BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. appeals court panel has sided with the Trump administration, ruling that state and federal programs already in place ensure that mining companies take financial responsibility for future pollution cleanups.
The ruling Friday came after the administration was sued by environmental groups for dropping an Obama-era proposal that would have required the companies to prove they have resources to clean up pollution.
The mining industry has a legacy of companies abandoning polluted sites and leaving taxpayers to cover cleanup costs.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency said in 2017 that stricter regulations and modern mining practices have reduced the risks of pollution going unaddressed.
Under former President Barack Obama, the agency determined the opposite, saying that mining pollution remains an ongoing concern.