Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

DURANGO, Colo. (CBS4)– The head of the Environmental Protection Agency toured the site of the Gold King Mine near Silverton on Friday, along with Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Scott Tipton, Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Cory Gardner.

But the meeting after the tour quickly turned when voters took a detour from the topic to focus on health care, the GOP and climate change.

gold king mine tour 6pkg frame 305 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

CBS4’s Matt Kroschel interviews Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Cory Gardner (credit: CBS)

EPA’s Scott Pruitt saw the progress of the cleanup two years after the spill at the mine sent millions of gallons of tainted mine wastewater into the Animas River and downstream into other states.

mine cold open frame 125 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

Gov. John Hickenlooper joined Colorado’s senators and representatives along with EPA’s Scott Pruitt on a tour of the Gold King Mine (credit: CBS)

The EPA is considering paying for the damage to farmers and business owners.

gold king mine tour 5pkg frame 1036 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

(credit: CBS)

Some protesters gathered outside the town hall in Durango following the tour, upset that the EPA isn’t being held accountable for the toxic spill.

gold king mine spill Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

(credit: CBS)

“It’s been really sad to watch. There was a big push to try to fix it, to tend to the mine tailings and to the draining and now they’re looking at slashing funding,” said one protester.

gold king mine tour 5pkg frame 32 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

(credit: CBS)

The town hall following the tour was where it got interesting. The discussion about the Gold King Mine disaster was hijacked by health care and the debate on Capitol Hill.

Inside, members of the public were chosen at random to ask questions of Colorado’s elected leaders. Not one of those chosen asked a question about the mine spill or cleanup. Instead, they asked about health care, climate change and what’s happening with the GOP on Capitol Hill.

gold king mine tour 5pkg frame 1096 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

(credit: CBS)

This was also the first in-person town hall attended by Sen. Gardner, and voters let him, and the others in attendance, know they were not happy about his resistance to talk to voters and hear what they have to say.

gold king mine tour 5pkg frame 1565 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

sen. Cory Gardner at the town hall in Durango (credit: CBS)

“Please, will you tell us, each individually, when you’ll be here to schedule an in-person town hall,” asked one voter.

Hickenlooper addressed the crowd about the mine tour, saying he is confident the current EPA leadership will make things right.

gold king mine tour 5pkg frame 1942 Gold King Mine Meeting Turns Into Focus On Health Care, GOP

Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

“With the administrator, up at the mine, he could not have been more candid of a: saying they still accept responsibility, that he is going to fight, despite the budget coming out of the White House, the Superfund budget, is still one of his very highest priorities,” said Hickenlooper.

Sen. Bennet released this statement after the tour: “We are hopeful that the EPA administrator walked away from his visit with a resolve to expedite resources to our affected communities that they were promised with the recent Superfund designation. We will continue pushing the EPA to review claims and prioritize this project.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. The reporters on this story created a bit of “fake news” because they were looking for people to criticize the EPA for the mine spill. So they deleted the top line of my sign and all my comments explaining that I was criticizing Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration for trying to gut the EPA and to stop enforcing our environmental laws. I also stated that we need stronger mining laws so the polluters had to pay for their messes and not dump it on the taxpayers.

    My sign reads “Don’t Trash the EPA like Gold King Trashed Our River” By removing the first two words in the video and above, they made it look like I was criticizing the EPA and that was not the case at all.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

FANTASY FOOTBALL
Together 4 Colorado
CBS4 INVESTIGATES

Watch & Listen LIVE