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Mining Justice Advocates Press for Action on Earth Day

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Environmental advocates would like to see new rules to make sure water from pit lakes, such as this one at the abandoned Anaconda mine in Mason Valley, is treated, so it can be reused. (Ian Bigley/PLAN)
Environmental advocates would like to see new rules to make sure water from pit lakes, such as this one at the abandoned Anaconda mine in Mason Valley, is treated, so it can be reused. (Ian Bigley/PLAN)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
April 22, 2021

RENO, Nev. -- Today, to honor the 51st annual Earth Day, environmental advocates are calling for action on three bills to better regulate the mining industry.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 3 would direct the state to look into establishing a state-level environmental impact process with an environmental justice component.

Ian Bigley, mining justice organizer at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), said right now, projects only go through full environmental review if they are on federal land.

"It would ensure that we are applying environmental review to all significantly environmentally impactful projects in the state, regardless of if they're on federal land or not," Bigley explained.

Mining interests argue current environmental regulations are sufficient. PLAN also supports a proposal to limit the huge deductions mine operators can take on their taxes, which would generate millions for the general fund.

Bigley said he'd also like to see the so-called "bad actor law" pass. Assembly Bill 148 would make sure decision-makers within mining companies, not just the corporate entity, face liability for cleaning up polluted sites, because right now it's possible to leave a mess and start fresh.

"Those individuals can let that mining LLC fail, go bankrupt and open up new mines under a different corporate name in the state without having addressed the illegal environmental harms that they've caused," Bigley observed.

You can register your thoughts on any of the bills by going to the "share your opinion poll" section of the NELIS website run by the Nevada Legislature.

Dozens of Earth Day events are going on today, including a march at 10:00 a.m. for the Green New Deal at the Federal building in Reno and many cleanup events, one this morning at the Truckee River in Reno and another tomorrow at Sunset Regional Park in Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environment, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Immigrant Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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