News Releases from Headquarters›Office of the Administrator (AO)
Administrator Pruitt Tours Coeur’s Rochester Mine
Pershing County, NV – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt toured Coeur's Rochester mine and visited with hardrock miners.
“Today, I had the privilege of meeting with hardrock miners in Nevada and seeing firsthand how the industry and state cultivate their important energy resources while protecting the environment and public health,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “In December, EPA put an end to an Obama-era proposal that would have imposed duplicative and unnecessary regulations on the hardrock mining industry.”
On December 1, 2017, EPA announced it would not finalize the previous administration's proposed financial assurance rule under CERCLA section 108(b). The weight of the evidence before EPA supported the conclusion that current mining practices and existing regulatory requirements at the federal and state level have already minimized risks and thus CERCLA financial responsibility requirements are not necessary.
“Nevada’s mining regulatory structure is a national model and it was a privilege to welcome Administrator Pruitt to the Coeur Rochester mine so he could see the operation and learn more about the state’s mine bonding and enforcement program. I am grateful for Administrator Pruitt’s thoughtful approach and thorough review of the proposed rule, maintaining an open dialogue with my office and ultimately, for making the right decision. Today’s tour gave the state an opportunity to share how our bonding process accomplishes both goals of protecting public safety and our environment and allowing the mining industry to flourish,” said Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV).
“Silver and gold is used in countless applications, such as the silver and gold produced by Coeur Rochester and at our other operations. These minerals are critical for the US technology, defense, clean energy, health, and communication sectors. The silver from Rochester may be found in solar panels producing clean, renewable energy, and in electronics common to everyday uses. Under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA recognizes that modern mining regulations are comprehensive, and that existing protections under current state and federal mining programs do not justify a duplicative financial assurance program administered under CERCLA. We applaud this common sense decision,” said Coeur Rochester Mine President and Chief Executive Officer Mitchell J. Krebs.
EPA’s CERCLA section 108(b) decision was based on a thorough review of the record, including the nearly 11,000 public comments, and involved a detailed examination of case studies that found limited examples where currently operating mines had a release to the environment that required a federal response.
Coeur’s Rochester Mine is located on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and would therefore already be subject to financial assurance requirements under BLM regulations. EPA determined that the risks associated with hardrock mining have been effectively minimized due to state environmental and financial assurance programs like Nevada’s as well as existing federal requirements. EPA estimated that proposed rule would have applied to 221 facilities nationwide, with Nevada having the most regulated facilities (45).
EPA's review of the proposed rule highlighted the unnecessary and duplicative nature of the proposed rule. The Agency estimated the proposed rule would require $7 billion in financial responsibility, which would cost the mining industry between $111 and $171 million annually to secure and maintain. These additional costs could have negatively impacted hardrock mining jobs across the country, including those 200 employed by Coeur's Rochester mine.