Colorado Senator Cory Gardner announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a total of $54,275.40 to Colorado entities "for payroll, fringe, travel and indirect costs" associated with the Gold King Mine spill. According to the EPA, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will receive $812.49, the city of Durango will receive $1,072.63, the San Juan Basin Health Department will receive $13,611.22, and La Plata County will receive $38,779.06.
In December, Gardner, along with Congressman Scott Tipton, sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy regarding response cost reimbursements associated with the Gold King Mine spill. In the letter they wrote, "Earlier this month, EPA sent final decision letters indicating that the agency has no intention of making further response cost reimbursements. This is unacceptable, and inconsistent with your commitment to take full responsibility to affected states, local and tribal governments, and communities, and contrary to the newly enacted WIIN Act."
The payments are a direct result of a Gardner-authored provision, Section 5004 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), that requires the EPA to fully reimburse all state, local, and tribal governments for response costs, regardless of the arbitrary deadline the Obama Administration's EPA imposed on such payments.
"Within a month of Administrator Pruitt being confirmed to lead the EPA, he is taking the first steps to live up to his commitment to the people of Colorado," said Gardner. "I applaud this decision to further pay out the Tribe and local governments in an effort to make Colorado whole from the EPA-born Gold King Mine spill."