Abandoned Mines’ Threat to Drinking Water Remains UnknownNews Type: Regional, Federal Source: AP News
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There are hundreds of thousands of abandoned hard rock mining sites or features scattered throughout the West, and federal and state officials are nowhere close to identifying those that potentially pose a hazard to drinking water.
The Gold King Mine spill in Colorado, which released a torrent of ugly mustard-colored pollutants that contaminated waterways in three states and the Navajo Nation, was a visually graphic reminder from five years ago of how much of a threat and expense these abandoned mines pose.
Hundreds of legal claims were filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — which had oversight of the mine’s remediation when it breached — with Utah settling its lawsuit just this month with the federal agency over Gold King Mine.