Montana’s Senators push Montana jobs through mine cleanup

Baucus, Tester urge Obama to support Abandoned Mine Land funding

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester are urging President Obama to create jobs in Montana by supporting Abandoned Mine Land cleanup in the President’s upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 Budget. 

In a letter sent to the President, Baucus and Tester stressed the importance of the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program in creating jobs, preserving Montana’s outdoor heritage and keeping Montanans safe.

“Abandoned mines contribute acid mine drainage, metals and sediments to surrounding waterbodies in unacceptable concentrations, creating health risks and environmental impacts,” the Senators wrote.  “The AML program provides critical funding to support mine clean-up and create jobs across the nation.”

A few states and tribes have received AML certification over the last two decades, meaning that they have completed clean-ups on all the high priority abandoned coal mines within their borders.  However, there are numerous coal and hard rock mines that continue to contaminate their surroundings and endanger people.

President Obama proposed cutting funding for AML last year, but Baucus and Tester worked with senators from both parties to restore the funding.

Senators Baucus and Tester were joined in their support for the AML program by Senators John Barasso and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, D-N.M.