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Committee Discusses Comprehensive Mining Legislation in Response to EPA’s Disastrous Animas Spill

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 4, 2015 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources discussed mining legislation to address the failed response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Animas spill three months ago and reform policies that currently impede abandoned mine cleanup nationally.  

H.R. 3843 introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-5), the “Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act,” incentivizes private sector actors to remediate abandoned mine lands. These ‘Good Samaritan’ permits provide limited liability protections for industry and non-profit groups that are best equipped with the expertise and tools to cleanup abandoned mines.

Currently, there are as many as 400,000 abandoned mines across the West, some of which pose serious safety hazards and others that pose environmental risks,Chairman Lamborn stated. “However because of the complexity and liability issues surrounding abandoned mines, many willing governmental or local communities do not undertake the cleanup process or for those that do, their efforts are often slowed or undercut by federal intrusion.

H.R. 3844 introduced by Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10), the “Energy and Minerals Reclamation Foundation Establishment Act,” establishes the Energy and Mineral Reclamation Foundation to facilitate cleanup of abandoned mine lands with the freedom to solicit contributions from the general public.

We can’t charge enough fees or taxes on the mining industry to address the scope of the problem in a timely manner,” Rep. Hice said. “At that rate it would take 277 years to address just the hardrock AML problem. I decided to try a different approach that coupled with the Good Samaritan provisions in H.R. 3843, Mr. Lamborn’s bill, provides an opportunity to address the AML and orphaned well site issue in a more robust fashion with the help of the mining industry, nonprofit organizations, and the American people interested in improving the quality of the environment for the betterment of Society.”

Information will be forthcoming for the upcoming field hearing on H.R. 3734, the “Mining Schools Enhancement Act,” introduced by Rep. Hardy (NV-04), which is the third bill in the Committee's broader mine cleanup reform package.

Click here for more information on the package.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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