EPA urged to deal with mine waste spill claims

Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 07:41:45-04
The Colorado Attorney General says is concerned that the EPA has not made any payments to residents impacted by the Gold King Mine spill. 

In August 2015, 3 million gallons of toxic mine waste spilled into the river during an EPA-sponsored project.  

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy amid concerns that claims filed by Colorado citizens after the Animas River spill are not being processed.

In the letter, Coffman said, “more than seven months after the spill, my staff can locate no public information from EPA about your efforts to expedite resolution of Gold King Mine FTCA claims."

"I am very troubled that the EPA has taken no action in this matter," Coffman continued. "EPA’s inaction effectively forces Colorado citizens into federal court to resolve claims or they must suffer further delay and uncertainty about whether or not they will ever receive payment from the EPA. Neither is fair or consistent with your commitment to take full responsibility for the damage.”

Denver7 is awaiting a response from the EPA.

The New Mexico Environment Department also wants the federal government to reimburse the state for what it spent responding to the Gold King Mine spill.

The department announced Monday that it has sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a request for more than $1.5 million -- the money New Mexico spent on emergency activities in the wake of the spill.

The EPA has assumed responsibility for a cleanup crew that triggered the release of wastewater, that impacted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

New Mexico officials say local and state emergency workers,  specialists, engineers, scientists and others teamed up to respond to and monitor the plume that deposited heavy metals as it progressed downstream.