Title

Affordable Environmental Cleanup Actions at Abandoned Hard Rock Mine Sites

Date of Award

11-15-2007

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Department

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Advisor

John Hill

Keywords

abandoned mine lands; CERCLA; CWA; stakeholder-lead cleanup

Abstract

Abandoned mine land cleanups are limited by restrictive regulations, inconsistent and unavailable funds, and a lack of adequate protections for stakeholders attempting to improve site conditions. This study evaluated examples of two cleanup mechanisms: an EPA-lead CERCLA cleanup and a state-lead, stakeholder-funded approach. The case studies showed that CERCLA provides the most comprehensive funding mechanism for abandoned mine cleanups while offering very little flexibility. State-lead programs allow for more flexibility, yet states are bound by federal laws and are hampered by lack of funding. Case analysis determined that any new approach should provide adequate funding, be flexible in its cleanup criteria, and minimize liability for those undertaking cleanups. It must also protect human health and promote natural ecological recovery.

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