Lawmakers push EPA to repay all costs of mine spill response

Mine Waste Leak-New Mexico
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 about a quarter mile downstream from the mine outside Silverton, Colo. New Mexico officials said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 that they plan to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states. An EPA cleanup crew accidentally triggered the spill in August at the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colo.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

DENVER (AP) – Two members of Colorado’s congressional delegation are pressing the Environmental Protection agency to fully reimburse state, local and tribal agencies for the cost of responding to a toxic mine waste spill triggered by the EPA.

Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton said Monday a law passed this month removed some of the obstacles the EPA cited in turning down $20.4 million in requests.

The EPA says it paid $4.5 million in claims but rejected the others, in some cases because the costs came after a cutoff date set by the agency. The EPA said it was following federal law.

An EPA-led crew inadvertently triggered the spill at the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado while doing preliminary cleanup work in August 2015.

Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were polluted.

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