Gardner’s Gold King Mine Spill Recovery Language Approved by Senate

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate today approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), legislation that included language authored by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to address the 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.   


Earlier this week, Gardner announced he 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 which 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’s unacceptable that many Coloradans affected by the EPA’s reckless release of three million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River are still waiting for reimbursement from the agency,” said Gardner. “What’s worse is that the EPA wanted to cut off reimbursements from response costs on October 31, 2015. I’m proud the Water Resources and Development Act included language that requires the EPA to expedite reimbursement for emergency response costs assumed by states, tribes, and local governments long after October 31st, and I will continue to fight to ensure individuals, private property owners, and small businesses are made whole from this EPA spill in addition to our state, tribes, and local governments. Today’s vote represents a positive step forward, but there’s more work to be done for Southwest Colorado and our downstream neighbors.”


In addition to addressing the Gold King Mine spill recovery, Senator Gardner fought for language that would expand the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s water inspection program into the South Platte and Arkansas River basins to help prevent the spread of invasive species between water basins. 


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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