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Media Contact:

Brendan McLaughlin, bmclaughlin@earthworksaction.org, 206.892.8832

Background: Yesterday, the Senate voted to begin debate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill, the result of negotiations between a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House, falls well short in funding the essential infrastructure necessary to confront climate change. Yet it does include a new $3 billion program, proposed by Senators Heinrich (D-NM), Daines (R-MT), and Kelly (D-AZ), to remediate public health, safety, and environmental harms posed by the hundreds of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines on public and private lands. The infrastructure to support the transition to low-carbon energy requires a variety of minerals (cobalt, lithium, and nickel, among others) that must be sourced responsibly. 

Statement from Lauren Pagel, Earthworks’ Policy Director:

“We face an existential climate crisis, and must move quickly to convert our infrastructure to support low-carbon energy. While this bill does not adequately meet the demands of the moment, we applaud the inclusion of a dedicated program to address the problem of abandoned mines.

“Too many American communities live with, and pay for, pollution left behind by mining companies. This investment is an essential first step towards holding them accountable for their pollution, while providing needed jobs transforming landscapes scarred by hardrock mining.

“We are optimistic that Congress will follow this initial bill with new legislation to build the clean energy infrastructure we need.”


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