As the new Region 8 Administrator, I want to provide the Environmental Protection Agency’s perspective on the Durango Herald’s article published July 10, 2019, “Sunnyside Gold says ‘no’ to EPA’s work order at Superfund.”
EPA is committed to assessing and addressing contamination that impacts water quality in the Animas River watershed and ensuring that responsible parties pay their share of costs related to the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site. EPA is evaluating the Bonita Peak groundwater system to assess potential impacts to surface water, develop appropriate remedial actions and evaluate the condition of the existing bulkheads in the mining district.
Sunnyside Gold Corporation is a potentially responsible party at the Bonita Peak Mining District site due to its current and former ownership of mining claims at the site and past operation of the Sunnyside Mine. On March 15, 2018, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to SGC that identified actions the company is required to complete to advance investigation and cleanup of the site. On June 7, 2019, EPA modified the statement of work associated with the UAO to specify the tasks required for the groundwater evaluation, with a subsequent meeting to discuss the work to be performed. EPA then received a letter from SGC on July 9, 2019, stating that the company declined to undertake the required work.
Despite SGC’s unwillingness to comply with the order, EPA is committed to ensuring this work is completed to protect human health and the environment in the Animas River watershed.