- Press Releases
- NMA: EPA’s Rushed Financial Assurance Rule Moves to OMB Despite Substantive Concerns from Industry, States, Congress and Others
October 11, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Mining Association (NMA) today raised serious concerns about proposed regulations that impose a new layer of financial assurance requirements on the hardrock mining industry. Despite a growing chorus of concerns voiced by states, Congress and industry, as well as repeated requests to not rush the rulemaking process, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the draft proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review.
“This is yet another example of rulemaking in search of a problem. It will cost companies tens of millions of dollars—or more—in addition to duplicating existing financial obligations already committed through state and federal mining reclamation and closure programs,” said NMA president and CEO Hal Quinn. “Current programs already address the risks of mining and mineral processing sites, and prevent these sites from becoming a Superfund liability.”
Throughout the process, the EPA has conducted the rulemaking with little to no consultation from actual experts from the mining sector or financial institutions. EPA has also truncated key rulemaking milestones, such as its lackluster consultation with the states on preemption of existing state programs, and shortchanged small businesses by refusing to share important details of the rule that were necessary to effectively judge the likely economic impacts and provide alternative regulatory options to minimize them.
Instead of listening to these stakeholders, EPA moved forward with a faulty rule that overstates potential risks and liabilities of modern mining facilities, and duplicates successful state and federal regulatory programs. The result is an exorbitant price tag on an already comprehensively regulated industry.
What others are saying:
- EPA’s consultation with state partners has “not been transparent, participatory, or collaborative.” Western Governors’ Association letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
- EPA should request an extension from the court instead of rushing the rulemaking and compromising small business consultation. Chairmen David Vitter, Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, and James Inhofe, Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
- The rule will result in the imposition of billions of dollars in unnecessary costs on the mining industry and preempt and duplicate existing state and federal authorities and financial assurance programs for mining. House National Resources Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee chairmen letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
- Imposing duplicative financial assurance requirements on the hard rock mining industry will improperly hamper effective state programs. Western Governors’ Association letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
- The “states are concerned that EPA may be attempting to fill alleged ‘gaps’ in state reclamation programs” that do not exist. Interstate Mining Compact Commission Resolution.