On January 18, the Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act (S. 2781) was passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee via voice vote. This bipartisan legislation, led by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Jim Risch (R-ID) and joined by 26 additional cosponsors evenly divided by party, would help to restore watersheds through the cleanup of abandoned hardrock mines.
Currently, Good Samaritans who want to volunteer to restore these abandoned mines and improve water quality as well as fish and wildlife habitat would be liable for any future pollution from the site. This commonsense legislation would implement a pilot program with permits to allow qualified Good Samaritan entities who clean up abandoned mine sites, such as state agencies, local governments, and nonprofits to be shielded from future liability. In turn, this legislation will leverage private investments to tackle the number one source of pollution on our public lands and waters. Restoring healthy fish and wildlife habitat is especially critical for sportsmen and women to pursue our outdoor traditions.
Now this legislation will move to a vote by the full Senate and begin its journey through the House of Representatives. The Biden administration has already called upon Congress to pass Good Samaritan legislation and the President is expected to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.