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Colorado lawmakers aim to create a good samaritan program under the Clean Water Act for abandoned mine cleanups

Bipartisan push could speed remediation projects

Pennsylvania Mine, Summit County Colorado.

The abandoned Pennsylvania Mine is the source of heavy metal pollution in Peru Creek and the Snake River. bberwynphoto.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A few months after the EPA unveiled new regulatory guidance for abandoned mine remediation, a bipartisan pair of Colorado lawmakers launched a new push to speed cleanups.

The new law proposed by Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton would give Good Samaritan groups additional binding legal safeguards they need to remediate the sites and clean up tainted streams. There are more than 7,000 abandoned hard rock mine sites located in Colorado and thousands more throughout the West.

“Runoff from abandoned mines throughout Colorado and the West threaten our water quality, wildlife and local economies. This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will further unleash so-called Good Samaritan groups and allow them to help address this problem,” Udall said. Continue reading

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Colorado: Chimney Rock gets monument status

Chimney Rock, in southwest Colorado.

President Obama will designate SW Colorado cultural site under the Antiquities Act

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the most significant cultural sites in Colorado will get a boost this week, when President Obama officially designates Chimney Rock National Monument as part of the Americas Great Outdoors Initiative. The designation provides permanent protection to the 4,700-acre Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in the San Juan National Forest.

“Chimney Rock is almost certainly the most significant cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service,” said Richard Moe, who launched the push for monument designation six years ago. “The national monument designation will bring deserved national recognition to a place of significant archaeological and cultural importance to our country.”

This national treasure, and our country’s newest national monument, represents one of the farthest outposts of the Chacoan culture. Home to more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings built more than 1,000 years ago, the area is of great spiritual importance to the Pueblo tribes of the Southwest.

“The story of my tribe, the Pueblo of Acoma, and our history is intimately connected to Chimney Rock. This place is still sacred to my people, and we are glad to see it will now be protected for our children and grandchildren,” said Chandler Sanchez, chairman of the All Indian Pueblo Council and former Governor for the Pueblo of Acoma.  “As a national monument, the ancestral homes of my people will continue to provide inspiration to the thousands of people who visit this site.” Continue reading

Colorado: Tipton says pesticides in your drinking water are acceptable, as House GOP aims to weaken Clean Water Act

This map shows areas where levels of pesticide-related compounds are reaching thresholds that are dangerous to fish. Interestingly, most of the witnesses who testified against EPA pesticide regulations are from these same areas.

House Republicans attack EPA’s ability to protect water from poisonous chemicals

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The environmental wars continue in Congress, as House Republicans continued to press their extremist agenda by attacking the EPA’s ability to regulate pesticides in the country’s lakes, rivers and streams.

On this go-round, the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade invited a panel full of industry representatives with a direct financial interest in the weakest regulations possible to testify during a hearing on the EPA regs. You can see the witness list and read the testimony at the subcommittee’s website.

One of the ringleaders is Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, who just a couple of days previously showed his fundamental lack of knowledge on water issues by accusing the Forest Service of “takings” with regard to water that’s actually owned by the people of the United States. Continue reading

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