You may have seen the pictures of the shockingly garish bright yellow water in the Animas River in southern Colorado following the spill of 3 million gallons of heavy-metal contaminated water from the Gold King mine on Aug. 5. Ironically, the spill occurred as the EPA was attempting a cleanup.
The law governing who pays for the clean up from this spill dates from 1872, a time when the paramount goal was to extract gold and other metals to stimulate our nation’s economy with little regard for pollution and cleanup costs.
We now have over 500,000 abandoned mines, polluting about 40% of the headwaters of the Western watersheds. And the West has very little water to spare!
To pay for future mine spill cleanups, a bill has been introduced in the US House, HR 963, that will impose an 8% charge on all new "hard rock" mines on public lands, and a 4% charge on existing mines on public lands. This is similar to currently existing laws regarding coal mines.
Ask your Representative to co-sponsor HR 963, this vastly overdue and much needed bill. There is simply no good reason that the American taxpayer should be stuck with paying for these very expensive mining pollution cleanups.
Telephone: (202) 224-3121 (Capitol switchboard)
Mail: Senator or Representative (first & last name)
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515
Photo: Mor Naaman (Flickr.com/MMOORR)