EPA expects to grant more time for mine spill repayment pact

Mine Waste Leak
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from the Gold King mine chemical accident, in the spillway about 1/4 mile downstream from the mine, outside Silverton, Colo. Internal documents released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Aug. 21, show managers at the EPA were aware of the potential for a catastrophic "blowout" at an abandoned mine that could release "large volumes" of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

DENVER (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency says it expects to give La Plata County and the Southern Ute tribe more time to work out an agreement with the agency for compensation for their costs from the Gold King Mine spill.

The EPA said in a written statement Monday a 180-day extension will likely be granted this week. The deadline is Tuesday.

The county and the tribe said last week that EPA headquarters in Washington hadn’t responded to multiple requests for an extension.

Sens. Michael Bennet and Corey Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton asked the EPA to make sure local governments and tribes are fully reimbursed.

An EPA-led crew inadvertently released 3 million gallons of wastewater tainted with heavy metals from the mine in August. Colorado, New Mexico and Utah rivers were affected.

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