12-09-16 US Senator Bennet-Authored Measure to Expedite Gold King Mine Reimbursements Passes Senate

US Senator Michael Bennet color official photo-022513Bennet-Authored Measure to Expedite Gold King Mine Reimbursements Passes Senate

Headed to President’s Desk for Signature

Washington, DC – Yesterday the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with a measure sponsored by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet to expedite the reimbursement of emergency response costs assumed by States, Indian tribes, and local governments following the Gold King Mine spill.

“For the last sixteen months, we’ve been pushing the EPA to reimburse the State, Indian tribes, and local governments that responded quickly to the Gold King Mine spill,” Bennet said. “We were disappointed last week when the agency announced that it did not plan to pay back more of the money that local communities spent responding to the spill. The bipartisan amendment that we included in the Water Resources Development Act will require the EPA to pay communities back for more of their costs. It also ensures the EPA continues to work with local communities to develop a long-term water monitoring program for the Animas River and authorizes funding for the program. We look forward to the President signing this bill into law and will work with southwest Colorado to make sure they receive the reimbursements they are due.”

In September 2016, the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with a measure sponsored by Senator Bennet to expedite the reimbursement of emergency response costs assumed by States, Indian tribes, and local governments following the spill. A similar provision was included in a bill that the House passed on Thursday and that the Senate passed on Friday.

Senator Gardner (R-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and John McCain (R-AZ) joined Bennet to introduce the bipartisan amendment. The measure requires the EPA to make decisions on claims within 90 days and allows for claims that include costs incurred beyond October 31, 2015.  It also establishes a long-term water quality monitoring program and authorizes funding to pay for the program.

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