‘Everyone agrees, the Animas is worth preserving’ — part four of The Durango Herald’s series about the river

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Here’s part four in the series from The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh/Lynda Edwards). Click through for the slide show and to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

At some points, the complexity of the law, the depth of the bureaucracy and the passions of the opposing sides make reaching a consensus seem unattainably ambitious.

But glimmers of good-faith collaboration are giving those toiling in the trenches reason to hope.

One such glimmer is the River Protection Workgroup, a coalition formed in 2006 as a result of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act approved by Congress in 1968.

Meghan Maloney, a former river-issues coordinator at the San Juan Citizens Alliance, said the coalition has been a model of community participation.

“Everyone who wants to be is part of the process,” Maloney said.

Similarly, the decision whether to declare the area around the Animas River’s headwaters a Superfund site because of leaking mine contamination has sparked controversy but also demonstrated each side’s deep commitment and love for the waterway…

“The notion that Durango and Silverton residents should just accept that the Animas will be polluted is unacceptable,” [Steven Way, on-scene coordinator for the EPA’s emergency response unit] said. “It’s an important river historically and environmentally. OK, Cement Creek is never going to be Gold Medal trout fishing. But I truly believe it is possible to stop the mine contamination or alleviate it enough to protect the Animas and make it cleaner.”

Click here for the webpage with the whole series and many related articles, from The Durango Herald.

More Animas River watershed coverage here.

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