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Reader's View: More mining financial assurance redundant

The Dec. 4 article, "EPA reverses rule requiring mine cleanup money," seemed misleading to me and possibly inaccurate in several places.

For example, the story repeatedly stated that financial assurance is designed to help with "legacy cleanup costs." This is incorrect, in my view. The Environmental Protection Agency's announcement was regarding financial-assurance requirements for today's mining industry. It had nothing to do with legacy cleanup issues. Where legacy issues exist, they are decades or generations old and originated when today's strict environmental regulations were not in place.

Today, no new mines can be approved under either existing state or federal laws and regulations without first furnishing financial assurance to ensure cleanup funds are available if needed. And since 1990, zero mines approved by federal land-management agencies have become a taxpayer liability under Superfund.

In making its announcement, the EPA recognized that additional regulation would be redundant. Minnesota, much like other mining states, already implements rules that thoroughly cover the same risks contemplated under EPA's proposed rule.

Simply put, this would have been a duplication of regulations the state's mines already comply with, through a rule designed for problems that do not exist in today's mining industry.

Hal Quinn

Washington, D.C.

The writer is the CEO of the National Mining Association (nma.org), which advocates on behalf of America's mining and minerals resources.