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. Funds up to $2.4 million would be paid back to the county by the federal government as tasks are completed to protect public health and the environment. The EPA has accepted responsibility for the Aug. 5 Gold King blowout, triggered when an EPA crew was digging. It happened in the mountains above Silverton, located north of Durango in San Juan County. But the deluge of heavy metals-laced mining drainage gushed down the Animas River into La Plata County and Durango, and eventually three other states. "We are putting our case forward, requesting that they allocate that amount of money," Kerby said. "This is important, not only to reimburse the county taxpayers for money the county spent responding to the event caused by the EPA, but also for longterm monitoring of the effects of this ongoing acid mine drainage." Tasks locals proposed to complete using the funds include setting up a better river monitoring system to detect future changes in water quality, and developing a response plan for environmental disasters. La Plata County commissioners also decided Tuesday to delay taking a position on whether to support San Juan County and Silverton efforts to seek a possible disaster designation for the Cement Creek area above Silverton, which could lead to a federal Superfund cleanup. To view the full article visit the Denver Post.