U.S. SENATE – Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today introduced a bipartisan bill they hope will make it easier for “Good Samaritans” to help clean up and improve water quality in and around abandoned hardrock mines across Montana.

In a joint press release, the Senators say their “Good Samaritan Remediation of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act” would create a pilot permitting program to allow not-for-profit groups to mount lower risk mine cleanup projects to improve water and soil quality or otherwise protect human health.

Tester wrote: “The metals and chemicals left behind by irresponsible mining companies have harmful effects on our environment, and we should be helping the folks that are willing to step in and clean up."

Daines added that such efforts "support rural Montana communities, create jobs and restore and enhance our environment.”

Montana has approximately 6,000 abandoned hardrock mines according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Under current law, organizations that volunteer to reclaim a site may find themselves legally liable for circumstances outside of their control, even though they had no involvement with the mine prior to cleaning it up.

Click HERE to read the bill, which is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

The legislation has received support from Trout Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Property and Environment Research Center, National Deer Association, National Wildlife Federation, National Mining Association, American Exploration and Mining Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Izaak Walton League of America, and the Outdoor Alliance.