OPTIONS & STRATEGIES FOR LOWERING AND FUNDING PUBLIC & ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITIES OF TSF FAILURES

The following is the introduction to the summary and conclusions section of a major paper we have been collaborating on with another and far more distinguished co-author who speaks mining truths always and only with humility and quietness. So chances are if we proceed to publish our work jointly this would never pass muster. But its the language that poured out of my heart and my intellect this morning as the only moral and political compass on what the Mt. Polley TSF failure tells us about the current global management of TSF’s and the as yet unmanifested unfunded public and environmental loss exposures of current industry wide business practices. We estimate that at $2.8 billion that will be passed off to tax payers globally from the presently standing inventory of TSF’s by 2020.

The mining industry is already beginning to throw up a dust cloud of talk about dry stack as “THE SOLUTION” and resurrecting the myth of “safe” deep water disposal..that is ocean dumping and dumping in deep pristine lakes a practice that even has blessing and sanction in GARD Guide and MEND despite solid and irrefutable scientific evidence of irreversible harm( Vogt(2013 http://www.craigvogt.com/links/Mine_Tailings_Marine_and_Riverine_Disposal.pdf ) and warnings by distinguished scientists in 2009 ( Moran et. al. 2009 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgERXRfVlZiUElEUl9nX09mOEFnSjlRbDFsU2lJ/view?usp=sharing ).

The industry will agree to other fixes on which there is widespread consensus including transparency ( public access to all raw data with a bearing on public and environmental liabilities) but they will continue to call for and rely on self regulation and will continue to divert attention away from the enormous unfunded public and environmental liabilities in the world’s standing and operating TSF’s.

After two months of careful and open inquiry into the “present state” on the magnitude of public and environmental liabilities and the current available funding for that the phrase that summed it all up was from Dr. Chris Seeley via R. Buckminster Fuller.

“By “business as usual,” I mean the kind of business that is bewitched by what Dr Chris Seeley calls, in The Fool and the Great Turning, “the three impossible fantasies”: the fantasy of limitless growth; the fantasy that actions can be taken that don’t have consequences; and the fantasy that human beings are separate from, and above, the natural world”(R. Buckminster Fuller)”

In the preceding discussion we have shown that except for very large companies with big balance sheets, lots of liquidity and diversified earnings (like Grupo) few companies operating TSF’s today ( or proposing them) have the financial capacity to absorb the total public cost of environmental damage caused by “human error” and resulting in failure of a TSF. We have shown that insurance is and can be only a very tiny and insignificant part of the total cost of such a loss and that publicly ordered clean up ( eg via a compliance order, is non insurable). We have shown that no prefunding is provided via spill response programs in Canada or in most regulatory regimes and that pre funding at the level of any state or province is not actuarially possible for a TSF failure of $300 million.. In short we have shown that there presently is no funding possible for large losses despite the public expectation/demand that “polluter pays”.

All prudent and reasonable persons ( the non bewitched) would agree, we are sure. that the current situation is not acceptable and cannot continue as is.

Business as usual is not an option.

It is not in the public interest to allow the development and accrual of large unfunded public liabilities that result from human error ( ie that are as most authors have said straight forwardly, preventable). The public expectation/demand that “polluter pays“ is a fair and reasonable one, a foundational one in any democratic nation founded on common law principles. It is ordinary that individuals and corporations accept not only legal but financial responsibility for the consequences of their actions. There is nothing out of order or unreasonable in the public/expectation demand that the “polluter pays”.

The present structure in B.C. and in most political jurisdictions is that the legal structure not only tolerates but facilitates shielding of the mine operator from financial liability for the consequences of preventable losses. Otherwise, bankruptcy would be inevitable. To reduce that to its plainest truth, the present structure of mining law and regulation places a higher social value on preventing bankruptcy of mining companies than it does on environmental protection and socially and economically productive uses of tax payer dollars. The present structure of B.C. law and law in most places is that there is a de facto public subsidy for the public consequences of mining failures. The public either accepts the loss or pays for the clean up that is essential to satisfy the electorate. The present structure is not “in the public interest”.

Businsess as usual is not an option.

.

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About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with globally respected geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of gloal mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/a-new-statutory-regulatory-framework-for-responble-sulfide-mining-should-this-mine-be-built/ and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/ In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
This entry was posted in bannaism of maine, corporatocracy, craig Vogt, Dr.Chris Seeley, mining truth, Mt. Polley, plutonomy, politics of mining, polluter pays, Robert E. Moran, TSF Risk Manageent and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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