Legislation for Good Samaritan liability protections
Together we can clean up abandoned mines, but Congress must act to protect Good Samaritans to allow them to catalyze clean ups.
Good Samaritans are being deterred from cleaning up abandoned mines
Trout Unlimited’s restoration specialists know how to leverage public and private dollars to fix degraded streams, creating jobs, and clean water along the way. We are eager to take on leaking abandoned mines, but under Federal law, groups who have no legal responsibility or connection to an abandoned mine (e.g. Good Samaritans) are deterred from cleaning up these messes due to the incredible liability risks.
We can solve this conundrum by passing legislation that provides bona fide Good Samaritans liability protections while also holding them accountable to terms of their permits. Abandoned mines are a big problem, but with a little help from Congress, they are a problem we can tackle.
Heavy metals & acidity
Stream that are listed as impaired for heavy metals or acidity
Native trout and salmon are found in over 22,000 miles of impaired stream subwatersheds
Important drinking water sources are found within 57,000 miles of impaired stream subwatersheds
Abandoned mines affect fish habitat & drinking water
Approximately 110,000 miles of streams – enough to circle the Earth four times – are listed as impaired for heavy metals or acidity. Abandoned mines are a major source of these impairments. Of these impaired stream miles, 20% are within subwatersheds that contain native trout and salmon while 52% are in subwatersheds that are important drinking water sources. Billions have been spent cleaning up these leaking abandoned mines, but there is much more work to do. Abandoned mines are a big problem, but with a little help from Congress they are a problem we can tackle by passing Good Samaritan legislation.
Fixing a leaky problem
Number of abandoned mines in the United States of America
Estimated cost to clean up abandoned mines
Danger to fish
- Fish kills
- Skin damage
- Impaired gill function
- Smothered eggs
- Spawning failure
Ask Congress for Help
Congress can help speed up efforts to clean pollution from abandoned mines in coal country