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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Projects to Address Safety Hazards and Environmental Damage at Abandoned Mines


WASHINGTON.- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today $19.88 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to address safety hazards and environmental damage caused by abandoned mines. The 14 projects receiving Recovery Act funds are located in National Forests in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Michigan, and Montana.

“The funding provided by President Obama’s Recovery Act will address safety hazards and correct environmental damage at neglected and abandoned mines around the country,” said Vilsack.

The remediation activities undertaken as part of these projects include closing mine openings and vertical shafts; recontouring open pits, trenches, and associated roads; and removing or stabilizing abandoned buildings, equipment, and hazardous materials. To enhance safety, mine openings will be gated and signs posted to prevent public entry. Watershed cleanup activities will include replacing contaminated soil and debris from ground surfaces and streams with clean soils and native vegetation and restoring streams to their original channels.

For instance, in California, Recovery Act funds will be used to remove and contain toxic waste that has been leaking into local streams and rivers for over a century from the Blue Ledge Copper Mine, killing aquatic life and posing unacceptable threats to human health. This project will remove and contain the toxic waste dumps and prevent further release of hazardous materials, creating new jobs for constructions workers, scientists, engineers, biologists, and safety specialists.

The list of projects receiving funding (by state):

Alaska (2 projects): $2.8 million

Resurrection Creek Watershed Restoration

Salt Chuck Mine Removal Action

Ariz. (3): $1.75 million

World’s Fair Mine Adit - Acid Mine Drainage Remediation

Santa Rita Abandoned Mine Safety Mitigation/Closures

North Phoenix Abandoned Mine Safety Mitigation/Closures

Calif. (5): $10.9 million

Abandoned mines - White Pine County

Abandoned Mine Safety Closures

Abandoned Mine Remediation

Tahoe National Forest Abandoned Mines

Blue Ledge Mine

Idaho (1): $3.6 million

North Idaho Abandoned Mines Cleanup

Mich. (2): $340,000

Mine Closures Upper Michigan, Phase I

Mine Closure in Upper Michigan, Phase 2 and Norwich Mine Interpretive Trail

Mont. (1): $450,000

Scotchman Mine

TOTAL: (14): $19,884.00

Additional information about these projects and other Forest Service ARRA projects can be found at:


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