A bill in Congress could help Arizona clean up old mines.
Arizona could have as many as 100,000 abandoned mines, many leaching toxic minerals into the state’s waterways, but state environmental officials said cleanup has been hampered by the fear of litigation.
That’s why Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Misael Cabrera was testifying Thursday in support of a proposed federal “good Samaritan” law aimed at addressing the issue. The bill would let organizations step in and clean up long-abandoned mines without fear of the legal liability that could have attached to their now-absent owners.
“I believe that this legislation is a great first step towards dealing with a considerable and significant problem all across the country, and certainly in the West,” Cabrera said after testifying to a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee hearing.
The problem is that many of the mines that would be affected by the bill were abandoned by their owners long ago, decades before laws took effect that hold mine owners responsible for cleanup of their properties. And under the law, as it’s written now, new owners – or anyone who wanted to clean up a site – could be held legally responsible for the damages it caused.
For the rest of this article: https://news.azpm.org/s/95314-good-samaritan-bill-aims-to-allow-cleanup-of-abandoned-leaking-mines/