EPA continues to make amends for spill at Colorado mine – by Michael Carroll (AMI Newswire.com – August 10, 2016)


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ponied up more than $1 million last week to reimburse affected communities, a year after an EPA-led remediation operation at a Colorado mine backfired and sent three million gallons of toxic water into nearby waterways.

The EPA’s Office of Inspector General has also confirmed that it is conducting a criminal investigation into the federal agency’s actions last August at the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo. The excavation of a horizontal drainage passage caused pressurized water containing heavy metals to spew into a nearby creek and eventually contaminate waterways in three states and the Navajo Nation.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), whose district includes the Gold King Mine, is now pushing to get that mining district added to the National Priorities List, which would make the area eligible for long-term cleanup strategies under the Superfund program, Tipton’s spokeswoman told AMI Newswire.

Liz Payne said the congressman is also planning to introduce legislation later this year called the Good Samaritan Act, which would encourage organizations with expertise in environmental cleanup, such as conservation groups and mining companies, to take on cleanup projects without being saddled with huge liability risks and civil lawsuits.

In addition, Tipton wants to get to the bottom of any errors made by the EPA that led to the spill, which affected areas downstream in New Mexico and Utah as well. “We’re still holding them responsible for making wronged parties right again,” Payne said.

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