Colorado Sen. Gardner joins push for EPA reimbursements

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Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner joined fellow lawmakers Thursday in a push to ensure faster Environmental Protection Agency reimbursement of counties for costs related to the Gold King Mine disaster.

Gardner and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are requesting a hearing on the matter. They’ve introduced legislation — Gold King Accountability and Compensation for Taxpayers — to address concerns that counties were not being fully reimbursed.

SAN JUAN COUNTY, CO - AUGUST 13: A woman from Weston Solutions walks next to one of the retention ponds at the bottom of Gold King Mine on August 13, 2015 at Gladstone townsite. Members of the EPA, Environmental Restoration, Weston Solutions and the U.S. Coast Guard are working on cleaning up the water in the four retention ponds and helping with the creation of the fifth. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post)
A woman from Weston Solutions walks next to one of the retention ponds at the bottom of Gold King Mine on August 13, 2015 at Gladstone townsite.

“There are more than 60 federal tort claims relating to the Gold King Mine spill upon which the EPA has yet to act,” they said in a letter to ranking committee members. “This legislation also holds the EPA accountable by requiring the agency to pay for these claims out of its own budget, and it expedites the payout of emergency response costs assumed by tribes, counties, and local governments.”

Gardner and others repeatedly have urged federal authorities to help Colorado communities affected by the Aug. 5 Gold King Mine spill — triggered by an EPA-led crew that botched work at the mine.

“It is unacceptable that the EPA has resumed its work on the Gold King site, but has yet to live up to its promise to take full responsibility for the spill.”

EPA officials could not be reached for comment.

Syndicated from Denver Post

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