May 7, 2018 Read More →

Push to End Self-Bonding in Wyoming Picks Up Speed

The Sheridan Press:

The Powder River Basin Resource Council has submitted a petition to the [Wyoming] Department of Environmental Quality to end self-bonding for coal companies in the state, contributing to mounting pressure against the practice.

Federal law requires coal companies to secure bonds that will guarantee the costs to restore the land a mine occupies if that mine closes. Self-bonding allows companies to use its own assets to guarantee the funds for land restoration.

PRBRC Executive Director Jill Morrison said the group decided to organize the petition after the Land Quality Advisory Board voted to send a set of rules that would have limited self-bonding back for revisions. The rules were drafted by the Department of Environmental Quality, which is currently working on a revised draft. 

The petition PRBRC filed is far stricter than the rules the Land Quality Advisory Board voted to amend; it would eliminate self-bonding altogether in Wyoming and require that 25 percent of a coal-mine operator’s bond be a cash bond. Morrison acknowledged that her group’s proposed changes may not be adopted, but PRBRC wanted to contribute to the argument for limiting self-bonding in the state.

Critics of the practice argue that it puts taxpayers and landowners adjacent to a mine at risk — if a coal mine closes because a company goes bankrupt or into forfeiture, the assets that company used to guarantee cleanup costs may be unavailable.

More: PRBRC Petitions To End Self Bonding

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