EARTHblog » Pete Dronkers

Major Colorado mine waste spill highlights urgency for comprehensive mining law reform

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By Pete Dronkers

August 11, 2015

Last Wednesday, the US experienced one of its worst mining-related disasters in decades, and it’s received a lot of attention both here in Colorado and nationally.  There’s been no shortage of name calling and blaming, but few seem to be speaking of the bigger picture: how can we learn from this and write policies and regulations that stop this from happening again? 

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Tagged with: mining, epa, 1872 mining law, colorado, acid mine drainage, 1872, animas river

Water Treatment in Perpetuity: Who is really to blame?

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By Pete Dronkers

August 25, 2014

Last week I travelled to Albuquerque to attend an EPA-hosted national technical conference on “Mining Influenced Waters” – a toned-down phrase that describes water pollution caused by mining.  The cases laid out were all severe enough to warrant multi-million dollar remedial actions and treatment operations, and at most of these sites, someone will be footing the bill forever.

That’s right.  A growing number of mine sites discharge such severely polluted water that they will require water treatment for hundreds to thousands of years, or “in perpetuity” to meet water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life.  Earthworks released a report in 2013 that documents this escalating national dilemma.

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Tagged with: mining, epa, water pollution, perpetual pollution, tailings

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