Colorado US Sen. Udall sponsors plan to clean up old mines
DENVER (AP) – U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is sponsoring a bill to make it easier for conservation groups, states and others to clean up old abandoned mines by making sure they’re not held legally responsible for problems they didn’t cause.
The Colorado Democrat says the bill differs from previous measures because it addresses just liability under the federal Clean Water Act.
Past proposals would have limited legal exposure to additional environmental laws. Udall says administrative waivers can be approved for most of the laws, but legislation is needed to address the Clean Water Act.
Federal officials have estimated there are thousands of abandoned mines across the West and thousands of miles of waterways and numerous lakes and reservoirs endangered by contaminated mine drainage.