"A leading U.S. coal regulator announced plans on Tuesday to toughen what it called "out-of-date" rules for guaranteeing mine cleanups.
The Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement said it would start working with U.S. state regulators to modify rules on self-bonding, a decades-old program that allowed healthy coal companies to post promissory notes instead of collateral to guarantee returning disturbed land to its natural setting.
"There is no money behind that promise to make sure the land is restored," Joe Pizarchik, who heads the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement, said in a video posted by his agency on YouTube. (here)
Critics have said current self-bonding rules are harmful because they leave taxpayers exposed to billions of dollars of environmental liabilities if a coal producer fails to comply with its legal obligation to clean up pits."