Affordable Environmental Cleanup Actions at Abandoned Hard Rock Mine Sites

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Organizational Unit

University College, Environmental Policy and Management


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

First Advisor

John Hill


Abandoned mine lands, CERCLA, Stakeholder-lead cleanup, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

This document is currently not available here.