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Mining bill shields pollution cases opponents say

A mine shaft near Superior. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Elvina Nawaguna-Clemente)

A bill pending in the state Senate and pushed by the mining industry would shield cases of environmental contamination from civil lawsuits and penalties according to backers.

The Arizona Republic reports the bill headed for a final Senate vote Monday would allow companies to keep those cases secret. Supporters say it would be an incentive for corporations to voluntarily clean up ground and water contamination they discover on their properties.

The bill would give companies a “privilege” of keeping their findings to themselves and out of the courts. If a business worked with a regulating agency to clean up the contamination, it would be shielded from harsh penalties.

The Sierra Club is opposed saying it would penalize whistle-blowers if they divulged confidential information and it would keep information out of the public record.

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