The Environmental Protection Agency regulates three categories of mining: hardrock mining, non-metals mining, and coal mining. The Clean Water Act of 1972 granted the EPA much of their authority to monitor wastewater discharge and air emissions from the mining industry.
Yes that is one of the EPA’s primary functions to monitor all environmental threats whether it be from coal mines or agriculture. The EPA has noted more than 500,000 abandoned mines. These mines are huge environmental issues because of contamination of mine drainage, waste, and past use of heavy metals and other toxins. However, the EPA has formed Brownfields and Land Revitalization Technology Support Center (BTSC), which functions to reclaim and restore these mine sites into recreation areas and wildlife habitats. The BTSC also found in a case study that the introduction of phosphate or biosolids can reduce toxicity levels of heavy metals to people, animals, and plants. Additionally, the Clean Water Act gives the EPA some power to monitor pollution sources, but additional legislation is needed still.
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