Over $700 million available to clean up abandoned mines

The Department of the Interior says there is more than $700 million in federal infrastructure law to clean up abandoned mines and close open pits in 22 states and the Navajo Nation.
Most of the abandoned mines are in the west and southwest.
The Interior announcement follows last week’s announcement of more than $1 billion to cover abandoned oil and gas wells across the country.
Jennifer Rokala of the Center for Western Priorities described the problem as the result of a century of irresponsible mining and drilling.
State officials have long said many of these mines are in Nevada, but complained that getting the money to shut them down and make them safe was a huge problem.
Rokala said the cleanup was long overdue and infrastructure money was a major investment.
“At the same time, the cleanup money does nothing to address the underlying problem that created this damage in the first place,” she said.
She said Congress and the Biden administration must reform the Centennial Mining Lease Act of 1921 and the Mining Act of 1872. Without these reforms, she said oil and gas companies and miners, including miners foreigners, do not have to post sufficient bonds to cover the cost of cleaning up mine sites.

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