Once our mountains are destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining, no one can put them back. But coal operators have a responsibility to clean up their mess. Otherwise our communities are left surrounded by toxic eyesores and polluted water.
Bonding is the process by which coal companies provide financial assurance that they will reclaim the land they have damaged by mining. Currently, weak and inconsistent laws surrounding this practice put the public at risk of having to pick up the tab for the immense destruction of mountaintop removal and other damaging coal mining practices, while the coal industry keeps the profits.
The most irresponsible approach is called self bonding; when a coal company simply promises it will reclaim our land after mining. And if the company canâ€™t clean up its mess? Then the taxpayer is left with the enormous burden of cleaning up the mess. Companies must be forced to set aside bonds for the full cost of reclamation.
The coal industry is laughing all the way to the bank, and weâ€™re left with dirty water and unstable lands.
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is taking steps to limit self bonding â€” and we need people like you to speak up to make sure the laws are as strong as possible.