October 31, 2017 Read More →

Administration Considers Easing Cleanup-Bonding Restrictions on 3 Recently Bankrupt U.S. Coal Giants

SNL:

Limits on coal company self-bonding will be reconsidered by the Trump administration and possibly rescinded or revoked, the U.S. Department of Interior wrote in a recent report.

Interior highlighted potential reversals of Obama administration initiatives in a report responding to an executive order calling for a review of actions that potentially burden domestic energy. One of its targets is an Obama-era policy advisory issued August 2016 in response to bankruptcies of three major coal firms holding approximately $2.5 billion of unsecured or noncollateralized self-bonds guaranteeing reclamation of mined lands. The policy urged discretion and to not accept new or additional self-bonds for any permit until markets reach an equilibrium.

All three of those coal companies have now completed bankruptcy restructurings, and Interior said it will reconsider the scope of its U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or OSMRE, policy advisory and revise or rescind it “where appropriate.”

Opponents of the practice worry the public could get stuck with cleanup costs if a company becomes insolvent.

More ($): Trump administration giving self-bonding at coal operations another look

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