WATCH: Sen. Kelly Highlights Bill to Clean Up Abandoned Mines, Protect Clean Drinking Water 

In keeping with his commitment to protect Arizona’s water resources and clean up abandoned mine sites which pose a threat to public health and the environment, last week, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly stressed the need to pass the bipartisan Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act, co-sponsored by Kelly. The Kelly-backed bill would cut burdensome red tape and allow ‘Good Samaritans’ such as states, local governments, non-profits, and other groups, to clean up and improve water quality in and around abandoned mines.

“Abandoned uranium mines – including those on the Navajo Nation – pose an acute health risk to those living nearby. And throughout Arizona, abandoned zinc, copper, and lead mines pose a risk to surface water and groundwater quality. At a time of historic drought, these threats to potential sources of drinking water must be taken seriously,” said Kelly during the Senate EPW Subcommittee hearing.

Sen. Kelly at a Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee hearing last week

Kelly requested that the Committee hold the hearing on the legislation, which offers potential tools to begin remediation of the approximately 100,000 abandoned mine sites in Arizona. To highlight the importance of this legislation to Arizona, Kelly invited Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director, Misael Cabrera to talk about the risks posed by abandoned mine sites to Arizona’s groundwater.

“We are a desert region. Water is very precious. For the most part, for us, groundwater equals drinking water,” said Cabrera during his testimony.  

In the Senate, Kelly has championed key legislation to protect Arizona’s clean drinking water resources. Recently, Kelly successfully secured $4 billion in funding to combat historic western drought in the Inflation Reduction Act which is now law. Kelly was also a key architect of the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s superfund cleanup, drinking water, andwestern water provisions, securing $109.4 million for groundwater decontamination and other Arizona water projects and $3 billion for abandoned hard rock mine cleanup.   

In August, Kelly was named the “Groundwater Protector of the Year,” an honor given by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) each year to one member of Congress who goes above and beyond in the protection of and advocacy for groundwater. Kelly is the first Arizona member of Congress to receive the award. 

Click HERE to watch the video of Kelly’s questions during the hearing.