MCEA Staff blog regularly about current environmental issues and how they relate to MCEA's work.
The original federal Superfund law back in 1980 directed the EPA to promulgate regulations governing financial assurance. Industries with high pollution potential would have to provide financial assurance sufficient to protect taxpayers and the environment and to avoid creating an incentive for companies to abandon polluted sites knowing that they would not have to pay for cleanup.
The EPA did nothing on this for 30 years. They finally got sued, responded by saying they were working on it, identified hard rock mining as the first industry on which they would do rules, and then EPA went dark again. Last week, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals entered a new consent order, directing the EPA to commence the rule making process for hard rock mining by December 1, 2016 and have rules in place by December 1, 2017. That's good and we can hope that federal rules will set a high standard below which Minnesota rules on financial assurance cannot fall.