Trump: Why Worry About Cleaning Up Toxic Mines?

Trump: Why Worry About Cleaning Up Toxic Mines? December 4, 2017

Mining is one of the most environmentally destructive activities there is, so true to form Donald Trump wants to make sure companies that get rich from it don’t have to bother with pesky little things like cleaning up their mess when they’re done. They’ve eliminated rules requiring companies to show they have the financing to complete even the minimal cleanup the law requires.


President Donald Trump’s administration announced Friday that it won’t require mining companies to prove they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution, despite an industry legacy of abandoned mines that have fouled waterways across the U.S.

The move came after mining groups and Western-state Republicans pushed back against a proposal under former President Barack Obama to make companies set aside money for future cleanup costs.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said modern mining practices and state and federal rules already in place adequately address the risks from mines that are still operating.

Requiring more from mining companies was unnecessary, Pruitt said, and “would impose an undue burden on this important sector of the American economy and rural America, where most of these jobs are based.”

The U.S. mining industry has a long history of abandoning contaminated sites and leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for cleanups. Thousands of shuttered mines leak contaminated water into rivers, streams and other waterways, including hundreds of cases in which the EPA has intervened, sometimes at huge expense.

There are currently 139 abandoned mines on the list of Superfund sites and that’s not all of them (some have already been cleaned up, at taxpayer expense, while others didn’t get that designation but are still highly polluting). Rivers, streams and lakes, not to mention groundwater, gets the leached toxic substances in them and we all suffer for it. But hey, let’s just let companies get rich and leave taxpayers footing the bill for the cleanup. Capitalism for the rich, socialism for everyone else.

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