Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller today announce the passage of the Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act in the U.S. Senate. The legislation now goes to the President’s desk. The bill directs the BLM to convey the federal portions of the Three Kids Mine site to the City of Henderson’s Redevelopment Agency for fair market value taking into account the cost of reclamation for the mine site. Once it receives title to the land, the Redevelopment Agency will work with a developer to complete the cleanup to meet stringent federal standards and build a residential community in its place.
“For more than 50 years, the Three Kids Mine site in Henderson has been a danger and an eyesore to the nearby residents. I have heard from my constituents and have been working hard to resolve this issue,” said Senator Reid. “This legislation will ensure that the mine site is cleaned up without costing the Federal government a dime. I thank Dean for his partnership on this legislation and look forward to continuing to work with the City of Henderson and our federal agencies to see this through to the end”
“Senate passage of this bill is the final step necessary for this legislation to become law and finally allowing the Three Kids Mine site to be reclaimed and redeveloped. I am pleased this bill will help bring jobs to the Henderson area and encourage economic development in a region that needs it badly,” said Senator Dean Heller. “In addition to Senator Reid, I would also like to thank to Congressman Heck for his leadership on this issue in the House of Representatives. Without his hard work, this bill would not be heading to the President’s desk for his signature.”
BACKGROUND ON THREE KIDS MINE SITE
The 1,260 acre Three Kids Mine site is an abandoned manganese mine and mill site located along the south side of Lake Mead Drive, across the highway from Lake Las Vegas, in Henderson. The mine site is made up of approximately 300 acres of privately held land and 900 acres of federally managed land. The private and federal parcels share extensive contamination and massive pits from past mining operations. The estimated cost to remediate contamination on the site is over $300 million; in part, because remediation cannot take place on the Federal lands without including the privately owned parcels. To date, the Federal government has not undertaken any comprehensive effort to clean up the abandoned mine site.
The mine site was operated as a manganese mine and mill from 1917 to 1961. In the early 19th century, manganese was an important metal needed to strengthen steel, but most of the U.S. supply came from foreign sources. With the onset of World War I, foreign sources of manganese were unavailable and the U.S. military pressed domestic mines into service including the Three Kids Mine. Three Kids was the largest manganese mine in Nevada, but after 1961 the Three Kids site was abandoned, though it did serve intermittently as a storage area for Federal manganese reserves until 2003. Today, the site is a public health and safety hazard, with three massive open mine pits, ruins from the milling facility, and significant volumes of mine overburden and toxic manganese tailings containing arsenic, lead, and diesel fuel.