GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 8-12
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


YOUNG, Doug, Keystone Policy Center, 1800 Glenarm Place, Suite 503, Denver, CO 80202,

Federal and state public land and environmental agencies, local watershed groups and other non-governmental entities have been working for years to cleanup abandoned mines. They have made progress on removing waste piles, emplacing adit bulkheads, and addressing other aspects including enhancing public safety at sites. But, this voluntary work has largely not included the treatment of acid mine waters draining from adits due to liability exposure under federal clean water and other pollution laws. Since the early 1990s, there have been a number of efforts to change the federal laws to address liabilities related to water treatment and also provide greater funding options for voluntary cleanups. This presentation will examine the public policy issues regarding the promotion of voluntary cleanups by addressing liability and funding concerns. Specifically, it will review (1) the legal obstacles to cleanup and how these could be addressed, (2) proposals in Congress to amend the laws to promote greater volunteer cleanup actions, (3) the position of various stakeholder groups on mine cleanups, (4) administrative (EPA) policies designed to promote cleanup and legally protect volunteers, and (5) the issues related to securing additional funding sources and related 1872 General Mining Law reform.