U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

While the EPA and their supporters in the environmental community are pushing for Superfund designation in Silverton, lawmakers should take a closer look at “Good Samaritan” legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in 2009 and 2013.

The legislation would allow the private sector to qualify for cleanup permits to do the mine reclamation in a much swifter fashion than the EPA can move and still meet clean water standard, without giving the community involved the stigma of Superfund.

Tipton told the Durango Herald editorial board Monday that he is studying whether the Gold King Mine spill would be a strong contender to serve as a good sam pilot program.

A pilot program, he said, might show that “good Samaritan legislation can work” and “move the needle to get some actual resolution to the challenges we’re facing,” he said.

“The metals (released by the Gold King Mine) are going to settle,” he said. “But we’re going to have spring runoff, and we’re going to need to mitigate the ongoing damage to the best of our ability.”

Tipton also told the editorial board that members of the Colorado and New Mexico delegation who wrote President Obama Aug. 12 asking for federal assistance to respond to the pollution have still not heard back from the White House.

We think we’ve solved that mystery:

President Obama golfs, reads and enjoys private beach on Martha’s Vineyard