A congressional hearing was held in the Edgar Mine of Idaho Springs for the first time to discuss the legislation needed to recruit and train mine engineers.
Since the Gold King Mine spill, policy talks have taken a different turn. Mostly for the worst. To draw attention to this issue, a congressional hearing was held in the Edgar Mine of Idaho Springs, 1,000 feet deep.
Once a prolific silver and gold mine, the Edgar Mine is now a training space for mining engineers. In this setting, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources met for the hearing on a bill that would ensure a significant sum goes to recruiting and training engineers which could ensure mining reclamation efforts are attended professionally.
Representative Rob Bishop, Utah Republican and chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, declared that the setting was at least weird. The unusual setting, with rock formations visible, is now the Colorado School of Mines’ training space.
Following the Gold King Mine spill, debates on the reform of the mining system have gained momentum. As approximately 3 million gallons of mining sludge leaked into the Animas River, the spill was declared a harsh environmental disaster. In the aftermath, the Environmental Protection Agency admitted its fault. Among the points made by the federal body, the failure to drill in order to determine the pressure of the water before the reclamation efforts was acknowledged.
As such, the mining reform debate has included a strong point. Do federal agencies have sufficient trained engineers and experts to can professionally assess reclamation projects? The conclusion is that the mining reform should include legislation that funnels funding to schools which can be used as a talent pool.
Leigh Freeman, mining consultant present in the Edgar Mine for the congressional hearing declared:
“The generation coming up wants to make a difference. Right now, the mining industry is not perceived as a way to do that”.
Reclamation projects are an urgent issue according to some. Colorado counts 23,000 inactive mines and thousands of unemployed miners. Under these circumstances, Congress is bound to take a lead and provide a meaningful solution.
Among a number of good Samaritan proposals, the proposal of Representative Scott Tipton, Cortez Republican suggests that inactive mines could be restored by private entities that could limit their liability risk.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia