Monday, April 11, 2016

Environmental Protection Agency proposes Superfund for Gold Mine spill

The Environmental Protection Agency has formally proposed a Superfund listing in San Juan County. The recommendation will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, which sets off a 60-day public comment period before the rule can be finalized. The proposal calls for adding eight new sites to the National Priorities List, including Bonita Peak Mining District in San Juan County. The EPA recommended the site after Gov. John Hickenlooper sent a letter to federal officials in February backing the designation, which would inject large amounts of federal dollars into permanent restoration efforts. The action came in the wake of the Aug. 5 Gold King Mine spill. Hickenlooper sent the letter to the EPA after Silverton and San Juan County expressed support for the listing. “This is a crucial next step in making the region eligible for necessary resources and comprehensive cleanup efforts under EPA’s Superfund program, but our work is not done,” Hickenlooper said. “We are working with the EPA to ensure that adequate funding for this site is provided, including immediate interim measures and options to mitigate any further water quality deterioration.” The listing would impact as many as 50 mining-related sites in the Gladstone area that have contaminated the Upper Animas, Mineral Creek and Cement Creek for more than a century. Restoration efforts would likely include a permanent water-treatment facility, as well as long-term water quality monitoring...more

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