Udall’s Good Samaritan Water-Cleanup Bill Drawing Support

Publication: The Colorado Independent

Author: Katie Redding

11/23/2009 - U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s new streamlined Good Samaritan legislation, designed to encourage volunteer water cleanup projects, may yet become law. It is the 11th piece of Good Samaritan legislation to be introduced in Congress in the last 15 years. Udall’s bill, however, is drawing more support and less opposition than the previous bills, all of which failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

The bill by the Democratic senator would provide legal protection for non-profit and other groups who would clean up water contamination from the thousands of abandoned mines across Colorado.

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The Pew Environment Group said it doesn’t oppose the bill, but in a statement, Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands program director, called the legislation “largely irrelevant” and called instead for a focus on creating a severance tax for the hard rock mining industry.

“We understand that volunteer organizations have no desire to take on open-ended permit obligations, and we appreciate Senator Udall’s attempt to address without overriding the safeguards of the Clean Water Act,” she said.

“But there is a critical, larger fix to be accomplished,” she continued. “Colorado and the West will get a lasting solution when we prevent mining’s toxic waste from being left behind in the first place and require the mining industry to help fund cleanup of hardrock mining’s legacy of waste and water pollution. That’s best done by reforming the nation’s 1872 law that makes it legal for multinational corporations that mine on U.S. public lands to leave U.S. taxpayers holding the bag for cleanup.”

Read the full article Udall’s Good Samaritan Water-Cleanup Bill Drawing Support on the Colorado Independent's Web site.

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