Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce worked across the aisle with other members of the New Mexico delegation to introduce a bipartisan mining cleanup bill.
"I'm pleased to work with my colleagues from New Mexico on this key legislation for our state," said Pearce. "Mines in New Mexico are desperately in need of cleanup--for the safety, health, and prosperity of the community. This bill provides the clarification needed to ensure that the Abandoned Mine Land program serves all Americans, as originally intended. Bipartisan efforts like this one are vital for the solutions America needs, and I look forward to continuing in this spirit of cooperation on this and other legislation."
This bill amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to clarify that state and tribal governments may use funds under the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program for reclamation projects related to non-coal mines. Recent interpretations of the AML program have restricted funding largely to coal mine cleanup, to the detriment of Western states like New Mexico, which has hundreds of uranium and other non-coal mines.
The legislation makes AML funds available to seal abandoned mines, treat contaminated drainage, and restore land impacted by mining, to the benefit of public health and safety.