The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to impose new duplicative financial assurance requirements on hardrock mines under section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
“AEMA (American Exploration and Mining Association) and its members welcome the court’s decision to reject environmental groups’ challenge of EPA’s final action not to enforce duplicative financial assurance requirements,” said AEMA Executive Director Mark Compton. “This decision represents a significant victory for the hardrock mining industry and confirms that the comprehensive spectrum of federal and state regulatory programs already in place fully address financial assurance requirements and substantially reduce the environmental risks associated with mining.”
Environmental activists pushed for mandates, believing that the EPA had a responsibility under CERCLA to require financial assurances for hardrock mining sites. The EPA under former President Barack Obama’s administration decided to consider financial assurance requirements for hardrock mining. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt struck down the rules as he believed they were unnecessary and would impose an undue burden on the mining business. The D.C. Circuit found the EPA’s interpretation was reasonable.