Animas River Stakeholders Group at a crossroads, unable to find consensus
From left, Steve Fearn, a mining engineer from Silverton, Sabrina Forrest, site assessment manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Denver office, Kay Zillich of the Bureau of Land Management, and Peter Butler of Durango discuss water quality issues associated with mine runoff above Gladstone in this September 2010 file photo. In the background, water pours out of the Red & Bonita Mine, over a pile of mine waste and into Cement Creek.
With the Environmental Protection Agency preparing to release its decision on whether a cluster of mines near Gladstone qualifies for Superfund designation, the Animas River Stakeholders Group is approaching a crossroads.
And the three coordinators of the group say the ARSG — open to anyone interested in Animas River water quality — is unable to reach a consensus on the possible Superfund designation.
“At this point we’re trying to discuss and feel our way along on what solutions are out there,” said Peter Butler of Durango. He and Silvertonians Steve Fearn and Bill Simon coordinate the stakeholders group.
At a public information meeting last week at Town Hall, the coordinators reviewed what the group has accomplished since its founding in 1994. And they discussed remaining challenges to cleaning up environmental problems left from decades of mining in the upper Animas basin.
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