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Environment

EPA To Require Mines To Offer Cleanup Assurances

coal_mining_parolan_harahap.jpg
Parolan Harahap
/
Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to require mining companies to show they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution so taxpayers aren't stuck footing the bill.

Friday's announcement follows a 2015 court order for the agency to enforce a long-ignored provision in the 1980 federal Superfund law.

The requirement would apply to hard rock mining, which includes mines for precious metals and other ores.

The EPA spent $1.1 billion on cleanup work at abandoned hard rock mining and processing sites from 2010 to 2014. Companies can avoid cleanup costs by declaring bankruptcy.

The National Mining Association says the new rule is unnecessary because existing programs prevent mines from becoming Superfund sites.

The EPA is considering similar actions for additional industries including chemical manufacturing, power generation and petroleum refining.

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