On December 1, 2016, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy complied with a court order and signed a proposed Superfund rule to require facilities in the hard rock mining industry to provide financial assurance for cleanup and related environmental costs, as required by Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 42 U.S.C. § 9608(b). EPA intends the rule to provide adequate funding for CERCLA cleanups, if such work is needed at an affected facility. A pre-publication version of the rule is available for review at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-financial-responsibility.
This rule is expected by EPA and by the industry to be quite costly, between US$111 and US$171 million a year, according to EPA – more according to some industry critics. In part because of its expected cost, and in part because of its great complexity, the proposal and EPA’s decisions about the final rule are expected to be controversial.