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EPA Releases Mining Sector Snapshot

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EPA Releases Mining Sector Snapshot

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released an interactive, web-based tool showcasing the mining sector’s economic contributions and environmental performance. During the last three years, EPA has developed several “sector snapshots” under the agency’s “Smart Sectors Program.” According to EPA, “the sector snapshots employ a novel approach by assembling a range of environmental and economic data from different publicly-available sources to provide an integrated, easy–to–understand overview for each sector over the last 20 years.” EPA’s press release, which quotes National Mining Association (NMA) CEO Rich Nolan, is available here. NMA’s press release applauding the release of the mining sector snapshot is available here.

In 2018, EPA approached NMA on the agency’s plans to develop the mining sector snapshot. At that time, EPA proposed a single snapshot combining economic contributions and environmental performance data for metal, coal, and non-metallic mineral mining. NMA convinced the agency that this approach was significantly flawed given that each sector has unique data and information and therefore should be showcased separately. EPA agreed and developed a separate coal and metal mining snapshot.

You can view the different trend lines by selecting “coal” or “metal” under the interactive graph.

NMA also improved EPA’s web-based tool in several ways. First, NMA wrote the snapshot introduction to ensure an accurate description of the industry. Second, NMA provided employment and other economic data, which can be viewed by selecting the icons above the interactive graph. Finally, NMA identified the “events” that populate the interactive graph (e.g., regulations or policies that impacted the industry).

We encourage companies to view the mining snapshot and the trend lines for your sector. The majority of the trend lines show improvement over the years. However, because EPA relied largely on Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, some trend lines show little change due to the fact that TRI data is significantly flawed as applied to the mining sector and does not reflect the true environmental performance of the industry.

If you have any questions regarding the mining sector snapshot, please contact: tbridgeford@nma.org


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