Bennet, Hickenlooper Applaud Nearly $10M in BIL Funding for Abandoned Mine Cleanup in Colorado Communities

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper welcomed the announcement that $9.9 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law would be made available for the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety to remediate former coal mines and surrounding lands, creating new jobs for Coloradans and cleaning up legacy pollution.

“Abandoned mines in Colorado and across the West create unsafe conditions for surrounding communities and pollute our ecosystems,” said Bennet. “This funding will help reduce future pollution, improve water quality, and create good-paying jobs to clean up dangerous environmental hazards.”

“Colorado has 23,000 abandoned mine sites that pollute our land, water, and air, and put nearby families at risk,” said Hickenlooper. “Thanks to our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will clean up these abandoned mine sites, keep our communities safe and create new, good-paying jobs.”

Abandoned mine land reclamation creates jobs by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts and reclaim unstable slopes. It improves water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restoring water supplies damaged by mining. Reclamation also enables economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other economic redevelopment uses like advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. 

As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding will prioritize projects that employ dislocated coal industry workers. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land funding over 15 years, facilitated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Earlier this year, Bennet and Hickenlooper reintroduced the Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act. This bipartisan legislation would make it easier for “Good Samaritans”, such as state agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and other groups, to clean up and improve water quality in and around abandoned hardrock mines.