FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2018
Trout Unlimiteds CEO Chris Wood testifies for Good Samaritan legislation
Congress needs to advance legislation to increase the pace, scale and funding
of abandoned mine cleanups.
WASHINGTON D.C.Today, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on Abandoned Hardrock Mines and the Role of Non – Governmental Entities. Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, was one of four witnesses invited to testify about the environmental impacts of abandoned mines and solutions Congress can enact to address this pervasive problem, such as enacting Good Samaritan legislation.
Cleaning up abandoned mines is challenging and expensive. That does not make it any less important, said Wood in his testimony. The legacy of historical mining practices thousands of abandoned coal and hardrock mines with an estimated cleanup cost in the billions of dollars has persisted for the better part of a century. There is no constituency for acid mine drainage, and this is a problem that cries out for a common-sense solution.
Approximately 110,000 miles of streams across America are listed as impaired for heavy metals or acidity and abandoned mines are a major source of these impairments. The EPA estimates that 40 percent of western headwater streamsusually home to native trout, are negatively affected by abandoned mines.
Private groups such as Trout Unlimited who have no legal responsibility or connection to historic mine waste — true Good Samaritans — want to clean up these messes but are deterred from doing so due to liability risks under the Clean Water Act and Superfund laws. Adequate funding is also a major hurdle,” said Wood. “We hope that today’s hearing will lead to introduction of an effective Good Samaritan bill, and a vigorous exploration of new funding sources. We stand ready to work with the committee to get a bill introduced and through Congress so that affected communities around the country will again have clean, fishable waters.”
For more information, and a link to Mr. Woods testimony, go here.
Trout Unlimited (TU) is the largest sportsmen’s organization dedicated to cold water conservation in North America. Since 1959, TU has worked to make fishing better by conserving, protecting, restoring and sustaining native trout and salmon populations and their watersheds. TU has 300,000 members and supporters and more than 400 chapters across the U.S.