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CERCLA Financial Responsibility Position
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The members of the Industrial Minerals Association - North America (IMA-NA) applaud the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) decision to exclude the majority of industrial minerals from the priority classes of facilities for development of financial responsibility assurances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund.  Industrial minerals are a safe and clean use of natural resources, and public health and environmental integrity are paramount interests of our member companies.  These realities are recognized in EPA’s exclusion decision.

On July 28, 2009, the EPA issued in the Federal Register a Priority Notice of Action titled "Identification of Priority Classes of Facilities for Development of CERCLA Section 108(b) Financial Responsibility Requirements.”  The Notice states that the EPA has identified the hardrock mining industry as a class which must establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility under CERCLA.  Hardrock mining facilities are defined as those which extract, beneficiate or process metals and non-metallic, non-fuel minerals.  However, the Notice references a memorandum which makes exemptions to this broad classification.  The memorandum states that the EPA considered a variety of data, including annual amounts released, number of facilities, physical size, extent of environmental contamination, number of sites on the CERCLA site inventory, government expenditures, projected clean up expenditures and corporate structure.  The result of this evaluation excluded a majority of industrial minerals.  

Not included specifically on the exemption list are the industrial minerals talc, wollastonite and barite.  IMA-NA encourages the EPA also to include these industrial minerals, and further to exclude industrial minerals as a class from the priority classes of facilities.

Industrial minerals are the ingredients for many of the products used in everyday life, and our companies and the people they employ are proud of their industry and the socially responsible methods they use to deliver these beneficial resources.  Industrial minerals are essential to our way of life, a smart utilization of resources and beneficial to society.  Industrial minerals extraction processes are clean and efficient, and they avoid the negative aspects of many types of mining such as heavy chemical use and mountain-top removal. 

IMA-NA members take mine site reclamation very seriously.  Our members both have self-funded and received grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their beyond-compliance efforts in restoring mine sites for the benefit of endangered species.  They also have partnered with nonprofit groups such as the Wildlife Habitat Council to ensure that mine site closure and restoration are accomplished using state-of-the-art techniques that benefit the environment and the community.

IMA-NA is a trade association created to advance the interests of North American companies that extract or process industrial minerals used throughout the manufacturing and agricultural industries.  Our members are committed to socially responsible extraction of minerals resources.  IMA-NA stands ready to participate constructively in this important discussion regarding the exemption of industrial minerals from the CERCLA financial responsibility requirement.