Gardner and Tipton push EPA to repay all costs of mine spill response

Interior of the Gold King Mine. (Flickr/EPA)
Interior of the Gold King Mine. (Flickr/EPA)
Interior of the Gold King Mine. (Flickr/EPA)

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.