From The Denver Post (Kieran Nicholson):
The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding another round of grants — this time totaling $260,000 — toward cleanup costs and response to the Gold King Mine spill in southwestern Colorado.
The funding will be distributed, according to a media release from the office of Sen. Cory Gardner, as follows: Southern Ute Indian Tribe, $58,684; La Plata County, $7,495; City of Durango, $9,993; San Juan County, $80,213; San Juan Basin Health Department, $4,591; and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, $101,465.
From The Durango Herald (Jessica Pace):
According to EPA records, with the addition of the most recent award, San Juan County has received a total of $349,409. San Juan County Administrator Willy Tookey could not be reached for comment, but based on agency records and previous interviews, that leaves about $10,000 outstanding…
The agency has paid $377,073 to La Plata County and $55,464 to the city of Durango, EPA records show.
But local and state leaders say the money hasn’t come fast enough; the EPA’s latest award comes two weeks after a bipartisan group of senators from the four impacted states backed a measure to expedite reimbursements to entities affected by the spill.
The provision was incorporated within the Water Resources Development Act this month. It requires the EPA to reimburse claims within 90 days if the costs are deemed in accordance with federal law and establishes a long-term water quality monitoring program for which the EPA is authorized to reimburse local entities and tribes.
“The announcement of this additional funding is a step in the right direction as Southwest Colorado continues to deal with the aftermath of this disaster,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, R-Colo., said in a statement. “Two weeks ago, we passed a bipartisan amendment in the Senate that required the EPA to fully reimburse the state, tribes and local communities who responded quickly to the spill. We are pleased that the EPA responded with these additional reimbursements, and we will continue to push the agency to complete the reimbursement process as soon as possible.”
EPA spokeswoman Laura Jenkins said the $262,000 sum was awarded through cooperative agreements that local entities struck with the federal agency. Jenkins said no companies or individuals who have filed claims have been reimbursed to date.