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Rep. Simpson Secures Abandoned Hardrock Mine Reclamation Funding

WASHINGTON— Last week, the House Committee on Appropriations voted to advance the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson – Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee – secured funding for the Abandoned Hardrock Mine Reclamation program.  

“Idaho has thousands of abandoned mines, and most of these abandonments occurred long before responsible mine reclamation policies became the norm,” said Rep. Simpson. “Funding programs to responsibly utilize mines in our state is essential for our critical minerals. I am proud to secure this critical funding for Idaho, and I look forward to our continued work with the state and local governments, and industry partners.”  

“I applaud Congressman Simpson for his work on the House Appropriations Committee to address Idaho’s abandoned mines,” said Idaho Governor Brad Little. “By cleaning up the past, we can look towards a responsible future in the mining industry to provide critical minerals. When the fiscal year 2024 funding is finalized, Idaho agencies are ready to get to work.” 

“Industry has always supported a multifaceted approach to address legacy mine issues created generations ago when there was little knowledge of impacts and hazards created at mine sites. We applaud Congressman Simpson in his effort to provide another tool for industry to work with our government and tribal partners to secure these abandoned mine sites created in a bygone era,” said Benjamin Davenport, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Mining Association.  

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act authorized funding for an Abandoned Hardrock Mine program to assist States, Tribes, and Federal agencies with inventorying, assessing, decommissioning, and reclaiming abandoned Hardrock mine features. Of the funds provided, no less than $3,000,000 shall be for State grants for western States that normally do not qualify for funding through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and have significant hard rock legacy mines that need to be reclaimed but do not have a significant presence of coal mines or oil and gas legacy infrastructure.  

Idaho has a significant number of hard rock legacy mines that need reclaiming, and this funding works to address these issues. Rep. Simpson’s funding is part of the Fiscal Year 2024 funding package for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Related Agencies.   

This funding package will advance to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.