The Latest: Mining industry backs Trump over pollution rule

BILLINGS, Mont. — The Latest on a legal challenge to the Trump administration's reversal of a proposal to make mining companies prove they can pay for future pollution cleanups (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

The mining industry says it will intervene on behalf of the Trump administration in a lawsuit that seeks to revive an Obama-era rule requiring companies to prove they can clean up their pollution.

National Mining Association Vice President Ashley Burke says the proposed rule would have placed an unnecessary financial burden on companies.

Burke says modern mining practices and regulations already in place sufficiently address pollution from extracting "hardrock" minerals such as copper and gold.

The Sierra Club and other groups on Wednesday asked a federal court to review last year's decision by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to drop the Obama administration proposal.

The rule was intended to stop companies from abandoning mine sites without cleaning up their pollution, a longstanding problem in the industry.

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9 a.m.

Environmental groups are challenging the Trump administration's rejection of an Obama-era rule that would have required mining companies to prove they have enough money to clean up pollution.

The Idaho Conservation League, Earthworks and other groups on Wednesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to review last year's move to drop the rule.

Earthjustice Attorney Amanda Goodin says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action leaves taxpayers responsible for pollution that fouls waterways and endangers public health.

Mining industry representatives pushed hard to kill the rule.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt agreed with their argument that modern mining poses less risk for pollution despite a legacy of taxpayer-funded mine cleanups.

Under former President Barack Obama, the agency determined the opposite — that mining pollution remains an ongoing concern.

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