EPA’s Rushed Financial Assurance Rule Moves to OMB Despite Substantive Concerns

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 rule-making process, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the draft proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for inter-agency review.

“This is yet another example of rule-making 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 rule-making with little to no consultation from actual experts from the mining sector or financial institutions. EPA has also truncated key rule-making 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.


Story Courtesy of the National Mining Association.