Protect Water Quality Adverse Mining Impacts
Current law does not address reliance on perpetual water treatment as the means to minimize impacts to water quality in a reclamation plan for a mining operation. Section 1 of the bill requires most reclamation plans to demonstrate, by substantial evidence, an end date for any water quality treatment necessary to ensure compliance with applicable water quality standards.
Current law allows a mining permittee to submit an audited financial statement as proof that the operator has sufficient funds to meet its reclamation liabilities in lieu of a bond or other financial assurance. Section 2 eliminates this self-bonding option and also requires that all reclamation bonds include financial assurances in an amount sufficient to protect water quality, including costs for any necessary treatment and monitoring costs.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)