Thursday marks the three-month anniversary of the Gold King Mine Spill. In August, the spill originating from abandoned Gold King Mine contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers. In response members of New Mexico and Colorado’s congressional delegation have announced an effort to reform federal mining regulations.
New Mexico’s senators, along with Representative Ben Ray Lujan revealed the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015 . The bill would update the existing law, The Mining Law of 1872. Democratic Senator Tom Udall said the 150 year-old law forces taxpayers to spend tens of billions of dollars whenever there is a mining related incident.
"There are hundreds of thousands of abandoned across the West leaking toxins into our rivers and streams everyday," said Udall. "Many are ticking time bombs and could eventually cause another disastrous blowout."
The proposal would impose a two to five percent royalty for the first time on mining companies that use public land. The funds collected from the royalties would be used to clean up abandoned mines and deter future spills. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Michael Bennet, of Colorado, co-sponsored the bill.
KUNM Reporter Rita Daniels contributed to this report.