Nevada Mining Association is environmentally conscious

Nevada Mining Association is environmentally conscious

Nevada Mining Association is environmentally conscious

Nevada miners take environmental stewardship seriously, and environmental commitment to our communities is a cornerstone on which responsible modern mining is built.   

The Nevada Mining Association spent much of 2017 working to combat a potential federal rule that, had it been adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would have more than doubled bonding costs for Nevada’s mines. In its own analysis of the proposal, the EPA concluded that the costs to miners would far outweighed the benefits to the public.  

Fortunately, reason prevailed, and the EPA determined, after reviewing thousands of pages of public comments from across Nevada and the West, that no such rule was necessary. Extreme anti-mining groups responded predictably, threatening additional lawsuits to circumvent the federal rulemaking process and force their agenda on mining communities.

Threats like these expose a deep misunderstanding of the EPA’s role in regulating the mining industry. The EPA clearly stated that the decision does not affect the federal agency’s authority to take appropriate actions, if necessary. Such threats also expose a deep misunderstanding of Nevada’s complex and modern regulatory structure. Over the past 40 years, the State of Nevada has established robust rules to protect the State’s air, water, and land and instituted vigorous enforcement of those rules.   

One example is Nevada’s successful bonding program to protect the people’s interest in post-mining land use. Under Nevada laws, a miner must post bonds large enough to reclaim the lands on which they operate before the operation begins. This program, in place since 1989, guarantees Nevadans that a company will not irresponsibly abandon a site after mining has conclude. Today, the State of Nevada holds $2.78 billion in reclamation bonds, specifically there to guarantee responsible, post-mining reclamation processes. There is no clearer indication of mines’ commitment to environmental sustainability than this:  In the 29 years since this program was created, the State has had to cash in only one bond – and it was eventually repaid.

But we know from experience that many of those anti-mining groups are not interested in a responsible balance of regulation and operation. Instead, they want to drive up costs to delay new projects and derail existing projects. They seek to compel companies to come up with tens of millions of dollars in additional funding and, in the process, stop new projects, put marginal projects at risk, and force existing projects to divert resources away from operational areas. Such activities also threaten to destabilize mining communities and adversely constrain the nation’s domestic mineral sources.     

Nevada’s 21st century mining industry has many examples of responsible stewardship of the land on which we operate. In addition to bonding for the possibility of adverse post-mining impacts, Nevada’s mines strictly comply with federal and state environmental laws, initiate habitat restoration projects, and help restore fire-ravaged landscapes. 

Despite the clear evidence that mining production can co-exist with environmental sustainability, certain anti-mining organizations will persist in pushing an extreme agenda. They rely on misinformation, political games, and lawsuits in their attempts to force mines out of business. The Nevada Mining Association will continue to work hard to diligently counter inaccurate statements, protest ill-advised regulations, and champion Nevada’s responsible modern mining industry.