After spill, work suspended at 10 mine sites

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Site investigations and some cleanup work at 10 polluted mining complexes in four states were suspended because of conditions similar to those that led to a massive wastewater blowout from an inactive Colorado gold mine, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said.

The sites include three in California, four in Colorado, two in Montana and one in Missouri, according to details obtained by The Associated Press following repeated requests for the information.

EnergyGuardian Photo

McCarthy to be grilled in both House and Senate over Colorado spill

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy this week will face down Republican detractors in both chamber of Congress as she prepares to testify on the Aug. 5 spill of three million gallons of mine wastewater into Colorado’s Animas River.

Last month’s incident came as EPA personnel and the contractor Environmental Restoration LLC were investigating water buildup at the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. An excavation attempt went awry, opening a breach that fouled the river.

Murray: stream buffer rule is biggest threat in more than 50 years

The Hill

The head of Murray Energy told the Interior Department's listening session on the Stream Protection Rule that the proposed regulation to protect streams from mining pollution is the biggest threat to coal mining in more than 50 years, The Hill reports.

Illegal Chinese mining hurting rare earths industry


China's continued refusal to police its rare earths industry is sustaining low prices that have driven Molycorp Inc. to bankruptcy, E&E reports.

Thousands of abandoned mines quietly leaking waste


While the Environmental Protection Agency's accidental spill of mining waste water into Colorado's Animas River drew headlines, environmental advocates and agencies warn that tens of thousands of abandoned mines are more quietly leaking waste into water supplies, E&E reports.

Erin Brockovich tours Navajo Nation after mine waste spill

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, made famous from the Oscar-winning movie bearing her name, visited the nation's largest American Indian reservation on Tuesday to see the damage caused by millions of gallons of wastewater that spilled from a Colorado mine.

She met with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye to hear about what he saw when he visited the mine in August, just days after a crew working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unleashed the waste tainted with heavy metals. The agency says 3 million gallons spilled.

No union mines left in Kentucky, where labor wars once raged

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coal miners bled and died to unionize.

Their workplaces became war zones, and gun battles once punctuated union protests. In past decades, organizers have been beaten, stabbed and shot while seeking better pay and safer conditions deep underground.

Documents: Workers had no way to issue warning after spill

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Members of a federal cleanup crew were initially trapped and unable to warn downstream communities that they had accidentally unleashed toxic waste water from a Colorado gold mine, according to government documents released Thursday.

During that time, a trickle of water started by excavation work at the site grew to a torrent and 3 million gallons eventually poured out of the remote Gold King Mine near Silverton, fouling downstream rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.

Freeport-McMoRan cuts more spending; Icahn discloses stake

PHOENIX (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn said late Thursday that he has taken an 8.5-percent stake in Freeport-McMoRan, just hours after the mining company announced cost cuts and lower spending in response to declining copper prices and soft economic conditions worldwide.

Shares of the Phoenix company surged 29 percent to $10.19 after it announced the spending reductions, although the stock is still down 72 percent in the past year. On Wednesday it reached its lowest price in 12 years. After Icahn disclosed his stake, the stock gained another 19 percent in extended trading, to $12.15.

In reversal, Colorado mine town to seek federal cleanup help

SILVERTON, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado town where a toxic mine leak earlier this month unleashed a torrent of heavy metals into Western rivers has decided to change course and request federal disaster funds to clean up the mine.

The Silverton Board of Trustees and the San Juan County Commission approved a joint resolution Monday to seek the money. It's a reversal for local officials who long feared that designation as a federal Superfund site would harm economic development.


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