The Western Governors Association passed a resolution this week supporting legislation that would help clean up abandoned mines across the West by protecting Good Samaritans who voluntarily clean up the pollution.
There are more than a half million abandoned mines dotting the Western landscape, creating significant water quality problems.
“We commend the Western Governors’ Association for urging Congress to pass legislation that would allow Good Samaritans to clean up leaking abandoned mines without excessive liability risks,” said Corey Fisher, senior policy director for Trout Unlimited. “Right now, the law inadvertently says that if you touch the mess, you own it forever, even though you had no part in creating the pollution. These mines are abandoned, so there are no responsible parties to clean them up. Why would we allow this problem to languish? We stand with our Western Governors calling on Congress to pass legislation so we can start to tackle one of the country’s biggest water quality issues.”
Congress is expected to take up the issue in the coming weeks.