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Plan to pay areas impacted by mine waste spill

Posted at 5:28 AM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 07:28:06-04

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is expected to announce legislation aimed at compensating communities affected by the torrent of toxic wastewater from a Colorado mine that fouled two Southwestern rivers.

The New Mexico Democrat scheduled a conference call Tuesday to discuss his plans. His office says the legislation would require water quality monitoring of the Animas and San Juan rivers.

A cleanup team contracted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered the spill of millions of gallons of wastewater as it was doing excavation work on the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado.

The plume turned the Animas a sickly yellow color as the pollution tainted with heavy metals flowed downstream to New Mexico and Utah.

The spill also has reignited efforts to reform federal mining laws.

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