On Thursday, Republicans revived the “Good Samaritan” legislation in the hopes of encouraging companies to put money toward cleaning up abandoned mines across the country.
A second bill moving through Congress would allow the Bureau of Land Management to solicit donations to clean up these abandoned mines.
According to the EPA, under the Clean Water Act, those who undertake the cleanup of abandoned mine sites are then responsible for any litigations that may arise from those sites.
However, while an amendment to the Clean Water Act involving the Good Samaritan legislation could push environmental groups to do more cleanups, it could also make companies less responsible for pollution.
While Republicans have been some of the most outspoken against the EPA after the Gold King mine spill, their bill to revive the Good Samaritan legislation did not directly target the EPA nor seem to limit its authority.
“The idea is EPA is still involved,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the committee. “The magnitude of the scale is simply overwhelming, and they cannot handle it. They need help.”
It’s uncertain if this bill will pass under the Obama administration, but there is hope to push for it again in 2017.