Friday, July 09, 2010

Using Abandoned Mine Fund for hardrock mines

The nation's Abandoned Mine Fund collects royalties from coal production to clean up abandoned coal mines, but there is not a comparable program to deal with hard rock mines that are more common in the western U.S.

The AGI Government Affairs Program reports that the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee "passed legislation (S. 2830) that would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to broaden the uses of cleanup funds. It was unclear if the funds could legally be used for programs other than coal mine cleanup. S. 2830, sponsored by Energy and Natural Resources Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), amends the act to clearly allow states to use these funds for abandoned gold, copper and uranium mines."

The Arizona State Mine Inspector's office estimates there are 100,000 abandoned mines in Arizona.

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