DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources will soon be able to respond to emergency situations at more of the state’s abandoned mines.

The Senate approved a bill Monday that allows the department to tackle situations threatening public safety or the environment at nearly any mine site.

DNR’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety had been limited to sites under its direct authority.

The House previously passed the bill, which now goes to the governor’s desk.

The bill was inspired by August’s Gold King Mine spill above Silverton. That spill sent millions of gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas River.

PHOTO GALLERY: Gold King Mine Tour

While DNR’s emergency response budget is $100,000 this fiscal year, backers say it’s a start. The governor can make more funding available for large-scale emergencies.

LINK: HB16-1276

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