Kelly, Lummis offer bill to bolster EPA mine cleanup office

By Kevin Bogardus | 03/05/2024 06:30 AM EST

The Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains has supporters in the conservative movement, unlike most parts of the agency.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) is sponsoring legislation that would support an office at EPA backed by conservatives. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have introduced legislation to cement an office at EPA created during the Trump administration.

Last week, Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) offered S. 3858, the “Legacy Mine Cleanup Act.” The bill would make EPA’s Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains permanent and sort out its role in organizing the cleanup of abandoned mines across the American West.

Kelly said in a statement that the forgotten hardrock mines pose “serious environmental and public health threats” to his state, but too often their cleanup is delayed.


“By cutting red tape, creating greater accountability, and improving the coordination of local, state, and federal partners, our bill will accelerate the cleanup of abandoned mines,” Kelly said.