The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it would not uphold an Obama-era rule requiring hard-rock mining companies to pay to clean up their mines.
The regulation forced companies that mine for non-coal minerals including gold, copper, and lead to bear the financial responsibility for cleaning up any abandoned mines—a cost that often falls to the federal government if the companies declare bankruptcy.
Republicans sided with representatives of the mining industry, who claimed the increased regulation was redundant, according to a report from the Hill.
"Additional financial assurance requirements are unnecessary and would impose an undue burden on this important sector of the American economy and rural America, where most of these mining jobs are based," said EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.
National Mining Association President Hal Quinn championed the decision, saying, "Today's action shows that reason can prevail."