal is next in a series of incremental steps taken by the EPA to address contamination issues at hardrock mining sites.
“Far too often the American people bear the costs of expensive environmental cleanups stemming from hardrock mining and mineral processing,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.
“This proposed rule, once finalized, would move the financial burden from taxpayers, and ensure that industry assumes responsibility for these cleanups. The proposed rule would also give companies an economic incentive to use environmentally protective practices that can help prevent future releases.”