Superfund plan for Colorado mines stirs few protests now

Mine Waste Spill
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2015, file photo, water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident, in the spillway downstream from the mine, outside Silverton, Colo. Republicans in Congress say an Interior Department investigation glossed over the federal government’s negligence in a massive toxic wastewater spill that fouled rivers in three states. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to testify on the matter Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, before a House committee. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

DENVER (AP) – A proposal to deploy the powerful Superfund program to clean up leaky Colorado mines isn’t stirring up much passion, despite formidable resistance in the past.

Some residents feared that a Superfund designation would scare off vital tourist traffic. Others thought it was a federal intrusion.

But by Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had received only seven comments opposing the planned cleanup in southwestern Colorado. It would include the Gold King Mine, the site of a 3-million-gallon wastewater spill last year.

Eighteen comments supported the cleanup.

The EPA says it has received just 33 comments, total, with 25 clearly for or against. Others made suggestions about specific sites and another was a duplicate.

Opposition softened after the Gold King spill, which tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

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