KUNM

Gold King Mine spill

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been almost two years since an Environmental Protection Agency contractor released millions of gallons of acid mine drainage into the Animas and San Juan Rivers. A plume of contaminants and heavy metals stained the rivers yellow and flowed from Colorado into New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

Rita Daniels

Congress has passed a measure that will speed up the Environmental Protection Agency’s payouts to states recovering from pollution caused by the Gold King Mine Spill, as well as make the EPA address claims filed by local farmers.

Jonathan Thompson / High Country News

Folks on the Navajo Nation still haven’t received the compensation they were promised after the Gold King Mine spill last year, according to leaders there. On Saturday starting around 6:30 a.m., people will walk and run from Hogback to Shiprock to keep the focus on long-term effects in the community.

Rita Daniels

New Mexico’s attorney general is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. The suit calls into question how abandoned mines were handled in Colorado before the Gold King Mine spill. 

Rita Daniels

 


Thursday marks the three-month anniversary of the Gold King Mine Spill. In August, the spill originating from abandoned Gold King Mine contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers. In response members of New Mexico and Colorado’s congressional delegation have announced an effort to reform federal mining regulations.

State: EPA Misled On Spill Data

Sep 25, 2015
Courtesy Josh Stephenson, Durango Herald

The state’s top environmental regulator testified at a joint congressional hearing recently, criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for withholding information about the Gold King Mine spill. 

Elizabeth McKenzie

Irrigation water still isn’t flowing from the San Juan River to some farms on the Navajo Nation. Two chapters voted to keep ditches shut off after the Gold King Mine spill last month. But Navajo folks around the state are reaching out to help farmers and ranchers there. 

Biologists: Animas River Fish And Bugs Ok, So Far

Aug 18, 2015
Rita Daniels

Farmers and livestock owners are free to draw water from the San Juan and Animas rivers again after 3 million gallons of mine waste spilled into the watershed. No one knows what the long-term effects of the contamination will be on wildlife in the rivers, but biologists are tracking the spill’s impact.

Johnathan Thompson / High Country News

KUNM Call In Show 8/20 8a: The mustard-yellow plume has passed and the Animas and San Juan rivers are now open again. But how long will the toxic chemicals from the Gold King Mine spill linger? We'll find out what's being done to clean up the rivers - and ask, who should pay for it? Can mining companies be held accountable? Should the EPA pay because they triggered the spill?

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Guests:

Rita Daniels

New Mexico lifted water restrictions on the Animas and San Juan Rivers over the weekend in the wake of a toxic mine spill in Colorado.

Water samples showed spikes in heavy metals, but state and federal officials say contaminants have been diluted and dispersed downstream.

That brought relief to farmers in San Juan County who are not on the Navajo Nation. They were given the go-ahead on Saturday to irrigate and use the water for watering livestock after the San Juan and Animas Rivers had been closed for more than a week.

Rita Daniels/KUNM

Trucks delivered 200,000 gallons of water Thursday for irrigating crops in San Juan County after the Animas and San Juan rivers were closed due to contamination from the Gold King Mine spill. 

Rita Daniels/KUNM

People with domestic wells in the floodplain of the Animas and San Juan rivers are free to use their water today as of midday Friday, August 15, 2015. New Mexico lifted a ban on water use from these wells after initial tests showed no contamination from the Gold King Mine spill.

Peter Nathanson with the state’s Drinking Water Bureau said they inspected wells within 500 feet of the river where the groundwater level is higher than the river water. 

EPA: River Is Bouncing Back

Aug 12, 2015
Clyde Frogg via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered agency offices nationwide to stop field investigation work for mine cleanups while they reassess the work to ensure there's no potential for spills similar to the one in Colorado.