August 26, 2015--Superfund listing divides Silverton residents (Durango Herald)

 The question of Superfund dominated the first meeting of the Animas River Stakeholders Group to take place since the Gold King Mine blowout, and the topic divided the hundred people from Silverton, Durango and even Denver who crowded into Silverton Town Hall on Tuesday night. Peter Butler, co-coordinator of the group, acknowledged that the group has never formally endorsed or rejected Superfund because its own members – which include Silvertonians, environmentalists and representatives from mining companies, including Sunnyside Gold Corp. – disagreed about it. Like Banquo's ghost in Shakespeare's Macbeth, though officials from the Environmental Protection Agency did not attend, throughout the hours-long Superfund discussion, the agency seemed omnipresent in the imagination of Silvertonians. Many residents questioned whether Superfund – which would allow the agency to recoup costs of building and running a limestone water-treatment plant to treat the metals flowing out of the area's mines and into the Animas River from any “parties it deems responsible” – was the right mechanism. They said they hoped to get money straight from Congress. Meanwhile, Durangoans questioned how anyone could afford a treatment plant – which would cost $20 million to build and about $1.2 million to operate in perpetuity – without Superfund. San Juan County Commissioner Scott Fetchenier said Sunnyside Gold Corp.'s $10 million offer was one of the major reasons that commissioners decided to appeal directly to Congress, saying they might use Sunnyside's money immediately rather than turning to Superfund and “waiting to find out whether Kinross Gold Corp. is held responsible for this,” a process he described as “ponderous.” He advised against Superfund, saying that, “in the event Silverton became a superfund site, Sunnyside and its parent company, Kinross, a multi-billion dollar mining conglomerate, have promised to “withdraw the offer” and use the money instead for litigation. To view the full article and report visit the Durango Herald.