EPA Declines to Impose CERCLA Financial Assurance Regulations on Hardrock Mining

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a final action declining to impose financial assurance regulations on the hardrock mining industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This proposal was directed at managing the financial cost of hardrock mining, particularly the cost of cleanup in situations where the …

United States May Be Liable as an “Owner”, but not as an “Arranger”, at Former Mining Sites on Federal Property

In a decision that opens the door for Superfund claims against the United States on Forest Service and BLM lands, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the United States federal government may be liable for clean-up costs at former mining sites located on federal land.  In Chevron Mining, Inc. v. United States, …

Chevron Deference in Arizona?

In Arizona, like in Washington, a debate is unfolding about how courts should determine “questions of law”, and whether an agency’s construction of statutes is entitled to deference by the courts.  Some refer to this deference as Chevron Deference, stemming from a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The recent confirmation proceedings of Justice Neil Gorsuch triggered a spirited debate among policy makers and opinion writers about whether an agency’s reading of its statutes should be given any weight …

U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources Discusses Expedited Permitting for Mines

Good news for infrastructure, including mining projects!  On March 21st, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources chaired by Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) held a hearing on infrastructure and discussed permitting timeline delays in the U.S.  Notably, Gosar stated: “Aggregates such as crushed stone, sand and gravel are the literal foundation of many of …

Hardrock Mining Financial Assurance Rule Goes to the White House for Review—December 1st Deadline Approaching

EPA’s proposed rule for CERCLA financial assurance for hardrock mining went to the White House last week for OMB review as the December 1st publication deadline set by the D.C. Circuit rapidly approaches. Section 108(b) of CERCLA directs EPA to develop requirements that classes of facilities establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility consistent with the degree and duration …

With Setback Regulation Looming, Wyoming Businesses Take Heed

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of Wyoming Business Report. Now that the Wyoming legislature in its general session, a pending regulatory issue bears noting as some believe it may soon end up on the legislature’s docket.  The ongoing debate over oil and gas “setback” regulations has created enough stir of late …

Update on EPA’s Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

As we highlighted here a couple of months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule in March that could significantly expand the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). While EPA claims the rule is needed to clarify the scope of the CWA, most regulated businesses have …