- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - In a story Dec. 22 about the cleanup of the Gold King Mine spill, The Associated Press reported erroneously reported the status of $2.4 million in Environmental Protection Agency funding for La Plata County. The county has applied for the funding under a proposed cleanup deal and the EPA is still reviewing the request, but the funds have not yet been approved.

A corrected version of the story is below:

La Plata asks for $2.4M from EPA for mine cleanup

La Plata County asks EPA for up to $2.4 million to cover cleanup costs from Gold King Mine spill

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - La Plata County is requesting up to $2.4 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up after the Gold King Mine spill.

County commissioners unanimously agreed to the proposed 10-year deal Tuesday, The Durango Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1U3bywA ).

The EPA has until Feb. 1 to sign off on the deal.

“We are reviewing it,” EPA spokeswoman Nancy Grantham said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has assumed responsibility for an August breach at the abandoned mine portal that sent 3 million gallons of mining wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers. La Plata County is downstream of the mine.

The proposed deal includes eight tasks for ensuring the future health and safety of the county’s residents and environment.

Those include continued work with Wright Water Engineers, which has conducted for the county analyses on the Animas River’s health, independent of the EPA.

Other initiatives include a real-time water monitoring system to alert the county of changes in water quality, developing a response plan for future environmental incidents and hiring a contractor for community outreach.

The county has accomplished one of the tasks, which is to investigate the feasibility of a Superfund designation for the Silverton area.

The $2.4 million is an estimate and would be allocated as needed.

The EPA has reimbursed through a purchase order about $200,000 to the county for expenditures between Aug. 12 and Sept. 11.

Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to postpone until January a vote on an official statement of support of a Superfund designation for the Upper Cement Creek Basin.

Silverton and San Juan County officials will meet again with the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in early January.

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