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Cleaning Up Waters Polluted by Abandoned Mines: Obstacles and Opportunities The Reynolds Lecture Series, Colorado Chautauqua Association University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Cleaning Up Waters Polluted by Abandoned Mines: Obstacles and Opportunities The Reynolds Lecture Series, Colorado Chautauqua Association University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cleaning Up Waters Polluted by Abandoned Mines: Obstacles and Opportunities The Reynolds Lecture Series, Colorado Chautauqua Association University of Colorado Chancellors Office

2 Tonight’s Presentation Abandoned Mines Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup A Case Study: The Penn Mine A Discussion of “Good Samaritan” Legislation –Doug Young District Policy Director for Congressman Mark Udall –John Henderson Partner, Vranesh and Raisch –Cathy Carlson Policy Advisor, Mineral Policy Center

3 Abandoned Mines 230,000+ in the West 22,000 in Colorado 3,600 in Boulder Co. generating acidity and metals 2 out of 5 watersheds polluted $30 billion+ cleanup costs Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2001

4 Abandoned Mines Effects on water quality –acidity dissolves metals affects habitats –metals toxic to aquatic organisms toxic to humans –drinking water

5 Abandoned Mines Effects on water quality –scarcity of water Dillon Reservoir, boat ramps, August 2002 Dillon Reservoir, spillway, August 2002

6 Abandoned Mines Burlington Mine Balarat Gulch, near Jamestown Voluntary Cleanup, Honeywell Big Five Mine/Captain Jack Mill California Gulch, near Ward EPA Superfund Bueno Mine/ “streamside tailings” Little James Creek, near Jamestown Stakeholder-run Initiative, LWOG

7 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Key issues –funding –property ownership –re-mining –liability –technology

8 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Funding: Who pays? –federal Superfund (CERCLA) leftover SMCRA (coal) funds to states US Forest Service, BLM –Western states funding $0 to $28 million variety of sources (SMCRA) –mining companies voluntary cleanups royalties, fees? responsibility for abandoned mines? Summitville Mine Superfund site; $175 million+

9 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Funding: Who Pays? –Everyone you can find!

10 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Property Ownership –definitions of “abandoned” and “inactive” –private owners former current active solvent –government lands Private land ownership around Bueno Mine, Jamestown

11 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Re-Mining –new mining at abandoned mines –waste rock, tailings –incentive for mining companies –common in coal mining (PA, WV)

12 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Liability –Clean Water Act discharge permits for water treatment assumption of liability for “remediating party” not responsible for pollution Abandoned house analogy (Gov. Janklow, South Dakota)

13 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Liable parties –government agencies –stakeholder groups –voluntary cleanups Burlington Mine subsidence pit pond

14 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Liability –“Environmental Good Samaritan Act, 1999” “A landowner or person who voluntarily provides equipment, materials, or services at no charge or at cost for a reclamation project or a water pollution abatement project in accordance with this chapter may be immune from civil liability...” Pennsylvania Title 27, Part VI.C., Chapter 81.

15 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Liability –Vintondale, PA AMD & Art

16 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Technology –“Best Management Practices” hydrology –waste removal –water diversions –erosion control and capping –re-vegetation treatment –active –passive »wetlands

17 Approaches and Obstacles to Cleanup Technology –effectiveness? complicated problems –longevity? maintenance and operation –costs –responsibilities

18 A Case Study: the Penn Mine Pennsylvania Mine –Summit County, Colorado –active from 1870 to 1900s –silver, gold, copper, lead, zinc

19 The Penn Mine Cleanup Efforts –acid mine drainage into Peru Creek, Snake River – gallons per minute –remediating parties Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado –treatment pond and constructed wetlands

20 The Penn Mine Liability –Ruling on Penn Mine, CA –remediating parties concerned about liability –project stopped –cited as example of need for Good Samaritaran legislation

21 The Penn Mine

22 Summary Remediation of abandoned mine lands –a challenging technical problem –made more difficult by funding property ownership liability –Pennsylvania Mine and State of Pennsylvania good examples of problems and solutions

23 Doug Young Graduate of University of Colorado (Political Science) and University of Colorado School of Law District Policy Director for Colorado Congressman Mark Udall since 1999 –Rocky Flats, wilderness legislation and forest fire policies on federal public lands, mine waste cleanup, transportation issues, open space preservation former Director of Environmental Policy for both Governor Roy Romer and Senator Tim Wirth –Rocky Flats and Rocky Mountain Arsenal cleanups –Animas-La Plata water project negotiations –federal grazing policy reform

24 John Henderson Graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Colorado Law School Partner, Vranesh and Raisch law firm, Boulder, Colorado (23 years) –mining law (mining companies) –water law (ditch companies) –real property –land use –licensed to practice before the courts of the State of Colorado, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court past Chair of the Mineral Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association

25 Cathy Carlson Graduated from Humboldt State University (Wildlife Management) Policy Advisor, Mineral Policy Center –advocate for mineral policy reform since 1987 –mineral development –oil and gas leasing and development –livestock grazing –fisheries and wildlife habitat conservation. former Director of the National Wildlife Federation's regional office in Boulder, Colorado


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