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Testimony of Lauren Pagel to the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Energy and Minerals

From the testimony:

What we’re endorsing here is outrageous: the coal mining industry subsidizing the metal mining industry. At a time when precious metals are near all-time highs, rather than require the metal mining industry pay to clean up its own messes, we are forcing a completely different industry to do so.

The only reason we endorse this legislation is because communities have waited for far too long for abandoned hardrock mine cleanup, and their water, air and public health will suffer if these sites are not remediated.

This bill doesn’t fix the problem. Only a steady-stream of hardrock abandoned mine land funding – from a hardrock mine cleanup fee akin to what SMCRA generates now — will set us on the right track.

Without a consistent and adequate funding source, state, local and tribal governments and citizen groups will be able to move only a small number of projects forward, even with SMCRA funds.

Tackling this large-scale problem requires a large-scale solution, a solution that will create jobs and restore western waters.