Skip to Content

Press Releases

Maloy, Peltola, Curtis, Moore, Fulcher, Lee, Costa Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Clean Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines

Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives Celeste Maloy (R-UT) and Mary Peltola (D-AK) alongside Reps. John Curtis (R-UT), Blake Moore (R-UT), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Susie Lee (D-NV), and Jim Costa (D-CA) reintroduced the bipartisan Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act. This legislation would make it easier for “Good Samaritans,” including state agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and other groups, to clean up and improve water quality in and around abandoned hardrock mines.


“Utah’s mining industry has made vital contributions to the national production of critical minerals like uranium and copper," said Rep. Maloy. “This commonsense piece of legislation would allow states and private organizations to clean up abandoned mines without being held liable by the EPA, and that will allow Utah to continue to thrive.”


“Today, hardrock mines are well regulated, and new projects are subject to strict safety and environmental protection rules. That was not always the case, however; hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines that no longer have anyone responsible for cleaning up and remediating the land dot the country. This bill would give Good Samaritans a path to help clean up abandoned mines that threaten our communities and our environment,” said Rep. Peltola.


“In Utah and across the West, we're surrounded by the legacy of our pioneering mining industry, but with that comes the responsibility to address what is left behind at mine sites,” said Rep. Curtis. “The Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act represents a critical step forward, empowering those who are ready and willing to help clean up these sites without the fear of undue legal repercussions.”


“Utah and America’s western region at large have a proud history of providing vital resources to support our evolving mineral needs. Unfortunately, we still have work to do to clean abandoned mines from decades ago when we did not have the same rigorous environmental standards we have today. Thankfully, many organizations want to be part of abandoned mine remediation efforts, and this bill will make it easier for these “Good Samaritans” to participate in the cleanup of abandoned mine sites. I’m proud to work with Representative Maloy and my colleagues on commonsense bills like this to encourage state agencies, local governments, and organizations to get involved in making a positive difference,” said Rep. Moore.


"I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring this legislation that will make it easier for state agencies, local governments, and Good Samaritan groups to clean up abandoned hardrock mines around Idaho," Rep. Fulcher said. "This bipartisan effort will take a much-needed step forward to improve communities and water quality across the state."


“Abandoned hardrock mines can be found across the iconic terrain of the American West — including in my district, home to some of the oldest mine lands in Nevada. These hazards are pervasive and perilous, posing an ongoing threat to people and the environment alike. ‘Good Samaritan’ partners stand ready to work with the federal government to clean up these sites, and I’m proud to help introduce bipartisan legislation that will cut through the red tape currently preventing them from doing so,” said Rep. Lee. “This bipartisan, commonsense bill will mean cleaner waters and safer landscapes for our communities. That’s a win for Nevada families and our natural resources.”


“For decades, abandoned hardrock mines have polluted public lands, waterways, and watersheds along the Central Valley. These mines put communities at a high risk of exposure to substances that are hazardous to their long-term health. Our bill empowers Good Samaritans to safely remediate our public lands, create new jobs, and ensure clean drinking water for local communities,” said Rep. Costa.


“Today’s bipartisan Good Samaritan introduction is an encouraging sign that the mining industry, environmental organizations, and local communities can unite behind commonsense legislation to tackle the long-overdue cleanup of legacy abandoned mine sites. This legislation, along with its bipartisan Senate companion, would allow mining companies to utilize their equipment and technical expertise to clean up abandoned sites without fear of incurring additional legal liability. These bills are critical to removing the obstacles that have prevented the remediation of important legacy land and water resources for far too long. We commend Reps. Celeste Maloy and Mary Peltola for their shared vision and leadership to advance the environmental progress we all desire,” said Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association.


“There is no constituency for orange, polluted rivers,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “More than 40 percent of our western headwater streams—the places trout live and communities get their drinking water—are negatively affected by abandoned hardrock mines. It is gratifying to see more than a bipartisan third of the U.S. Senate sponsored legislation that would accelerate efforts by ‘Good Samaritans’ to clean up historic mine pollution. With today’s introduction of a House ‘Good Sam’ bill, we are closer than ever to advancing common-sense legislation that would help address one of the most pervasive water quality threats in America. We thank Representatives Maloy and Peltola for their leadership, and we look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.”


“We thank Congresswoman Maloy and Congresswoman Peltola for their introduction of the Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act, which would leverage the resources of qualified private entities to clean up abandoned hardrock mine sites, the largest source of pollution on our public lands and waters. By addressing liabilities that have long tied the hands of would-be ‘Good Samaritans’ we can restore degraded watersheds and riparian habitat to enhance opportunities for hunters and anglers,” said Patrick Berry, President and CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.


Full text of the legislation can be found here.


Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Jim Risch (R-ID) reintroduced a companion piece of legislation in the Senate.




There are over 140,000 remnants of abandoned hardrock mines on federal land with at least 22,500 that pose health and environmental risks. Utah could have between 8,000 and 11,000 abandoned hardrock mines on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands, but a complete inventory has not been conducted.


The Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act would create a pilot permitting program under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow cleanup projects to move forward and ensure Good Samaritans have the skills and resources they need to complete permitted work. This program is designed for low-risk projects that will improve water or soil quality or otherwise protect human health and the environment.