The tragic mining spill in the Animas River this summer has brought renewed vigor and attention on the need for addressing the nation’s abandoned hardrock mines. There have been many on both sides of the political aisle who have tried but failed to bring about targeted, common sense reform that would encourage more state and local cleanups of abandoned mines that have devastated so many watersheds around the nation. And I’m pleased to see Congressman Gibbs and others spearheading a renewed effort to fix the problem. Why, you ask, hasn’t more been done? Well, here’s some helpful background on the topic, Calling All Good Samaritans. We could achieve so much more to advance environmental restoration if we could set aside politics and the paralysis of change.
Below is a recording of this Wednesday’s Hearing before T&I ‘s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment. The witnesses included EPA, Western Governors Association and Trout Unlimited, with whom I have toiled over the years to help remove legal barriers (mostly federal laws) in order to help watershed groups do more voluntarily cleanups. Fast forward to 1:50:50 to the testimony of Chris Wood, President of TU, for a better understanding of the realm of environmental possibility.