Colorado Senator Cory Gardner introduces so-called “Good Samaritan” mine reclamation bill

Statement of Earthworks' Policy Director Lauren Pagel

“The American West is littered with approximately 500,000 abandoned mines that shackle taxpayers with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated $50 billion in costs. Good Samaritans, no matter their intentions, lack the resources to dent a problem of this scale. And this bill does nothing to address disasters like the Gold King spill in Colorado.

The real solution to the problem of abandoned mines is reform of the 1872 Mining Law, complete with a dedicated funding mechanism designed specifically to pay for the cleanup of abandoned mines. Pawning off more than a century of water pollution on volunteers is woefully insufficient. Real mining law reform will place the onus on the polluters, not the taxpayers, and not unreasonably rely on the generosity of Good Samaritans.”

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