Murkowski Welcomes EPA’s Decision Not to Impose Duplicative Mining Regulation

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to not impose duplicative and burdensome financial assurance regulations on hardrock mines under the Superfund statute. EPA’s decision properly recognizes concerns raised by Congress, states, and small businesses, both well before and after the Obama administration released the draft CERCLA 108(b) rule in December 2016, as well as the strong requirements already in place at the state and federal levels to protect the environment.

“I’m pleased the EPA took all of the facts into consideration and decided against imposing new, duplicative, and burdensome financial assurance requirements for hardrock mines,” Murkowski said. “Significant requirements are already in place at both the state and federal levels to ensure resources are available for mine cleanup and environmental protection. Today’s decision will protect mining jobs, our nation’s mineral security, and help ensure we can responsibly access the materials needed for our national defense, manufacturing, and other high-tech industries.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have statutory responsibility for the development and administration of financial assurance requirements for hardrock mines on federal lands and have had requirements in place since 1981 and 1974, respectively. Both agencies often re-assess the sufficiency of existing financial assurances. In addition to these requirements, states have generally promulgated analogous standards for hardrock mines on non-federal lands. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy made clear that the Obama administration’s 2016 draft rule would “impose costly requirements on hardrock mines owned by small firms, without evidence that a problem exists warranting intervention.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee. She has strongly opposed EPA’s CERCLA 108(b) regulations since the Obama administration began work on them in 2011. The agency previously released an unworkable draft rule in December 2016. 

Related Issues: Energy