Why it matters: There is estimated to be approximately 500,000 abandoned mines across the United States that are polluting over 100,000 miles of streams. Estimates also indicate that cleaning up these abandoned mines would cost $54 billion. Unfortunately, under current federal land, an individual or group cannot touch or attempt to clean up a mine without being held liable for future pollution, even if that individual or group is not responsible for the original pollution, limiting the opportunities to restore these lands. This bipartisan legislation seeks to provide protections to those individuals attempting to clean up abandoned mines.
On February 3, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Heinrich and CSC Member Sen. Risch introduced the Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act, bipartisan legislation to reduce burdensome roadblocks to help Good Samaritans clean up abandoned mine lands.
Currently, Good Samaritans who attempt to recover and restore abandoned mine sites are legally responsible for the pollution from the mine as soon as they touch it, even if they had no prior association with the mine. This legislation will help remove these unnecessary and prohibitive constraints by ensuring that Good Samaritans who attempt to restore abandoned mines have no legal or financial responsibility for future mine pollution.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Heinrich and past Co-Chair Sen. Risch for introducing and championing the Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act of 2022,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “This common-sense legislation will provide much needed and strategic liability protections to those attempting to enhance fish and wildlife through the restoration of abandoned mine lands, which pose significant challenges for conservation efforts across the nation.”
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will work with Sens. Heinrich and Risch to see that this important bill moves through the legislative process in a timely fashion.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?