Colorado Town Finally Succumbs To EPA Control After Resisting For Decades

EPA Handout/Reuters, REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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Ethan Barton Editor in Chief
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Decades-old local resistance to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to have succumbed after government pressure following the August, 2015, Gold King Mine disaster.

The town of Silverton, Colo., repelled EPA pushes to designate Gold King Mine as a Superfund site since the 1990s, but has now surrendered in the wake of the agency-caused disaster. The EPA breached the mine last year and poisoned Animas river with 880,000 pounds of dangerous metals like lead and arsenic. (RELATED: EPA’s Gold King Mine Blowout Was No Accident)

Residents fought to keep the town independent from federal control, but elected officials ultimately asked for the Superfund designation, saying it was better to cooperate with the EPA. (RELATED: EPA Says Yellow River Now Safe, But Still Wants Control)

The EPA proposed in April to designate Gold King and 47 other nearby mines a Superfund site, giving the public 60 days to voice support or opposition. But only five people have commented as of Friday, the mid-point of the comment period, The Durango Herald reported.

A Superfund designation would ultimately give the EPA more access and control over the region and would open up more funding for cleanup. It may take the agency years or even decades for decontamination to begin, however, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation previously revealed.

Silverton residents also worry that stigma surrounding a Superfund will decrease tourism and will lower real estate property values. That’s largely why the proposed site was called the “Bonita Peak Mining District” and kept “Silverton” out of the name.

“Yes it’s scary that this could or already has happened again,” one anonymous commenter wrote, “but as a tourious [sic], that loves to go ATVING [sic] with my family to see all the history of the area, I’m afraid that by cleaning up all these sites, the tourisium [sic] with [sic] domenish [sic] and the towns of Silverton, Oray [sic], and many others will suffer.”

Another anonymous commenter simply wrote:

“Add the Bonita Peak Mining District in San Juan County, CO to the NPL [National Priorities List].”

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