Monday, August 15, 2016

Feds ask states to deny permits to coal companies that self-bond for reclamation

The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement last week asked states to deny permits to companies that self-bond to guarantee that mined land will be reclaimed, Ken Silverstein reports for Environmental Leader. The reason is that many financial strapped companies—Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy have all recently declared bankruptcy—are in no position to cover the insurance necessary to guarantee they clean up the sites when they are done, meaning taxpayers end up footing the bill.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says "almost $3.6 billion in self-bonds are outstanding from Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Cloud PeakEnergy and Peabody Energy,"  Silverstein writes. "Altogether, the U.S. has been working to clean up more than 500,000 acres that were abandoned before the bonding law took effect in 1977 at a cumulative cost of potentially $12 billion."

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