Colorado Editorials

Durango Herald: Let’s not miss an opportunity to protect water quality from future mining impacts

Author: The Durango Herald Editorial Board - March 31, 2018 - Updated: March 31, 2018

The Herald editorial board applauds state Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, for her bill introduced last week to hold future mine operators responsible for water contamination caused by their operations, even in the case of a company abandoning its work or going bankrupt. The public should not be left footing the costs of clean up.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, House Bill 1301 has three basic provisions:

  •  It authorizes the state to include water quality protection in the bond amount when issuing permits for hard-rock mining. Bonds are the funds provided by mine operators to cover costs for protecting public health and the environment.
  • It requires mine operators to have a plan for water quality treatment that includes an end date by when pollution is no longer a threat, to avoid creating chronically polluted mines.
  • It prohibits self-bonding, aligning Colorado with the majority of other states and federal agencies. Self-bonding allows a mining permittee to submit an audited financial statement as proof that the operator currently has sufficient funds to meet its reclamation responsibilities, in lieu of a bond. It’s inadequate as a future guarantee.

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The Durango Herald Editorial Board