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Community participation on Superfund site

As a follow up to the recent article in The Durango Herald on the social impacts of the Gold King Mine release, we wanted to provide more information on community participation regarding the Bonita Peak Superfund site. The Bonita Peak Community Advisory Group is an officially recognized citizen group under Superfund with representatives from different parts of the Animas River Basin.

Of the 15 members, each one is appointed by the Town of Silverton, City of Durango, San Juan County and La Plata County. The rest are members at-large and represent diverse local interests. The CAG meets monthly with the Enviromental Protection Agency to discuss plans, comment on documents and make them aware of citizen concerns. Meetings are in person and on Zoom, and are open to the public.

In addition, the CAG collects monthly water samples year-round from the Animas River in the canyon below Silverton, below Elk Park and at Cascade. This stretch of river is the prime target for water quality improvements and previous to the CAG efforts, little water quality data had been collected. The CAG also made a proposal, which was adopted by the state, for more protective standards for part of Mineral Creek, where water quality has been greatly improved and trout now exist because of mine remediation projects completed prior to Gold King.

Currently, we wish to fill two open seats on the CAG in January.

Peter Butler

Durango