National Mining Association Alarmed at EPA’s Flawed Financial Assurance Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Mining Association (NMA) today expressed alarm over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) introduction of new, duplicative financial assurance requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) that disregard serious flaws raised by industry experts and financial institutions.

In a process that has been continuously and needlessly rushed, EPA introduced its proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements under CERCLA Section 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry,” and offered a woefully inadequate 60-day comment period on an entirely brand new federal program, despite significant concerns voiced by states, Congress and industry, as well as repeated requests to thoughtfully consider the economic ramifications of the rule.

“This rule is unnecessary, redundant and poorly constructed, and exemplifies all the problems of rushed rulemaking from an outgoing administration,” 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, rendering this rule unnecessary.”

Throughout the process, the EPA has conducted the rulemaking with little to no consultation with actual experts from the mining sector or financial institutions. EPA has also truncated key rulemaking milestones, as evidenced by its lackluster consultation with the states on preemption of existing state programs.

The predictable result is a faulty rule that overstates potential risks and liabilities of modern mining facilities, and duplicates successful state and federal regulatory programs, leaving an exorbitant price tag on an already comprehensively regulated industry.

For more information on the proposed rule, see NMA’s video and infographic