Good Samaritan Support

According to a Telluride Watch article, after nearly 20 years of inaction, the creation of a Good Samaritan policy with regard to the cleanup of abandoned mine drainage flows has gained broad support across the West. There is now hope that it might gain traction with federal legislators and policy makers in Washington, D.C. There are currently more than 160,000 abandoned hardrock mines in the U.S., which potentially contribute high amounts of toxic metals into waterways. Certain provisions in the federal Clean Water Act prevent the mines and their related water quality issues from being addressed through active or passive remediation. As a result, a fear of liability often deters cleanup efforts because the water quality may not be brought back to Clean Water Act standards. Good Samaritans, defined as third-party groups that have no connection to or responsibility for the activities resulting in the pollution, have had to walk away from mine cleanup projects, fearing they may be sued by a third-party citizen or environmental group if the resulting water quality does not meet EPA standards.