Friday, July 27, 2018

Feds scrap policy for mining and drilling cleanup costs

This week the Bureau of Land Management announced that it will scrap a longstanding policy that requires drillers and miners to pay to offset damage caused by their activities on federally owned lands. "A new memorandum published Tuesday by BLM, a division of the Interior Department that manages 245 million acres of land or about one-tenth of the nation's landmass, seeks to strike the practice entirely," Dino Grandoni reports for The Washington Post.

"Except where the law specifically requires, the BLM must not require compensatory mitigation from public land users," the memo reads. "While the BLM, under limited circumstances, will consider voluntary proposals for compensatory mitigation, the BLM will not accept any monetary payment to mitigate the impacts of a proposed action." The memo also says that the BLM should not authorize any activity that will cause "unnecessary or undue degredation."

Grandoni reports that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke criticized the practice of compensatory mitigation in a June speech for the Western Governors Association, saying "Some people would call it extortion . . . I call it un-American."

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