The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early September opened a new office in Colorado Springs, Colo., to focus on the cleanup of abandoned mining operations and accelerating cleanup efforts across the West.
Formally known as the Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains, the EPA location in Lakewood will also identify innovative cleanup technologies, oversee Navajo Nation uranium mine cleanup efforts and promote Good Samaritan projects.
“This uniquely western work needs an integrated western presence, and [EPA] Administrator [Andrew] Wheeler should be commended for recognizing this and creating this new geographic program in Colorado. Addressing these issues requires an office with a singular focus and senior leadership who don’t see these issues in the abstract, but are actually located in the West and accessible to the communities impacted by them,” EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento said.
“The importance of mining to our economy and national security cannot be underestimated, and today’s American mining industry is a world leader in environmental stewardship,” Region 8 Administrator Greg Sopkin added.
“However, many Western communities are still dealing with historic mining sites that affect the health of our lands and waters. This new office will leverage innovative technologies and strategies to address these legacy mining issues.”
The office will employ five to nine full-time employees at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colo.