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How can EPA best reach out to communities interested in proposed financial responsibility requirements for hardrock mining?

2011 June 30

EPA is in the process of developing a proposed rule that would establish financial responsibility requirements for classes of facilities within the hardrock mining industry. Past releases of hazardous substances into the environment from hardrock mining facilities have required complicated and costly cleanup activities necessary to protect public health and the environment. Financial responsibility requirements help ensure that owners and operators of the facilities – and not the taxpayers – foot the bill for environmental cleanups.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Oliver Paladin of permalink
    June 30, 2011

    All Community Outreach should begin with the local government officials. To sidestep the democratically elected local government officials and engage directly with Community Groups is “bad form”.

  2. ZiZi Searles of EPA-R9 permalink
    July 1, 2011

    EPA should partner with community groups first before approaching the community themselves. I say this because many mining communities are conservative leaning and suspicious of the EPA. EPA should first attempt to collect information about people’s understanding of the problem and thoughts on the proposed solution. If a community group is not readily availible the EPA should consider dispatching a few students to the community to lay the groundwork for the discussion. These students could be found through a university partnership. They could go into the community like journalists to learn people’s concerns and opinions of the concept. They would identify community leaders, observe nuances of culture, and propose the most effective way to engage the population.

    After information is collected EPA’s community outreach efforts can begin. The EPA is a high profile federal agency. When the EPA shows up what people have to say and think changes based on pre-concieved ideas one may have about the Agency and the scope of EPA’s power. The idea of partnering with a community group or University first allows the EPA to ‘know’ the community before engaging in a dialouge. I believe this approach would make for more effective conversations. We should utilize the tools of the social sciences to help us accomplish our mandate.

  3. Greg Conrad of Interstate Mining Compact Commission permalink
    July 5, 2011

    EPA should consider working with and through state government agencies that already have established relationships with many community groups due to the primary regulatory role that the states exercise under national environmental laws. This is particularly true with regard to financial responsibility requirements, most of which are currently contained in state regulatory programs.

  4. Gwen Campbell of 8EPR-F (R8 Mining Team) permalink
    July 5, 2011

    I recommend targeting several communities near active mining operations over several regions. It would be a good idea to contact both the local government(s) and community groups, such as watershed groups at the same time. This could also help provide information on community concerns. An educational meeting open to the public with plenty of time for questions should be offered.
    Regional involvement would be important because we may know the community or be able to assist with communications, outreach and follow-up. Follow-up with these groups separately would be an important component as we may be able to hear more specific concerns from differing entities perspectives.

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