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Senators Want to Speed Up EPA Payments Over Gold King Mine Spill

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A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators wants to speed up and expand payments to those affected by last year’s toxic Gold King Mine spill in Colorado. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stopped covering emergency responses for tribes, local governments and individuals. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain is among the cosponsors of an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act. It would force the EPA to pay eligible claims made after October 2015. Payments would have to be made within 90 days unless the agency can prove the costs aren’t qualified.

In addition, the proposal would set up long-term water monitoring on the San Juan and Animas rivers which were heavily affected by the 3-million-gallon spill. Last summer, it forced farmers and ranchers on the Navajo Nation to go without water, and many are still grappling with the aftereffects.

Officials with the EPA say contamination in the rivers returned to pre-spill levels after the incident, and the agency has taken responsibility.

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