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Bonita Peak Superfund not affected by EPA shakeup

Mines around Silverton remain on immediate action list
The Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site will remain on the EPA’s Emphasis List, agency officials said Friday.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a shakeup of the agency’s “Emphasis List” of Superfund sites across the country, but it appears the cleanup of mines leeching into the Animas River won’t be affected.

The EPA’s Emphasis List targets cleanup sites that warrant “immediate, intense action,” according to the agency.

Wheeler created the Emphasis List in December 2017 after a recommendation from the Superfund Task Force, created in May 2017 to provide recommendations for “improving and expediting site cleanups and promoting redevelopment,” according to the agency.

Each Superfund site on the list has short-term milestones to track the progress of a cleanup project. EPA then considers removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved. Removal from the Emphasis List does not affect a site’s Superfund status.

Wheeler on Friday removed and added several Superfund sites around the country from the Emphasis List.

The Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site, however, will remain, according to a statement the EPA sent The Durango Herald, after milestones were expanded.

Now, goals will include developing an “Adaptive Management Plan” and a site-wide “Strategic Plan,” which the agency says “will help facilitate continued progress at the site by incorporating adaptive management principles into a strategy to achieve established site-wide cleanup goals and provide a decision-making framework for future actions.”

“These plans will guide our approach to cleanup at the Bonita Peak Mining District site while additional data are collected to support continued progress at the site,” EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin said in a prepared statement.

The full list can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2B5s27V.

Oct 15, 2021
EPA names new lead for Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site
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