12.10.16

Gardner Priorities Included in Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

Gardner’s Gold King Mine Spill Recovery Language Headed to President’s Desk to be Signed into Law

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), legislation that included language authored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to expedite payments to entities that assumed response costs associated with the Gold King Mine spill and direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with affected states, Indian tribes, and local governments on a long-term water quality monitoring program of the rivers contaminated by the spill.   

In September, Gardner led a group of bipartisan Senators in introducing an amendment to WRDA with Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and John McCain (R-AZ) on the Gold King Mine spill. Gardner worked to secure the amendment in legislative text that expedites the payments of response costs assumed by states, Indian tribes, and local governments. It also requires the EPA to pay for the response costs within 90 days if the costs are consistent with federal law. Lastly, the legislative language establishes a long-term water quality monitoring program and authorizes the EPA to reimburse the states, Indian tribes, and local governments for this monitoring activity. 

“It has been over 16 months since the EPA released three million gallons of contaminated waste water into the Animas River, yet states, tribes, and local governments had still not been fully reimbursed for response costs incurred as a result of this EPA-born disaster,” said Gardner. “The passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes a provision I authored to reimburse states, tribes, and local governments for costs associated with the Gold King Mine spill, is a step forward for the communities affected. I have worked with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure this language is a part of the final legislation and I’m proud we were able to secure its inclusion in the final bill. I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law and finally bringing relief to the states, tribes, and local governments that have been at a financial loss because of the EPA’s lack of accountability.”

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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 Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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