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New EPA Rule Lowers Risk For ‘Good Samaritans’

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(credit: epa.gov)

(credit: epa.gov)

DENVER (AP) – Volunteers who want to clean up thousands of polluted mine sites across the West will now face less legal risk.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a rule Wednesday saying that so-called “Good Samaritans” who try to clean toxic runoff from abandoned mines are not liable under the federal Clean Water Act.

Nonprofit groups and others have worried they could be sued under the act if a mine continued to release toxic waste after they worked on it.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Mark Udall pushed for the new policy. So did the fishing group Trout Unlimited, which said the policy will make it easier to work on polluted sites.

The issue is of particular concern in Colorado and the West because thousands of old mines need to be cleaned and monitored.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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