Gold King Mine

January 22, 2016--Silverton drafting Superfund-seeking letter to Colorado's governor (Denver Post)

Attorneys for Silverton and San Juan County are in the process of drafting a letter to Colorado's governor in support of Superfund cleanup for its leaching, abandoned mines. While the request still must be approved by the town's elected officials next week, the action represents the most significant move since the Gold King Mine spill in August prompted cries for a large-


January 21, 2016--Colorado delegation poised to introduce Good Samaritan mine cleanup bill (Durango Herald)

Legislation to allow organizations the opportunity to clean up abandoned mines with liability protection is on the cusp of being introduced in the U.S. Congress. Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican, are preparing to introduce Good Samaritan legislation along with Rep.


January 17, 2016--Silverton to EPA: Keep Gold King sludge out of Animas (Denver Post)

Colorado mountain residents hardest-hit by the EPA-triggered Gold King Mine disaster say they'd like to make Silverton a research hub to find a better way — beyond building water treatment plants — to deal with thousands of mines leaking toxic acids. Since August, the Environmental Protection Agency has relied on a temporary plant to remove millions of tons of metals sludge


January 16, 2016--Outdated mining laws need fundamental reform (Aspen Daily Times)

If anything was made clear by last summer’s Gold King Mine spill, it was that the laws governing hardrock mining cleanup are woefully inadequate to respond to the vast economic and environmental liabilities perched above mountain communities throughout the West.


Southwest Colorado Mining History

Duane Smith, a local historian and retired Fort Lewis professor, said that even in the late 1800s, downstream communities wondered why the Animas River changed color, as mining practices of the day were unregulated. A 1899 newsclip from the Durango Democrat, indicated the early tension between Durango and Silverton: “The question that is crowding upon Durango thick and fast is one of water. The mill slimes from Silverton are now reaching us.” According to a 1932 report in the Silverton Standard & the Miner, a La Plata County farmer won a legal action against Sunnyside Mining and Milling after the company dumped mine tailings into the Animas River, damaging the farmer’s land and stock. The article does not name the terms of the settlement, but the farmer sought $25,000 in damages (about $500k in today’s dollars). In a great November 17th article by the Durango Herald, archival photos of mine tailing pits above Silverton highlight that not much has changed when it comes to complaints about mine waste since the region’s early settlement. “Ranchers and farmers who want to use water for irrigation in the lower valley have always attempted to force the mine and mill operators to keep the tailings from polluting the streams; however without much success,” the original caption for the 1940 photograph said. The mine tailing photo is especially relevant after the August 5th Gold King Mine blowout, which sent 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage down the Animas River, and reinvigorated a decades-old problem of water quality in the river’s upper basin.


Silverton and San Juan County Officials Authorize NPL Discussions

In response to the recent Gold King Mine incident on the Animas River, in November, Silverton and San Juan County officials participated in a tour of several Superfund sites in Colorado. Since then, both governments have authorized their representatives to meet with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as the U.S. EPA to discuss what would be involved if the area were to be given a National Priority Listing (NPL) under the Superfund program. These discussions are preliminary and no decisions have been made, though one of the conditions desired by the local governments is that money be made available now to address the mining drainage in Upper Cement Creek.


December 22, 2015--La Plata County to ask EPA for $2.4 million for Gold King Mine cleanup (Denver Post)

La Plata County commissioners in southwestern Colorado voted Tuesday to ask the EPA to reimburse up to $2.4 million over the next decade in expenses related to the Gold King Mine disaster. The Environmental Protection Agency must sign off on the request, to be submitted by Jan. 15, county manager Joe Kerby said.


December 20, 2015--La Plata County tests for elements not previously sampled at Gold King Mine (Durango Herald)

An independent analysis of sediment at the Gold King Mine adit found trace amounts of uranium isotopes, but at levels far below typical screening thresholds. The study was done in September by Wright Water Engineers on behalf of La Plata County government.


Syndicate content