07/26/2008 - The federal government put the public at risk by failing to clean up and close off abandoned mines in Arizona, California and Nevada.
That is the conclusion of a 42-page, blistering audit released Friday by the Department of Interior's inspector general.
Western mines have "dangerously dilapidated structures, serious environmental hazards and gaping cavities," according to the report, which also said that unsafe levels of lead, arsenic and mercury were found at sites easily accessible to the public.
"Hazards like these exist because the outdated 1872 mining law does not have adequate cleanup positions," said Velma Smith, manager for the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining. "This report shows a real-world need for mining-law reform."
Read the full article Two Agencies Blamed for Old Mine Dangers on The Arizona Republic's Web Site.