Advocacy Comments on Financial Responsibility Requirements for the Hardrock Mining Industry

January 19, 2017

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) submits the following comments in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements for the Hardrock Mining Industry.” The proposed rule would impose costly requirements on hardrock mines owned by small firms, without evidence that a problem exists warranting intervention. The proposal requires mines to acquire financial assurance coverage (i.e. insurance) to cover potential liabilities for releases of hazardous substances from a mine. However, these small mines are already highly regulated by robust state and Federal programs. New Federal standards risk damaging these programs which have, in recent years, effectively addressed the same issues at modern small mines. Further, EPA missed the opportunity to receive important feedback from small businesses through the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel process and did not consider less costly regulatory alternatives as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

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