In the spirit of progress and against my conservationist leanings, a compromise with myself if you will, I would be more supportive of mining activity if two major protections were in place:
1.) An assurance of settling pool integrity under seismic and flood activity by way of redundancy and active monitoring by company and state employees until eventual shutdown and reclamation.
2.) A reclamation bonding system where the company is required to provide assurance of meeting its reclamation requirement by the purchase and maintenance of a prepaid bond, insuring the state for the cost of the reclamation should the company be unable. This bond would have to be underwritten by an international bank with assets large enough to meet its insuring payoff obligation should it occur.
Yes, there are a few good players in the extraction industries, but history has shown time and again that they are indeed few. The vast numbers of questionable players have written terrible destruction to certain areas of our country, and often putting lives in jeopardy - sometimes by devastating natural forces and sometimes by sheer recklessness. Point being, damage is done, and typically at a cost to the public in lives lost, property destroyed and treasuries spent. Because the costs are so often high, the industry must take on the role of providing public assurance in the form of an insurance bond, accepting that schit happens by Murphy's designs and protecting the public interest, just as we require drivers to protect the public interest. And all this would require another agency to provide oversight and enforcement, and laws tough enough to compel compliance and punish official collusion. Done properly, the industry permitting system could possibly provide the needed funding for such staffing.
Bottom line - clean up their act with redundant safeguards and guarantee reclamation by highly rated bond, with public oversight throughout the extraction and reclamation. We get the resources we need - albeit at a higher price, the company makes a little money and the state oversight sees to it that the environment doesn't suffer carelessly.
Or so I'm thinking...