The Animas River in Southwest Colorado turned a milky yellow when, one year ago today, it was contaminated with mercury and arsenic released from the abandoned Gold King Mine. A crew hired by the EPA to clean up the mine accidentally triggered the spill. Work at that site continues, and it may extend to dozens of mines in the area, but that would still leave thousands of abandoned hard-rock mines in the West that have the potential to pollute waterways.
- A Year After The Gold King Spill, US Still Grapples With Abandoned Mines
- New Mexico Sues Colorado Over Gold King Mine Spill
- EPA Recommends Gold King Mine For Superfund Listing
Efforts to find money and a plan to clean up the mines have failed for decades and current proposals under consideration in Congress recycle some of the same failed ideas, according to Doug Young, senior policy director at the Keystone Policy Center in Colorado. Under Young's leadership, the center is convening representatives of industry groups, environmentalists, watershed groups, Congressional offices and engineers to develop an alternative proposal. Young has worked on the issue for governors Roy Romer and John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall.
Young spoke with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel.