On December 1 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its decision on its proposed regulations for financial responsibility requirements for hard rock mining and mineral processing facilities. According to the EPA, it decided not to issue final regulations because the agency determined that final regulations were inappropriate based on the EPA's interpretation of the statute and its analysis of its record developed for this rulemaking.

In late 2016 the EPA proposed to require hard rock mines – which extract hard metals such as gold, copper, iron and zinc – to obtain Superfund financial assurances to cover any necessary clean-up. The EPA issued the proposal in response to an order that had required the EPA to decide whether to issue financial assurance regulations by December 1 2017 (In re: Idaho Conservation League (DC Cir January 29 2016)).

Environmental non-governmental organisations have stated that they will likely challenge the agency's decision.

For further information on this topic please contact Samuel B Boxerman, Terence T Healey or Kenneth W Irvin at Sidley Austin LLP office by telephone (+1 202 736 8000) or email (sboxerman@sidley.com, thealey@sidley.com or kirvin@sidley.com). The Sidley Austin LLP website can be accessed at www.sidley.com.

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