Require Comprehensive Mine Cleanup to Prevent Pollution

Target: Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy

Goal: Prevent toxic contamination from mines by instituting comprehensive mine cleanup laws.

There are currently no laws requiring mining companies or governmental organizations to perform comprehensive mine cleanup once the natural resources have been removed. Byproducts of the mining industry are often toxic or even radioactive material that can seep into the land, water, or air, damaging nearby ecosystems and poisoning the people in nearby communities. If this nation allows the mining of valuable natural resources, it is vital that there are laws in place requiring mine cleanup post-use.

The hazardous effects of mining can be damaging to communities and wildlife centuries after the mines have been used up. Take for example the case of the recent mine spill in Colorado. The Gold King Mine spill allowed toxic chemicals to poison the water of the Animas and San Juan rivers, affecting the communities of Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

This mine had been used up in the early 1900s and then abandoned, filled with water contaminated with heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. Nearly a century later, the mine burst and toxic material flooded the drinking water of communities in nearly three states.

The effects of uranium ore mining are even more devastating, particularly for the people of the Native American reservations near the mines. In 1979, the United Nuclear Corporation mill spill caused Navajo people of New Mexico to be exposed to twice the legal amount of radioactive uranium in their drinking water. It is a disgrace that the residents of some of the largest Navajo reservations are victims of nuclear radiation due to the state of their water.

Sign the petition below to urge the United States Secretary of Energy to implement laws that require comprehensive mine cleanup in order to prevent toxic contamination of the land, water, and air in the communities and ecosystems surrounding the mines.


Dear Secretary Moniz,

Mining byproducts and mine spills are the cause of a significant amount of water toxicity involving heavy metals and even radioactive material. Currently, the United States has no laws that require mining companies and governmental mining entities to perform comprehensive mine cleanup. Due to this failure, hazardous material is poisoning the water, land, and air of our country’s valuable regions, such as Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, and many Navajo and other Native American reservations.

The Gold King Mine spill occurred nearly a century after the mine had been used up, but obviously never cleaned. Just last year, the mine burst, leaking toxic chemicals into the water sources of communities in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. This exposed vulnerable communities to dangerous levels of heavy metals through their drinking, bathing, cleaning, and cooking water.

I am urging you to draft laws that require comprehensive cleanup of mines. Please take action to enforce policies that require mining companies to remove toxins and radioactive material that can seep into the water, land, and air supplies of our nation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alberto Otero Garcia

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