NWF Welcomes Feds’ Landmark Guidance on Coal-Mine Bonding

Interior Recommends States Crack Down On Companies’ Self-bonding

Washington, DC –The Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has taken the significant step of recommending that states stop allowing coal companies to “self-bond,” essentially pledge they have the money to clean up sites and restore the land without having to provide collateral to cover the costs.

This crucial guidance comes as concern is growing that the coal industry’s current economic crisis will leave American taxpayers with a clean-up tab of $3 billion-plus and public lands vital for fish and wildlife as well as fishing, hunting and recreation won’t be restored, said Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO.

“Sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts applaud the Department of Interior for taking an important step toward protecting our public lands by ending the failed practice of allowing companies to ‘self-bond’ their own clean-up obligations,” O’Mara said. “By issuing a guidance asking states to end this practice, Interior has recognized that many companies do not have sufficiently strong balance sheets to fulfill their obligations to fund the reclamation of disturbed land and water, upon which wildlife and outdoor recreationists depend.  In order to protect taxpayers from bearing the high costs of cleanup and reclamation, states should follow this guidance and require companies to obtain third-party financial assurance for mining reclamation requirements.”

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