WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress will take up the issue of Nevada's abandoned mines when the House Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources conducts a hearing on the Abandoned Mine Restoration Act of 1999 today.
Six Nevada mines, including one in Douglas County, would be helped by the bill, according to Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.
The congressional hearing is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. in Room 1324 of the Longworth HOB, Washington, D.C.
"The Western Governor's Association identified over 263,000 abandoned sites in 15 Western states, including Nevada," said Gibbons, a mining and exploration geologist and Member of the House Resources Committee.
The Veta Grande Mine is located in Douglas County about 11 miles southeast of Gardnerville.
"I introduced this bill to help restore and protect areas negatively affected by drainage from abandoned mines. These sites need to be cleaned up before they become major environmental or public safety hazards. Residents and communities adjacent to these sites must be assured that their health and safety are being protected."
Gibbons considers five specific Nevada sites besides the one in Douglas as high priority for mitigation, including:
- Johnston Mill Site in Lincoln County
- Norse-Windfall Mill Site in Eureka County
- Rip Van Winkle Mine in Elko County
- Tybo Tailings Site in Nye County
- Castleton Mine Site and Tailings Pond in Lincoln County.
Gibbons' bill authorizes the Corps of Engineers to assist in drainage control from abandoned and inactive non-coal mines, restoration and protection of streams, rivers, wetlands, other water bodies and riparian areas degraded by drainage from abandoned non-coal mines, demonstration of innovative and alternative treatment technologies to minimize or eliminate effects associated with drainange; and, restoration of abandoned and inactive non-coal mine sites for public health or safety purposes.
The bill also authorizes the Corps of Engineers to provide assistance to state and non-profit entities to develop, manage and maintain a database of conventional and innovative, cost-effective technologies for reclamation of abandoned and inactive non-coal mines.