New rule may help clean up polluting old mines in Colorado

DENVER - Federal environmental officials say a new policy should shield outside groups from liability if they try to mitigate dangerous chemicals leaking from abandoned mines in the Colorado mountains and beyond.

The Denver Post reported Sunday ( ) that the Environmental Protection Agency tweaked its policy after years of prodding by Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Udall visited an abandoned mine on Friday and said the region's water and air quality, wildlife and travel industry are at risk unless leaks are contained.

In Colorado, leaks from an estimated 7,300 mines have tainted 1,300 miles of streams.

The new policy says "good Samaritans" no longer need a federal permit to do cleanups and offers the groups an understanding with the EPA that they would not be liable under the Clean Water Act.


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