Gardner Reacts to Gold King Mine Spill Anniversary, Announces EPA Reimbursements

State, Local, and Tribal Responders to Receive $452,000

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement marking the one year anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill and announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $161,000 to Colorado, $106,000 to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, $99,000 to La Plata County, $43,000 to San Juan County, and $43,000 to the City of Durango for costs related to response efforts following the spill:


“One year ago today, the EPA released three million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River, devastating the local communities impacted by the spill,” said Gardner. “While I have many outstanding questions for the EPA surrounding its insufficient and untimely response, I look forward to them being addressed in the Inspector General’s report as well as the criminal investigation. In the meantime, I will continue to fight for the transparency and accountability that Coloradans expect and deserve, and that includes making sure all individuals, businesses, and localities are wholly compensated. I’m pleased to announce today that the EPA is reimbursing state, local, and tribal officials $710,000. While overdue, it’s a positive step in the right direction and I urge the EPA to act expeditiously moving forward to address all outstanding claims.” 



  • Gardner introduced legislation titled the Gold King Accountability and Compensation for Taxpayers (Gold King ACT), a fiscally responsible bill that requires the EPA to fully and expeditiously compensate all communities impacted by the Gold King Mine spill.
  • In May, Gardner toured EPA’s water treatment facility in Gladstone, CO. The tour followed a letter Gardner sent to the EPA urging additional funding for water quality monitoring, and later welcomed the news that EPA committed to providing $600,000 in additional funding to support spring runoff as well as real-time monitoring efforts.  
  • Gardner released a discussion draft of legislation designed to allow Good Samaritans, such as the mining industry, state agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and other groups, the opportunity to clean up the environment and improve water quality in and around orphan mines. A legislative hearing on the draft took place in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in March. Gardner continues to work toward introduction of the legislation.   
  • In October, Gardner chaired a Senate Small Business Committee hearing  that was called to assess the impact of the Gold King Mine spill on local communities and businesses.
  • In September, Gardner testified at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing and participated in an Indian Affairs Committee hearing to discuss the EPA’s unacceptable response and recovery efforts following the Gold King Mine spill.



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.

354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

(202) 224-5941