Federal Regulators Issue First-Ever 'Policy Advisory' to Coal States
In an unprecedented move, this week the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement issued a Policy Advisory to any states that issue self-bonding permits to coal mining companies.
Whenever a coal company wants to mine in West Virginia regulatory agencies require legally binding corporate promises that the company will be able to afford to cleanup disturbed land. These self-bonding promises require no collateral and federal regulators say with the changing economic landscape- it’s a risky practice.
The advisory recommends reviewing the financials of any company seeking a permit, as well as possibly holding off altogether on these permits until at least 2021 when market conditions are predicted to stabilize. There are also warnings regarding spin-off companies, suggesting no permits be issued unless a company is at least 5 years old.
West Virginia is one of 19 states that allows self-bonding.