Clean Water Action wants to say sayonara to cyanide
A Colorado environmental group that contends not all that is golden glitters is making its case with Garfield County residents this week.Clean Water Action is knocking on doors through Friday, urging residents to write county commissioners in support of land use regulations to ban new open-pit gold mines that use cyanide.At the least, the group contends, government should raise the burden of proof that the mining industry will not pollute the environment and put the public at risk.A bill that would have banned new open pit cyanide mines was killed in committee in the state Legislature this year.”Clearly, it is up to local communities to protect their citizens from this dangerous practice,” said Carmi McLean, Colorado director of Clean Water Action.Cyanide is a highly toxic compound that is used to separate gold and silver from ore. A cyanide solution is sprayed over heaps of ore to extract the gold.In 1993, spills at the Summitville Gold Mine poisoned the Alamosa River and put crops at risk. The mine’s owner went bankrupt. Taxpayers have spent $180 million so far in the cleanup. Another mine was closed when it threatened to taint drinking water in the town of San Luis.According to Clean Water Action, the only open-pit cyanide gold mine currently operating in the state is the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.