Critic slams EPA for mishandling toxic spill in Animas River
Local environmentalists criticized the EPA for not taking more care before trying to clean up a gold mine that has been inactive since 1920. The mine spilled 3 million gallons of toxic mining waste into the Animas River in Colorado after contractors using heavy equipment accidentally sent it flowing into the waterway. The spill has spread from Colorado into New Mexico and now into Utah -- affecting over 100 river miles.
Class discussion: It is estimated that it would cost $50 billion to clean up 500,000 abandoned and inactive hardrock mines across the country. Who should pay to clean up the mines? What toxic substances are found at the abandoned mines? Why aren't hardrock mining companies required to clean sites after mining ends? Why does an 1872 mining law let companies take take public minerals for free?
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