Protection sought in mine cleanup efforts

A measure that would insulate individuals and organizations hoping to clean up abandoned mines was introduced Thursday by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

The measure would offer binding legal protections for “Good Samaritans” and aid in the cleanup of more than 7,000 abandoned hard-rock mines in Colorado and thousands more throughout the West.

The bill, which U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is co-sponsoring, is similar to legislation Udall introduced in 2009.

It would establish a program under the Clean Water Act to help promote the Good Samaritan efforts of those who have no legal responsibility for abandoned hard-rock mines by allowing them to qualify for cleanup permits.

It also would offer some liability protections for those who complete volunteer cleanups of abandoned mine sites pursuant to approved restoration plans.

The Environmental Protection Agency, state government or tribal agencies could issue cleanup permits under the legislation.


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