Current law does not address reliance on perpetual water treatment as the means to minimize impacts to water quality in a reclamation plan for a mining operation. Section 1 of the bill requires most reclamation plans to demonstrate, by substantial evidence, a reasonably forseeable end date for any water quality treatment necessary to ensure compliance with applicable water quality standards.
Current law allows a mining permittee to submit an audited financial statement as proof that the operator has sufficient funds to meet its reclamation liabilities in lieu of a bond or other financial assurance. Section 2 eliminates this self-bonding option and also requires that all reclamation bonds include financial assurances in an amount sufficient to protect water quality, including costs for any necessary treatment and monitoring costs.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)