Legalizing Mine Cleanups

Legalizing Mine Cleanups

"Conservation groups and other private organizations have indicated that they would like to clean up these mines, unfortunately federal red tape is holding them back."

“There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs; you try to get the best trade-off you can get, that’s all you can hope for.” – Thomas Sowell

Montana has a long history of mining, dating all the way back to the days in which our state was just a territory. While these mines undoubtedly forged the communities that make up much of Montana today, this history is not without consequence.

Today, thousands of mines across Montana are leaking toxic pollutants into our waterways and communities. Many of these mines are from the early boom days and the owners of the mines are long deceased, making the decision of who should be responsible for the cleanup even more challenging. 

Conservation groups and other private organizations have indicated that they would like to clean up these mines, unfortunately federal red tape is holding them back. Strict regulations limit how and where groups can engage in cleanup, often leaving the source of the pollution off limits to Good Samaritan organizations.

In PERC Policy Director Hannah Downey’s most recent column she discusses how red tape is preventing Good Samaritans from engaging in mine cleanups and the work being done to fix the problem:

“Montana’s U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester are co-sponsoring an effort in Congress to right this wrong. The bipartisan Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act would authorize a pilot of 15 Good Samaritan projects to clean abandoned mines free from these regulatory and liability obstacles.”

Be sure to check out the entire article to learn more about the red tape holding back mine cleanups.

For Liberty,
Tanner Avery

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