Attorney General Laxalt and 13 States Intervene in Lawsuit to Defend Nevada’s Hardrock Mining Regulatory Program

June 18, 2018

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that the State of Nevada, along with 13 other states, is intervening in a Washington, D.C. federal lawsuit to defend Nevada’s state regulatory program for hardrock mining.

    Hardrock mining has long been one of the leading industries in the State of Nevada. As in most states with a significant mining industry, Nevada comprehensively regulates hardrock mining, including through the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. For example, the State of Nevada currently holds nearly $2.8 billion in financial assurances ensuring that even if a mining company becomes insolvent, reclamation and other clean-up efforts will still be funded.

      Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered whether to add additional federal bonding requirements for hardrock mining. After careful consultation and feedback—including comments from state agencies like the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection—in February of this year the EPA decided that no additional federal bonding requirement was necessary. In reaching that decision, the EPA specifically relied on the existence of state regulatory programs like Nevada’s, explaining that it “believes that preemption of state financial assurance requirements […] would be an undesirable and damaging consequence” of adding additional federal regulations.

        Special interest groups sued the EPA in federal court in Washington, D.C., arguing that the EPA must add additional federal bonding requirements. Today, Nevada has requested to intervene in that lawsuit to defend the EPA’s deference to Nevada’s state agencies.

          “The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection is a national leader in implementing strong permitting regulations and financial assurance for hardrock mining that appropriately balances environmental protection and economic growth,” said Greg Lovato, Administration, NDEP.

            “I will always stand up for Nevada,” said AG Adam Laxalt. “Hardrock mining is one of the backbone industries in the Silver State, and Nevada is already doing a great job of regulating that industry. The EPA’s deference to Nevada’s existing regulations is a great example of cooperative federalism in action, which is why Nevada, along with so many other hardrock mining states, is intervening to defend the EPA’s imminently reasonable decision.”

              Nevada is joined by the following states in this intervention: Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

                To view the filing, click here.