Interior Secretary says struggling coal companies cannot avoid cleanup liabilities

The ailing coal industry must face the costs of cleaning up spent mines even as companies get pushed toward bankruptcy, the U.S. Interior Secretary said on Tuesday.

The mining industry is responsible for restoring old mine sites but a taxpayer subsidy called “self bonding” has allowed some of the largest companies to forego a large share of cleanup insurance.

Bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources and Creve Coeur-based Arch Coal have sought to jettison cleanup liabilities in bankruptcy court and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said officials will not tolerate such maneuvers.

“Even at a time of financial distress, it is still the responsibilities of these companies to do the reclamation that they signed up for,” Jewell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “We need to make sure that those companies are held accountable.”

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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