The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has identified the hardrock mining industry as a priority for planned financial responsibility requirements in regards to Superfund. Planning to propose the rule by spring 2011, the EPA requirements will be developed under section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly called “Superfund.” The priority notice identifying hardrock mining, which will be published in the Federal Register and is the first step toward developing financial assurance requirements, satisfies a court order issued by the U.S. District Court.
According to the EPA announcement, hardrock mining facilities are the first to adhere to financial responsibility requirements before other types of facilities. The reasons why EPA is zeroing in on these facilities: the sheer size; the surplus quantities of waste and other materials exposed to the environment; the wide range of hazardous substances released into the environment; the number of active hardrock mining facilities; the extent of environmental contamination, including the number of sites identified by EPA as needing cleanup under Superfund’s National Priorities List; and government expenditures, projected clean-up costs, and corporate structure and bankruptcy potential.
For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/financialresponsibility/index.html
This EPA Alert provides only general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you would like more insight into how this will effect your mine, or would like assistance in participating in the procedure, please contact your Patton Boggs LLP attorney or one of the lawyers listed.