03-16-17 US Senator Gardner Announces EPA Payments to Colorado Communities Impacted by Gold King Mine Spill

US Senator Gardner Announces EPA Payments to Colorado Communities Impacted by Gold King Mine Spill

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a total of $54,275.40 to Colorado entities “for payroll, fringe, travel and indirect costs” associated with the Gold King Mine spill. According to the EPA, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will receive $812.49, the city of Durango will receive $1,072.63, the San Juan Basin Health Department will receive $13,611.22, and La Plata County will receive $38,779.06. 

In December, Gardner, along with Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3), sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy regarding response cost reimbursements associated with the Gold King Mine spill. In the letter they wrote, “Earlier this month, EPA sent final decision letters indicating that the agency has no intention of making further response cost reimbursements. This is unacceptable, and inconsistent with your commitment to take full responsibility to affected states, local and tribal governments, and communities, and contrary to the newly enacted WIIN Act.”

Today’s payments are a direct result of a Gardner-authored provision, Section 5004 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), that requires the EPA to fully reimburse all state, local, and tribal government for response costs, regardless of the arbitrary deadline the Obama Administration’s EPA imposed on such payments.

“Within a month of Administrator Pruitt being confirmed to lead the EPA, he is taking the first steps to live up to his commitment to the people of Colorado,” said Gardner. “I applaud this decision to further pay out the Tribe and local governments in an effort to make Colorado whole from the EPA-born Gold King Mine spill.”

Last week, Gardner sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt inviting him to visit Southwest Colorado to hear from Coloradans regarding the Gold King Mine spill. Recently, Gardner spoke on the Senate floor about the Gold King Mine spill and released a statement following his vote to confirm Administrator Pruitt highlighting Pruitt’s commitment to fully compensate those affected.

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy.